I have a huge character flaw, it’s pride. You know “pride comes before the fall”? That is talking about me.
Granted, I like to think that I have pride is a good way. I am proud of who I am, I am proud of where I come from, and I’m proud of what I have achieved in my life so far, and what I intend to achieve in the future. I’m also proud that I am an independent person that I have always been able to take care of myself, and that’s where the “fall” part comes in.
Because I am proud I don’t want people to think I need help. I don’t want people to think I’m failing in any way, and in no circumstances do I ever want someone to pity me. Pity is the opposite of what I want, pity means there is something wrong, pity means that I must not be good enough, pity means that I am falling short. And because I am proud, I refuse to fall short, I will not fall short no matter what, because that is not what I do. I am strong, I am proud, and I do not need pity and I do not need help.
You can see where I got into trouble.
My “fall” was my chronic illness. Oh boy does chronic illness damage your pride. All of a sudden I am battered and bruised and helpless and failing and then my pride has nothing more to hold onto. I can no longer be proud of my independence, my independence is gone. I will no longer achieve the lofty goals that I set for myself, my goals are no longer attainable. I am no longer the person that I was and it’s hard to be prideful about my new “chronic” self. I fell long, and I fell hard, and there was nothing left of my pride and I thought the only thing left for me was pity.
After my fall, all I could see the pity. People giving me looks, people judging me, people treated me like I was damaged. People were treating me like I was helpless and incapable and I started to believe I was incapable because I had lost my pride. I wish I could say I pulled out of that rut quickly, but I didn’t. When people treat you like your worthless and when you’ve lost everything you thought was important, you start to believe you are worthless and that nothing is important.
As I have slowly gotten my illnesses under better control I have come to realize that I still have many things to be proud of. Those things are not the same as they used to be and maybe they are things that others don’t or won’t acknowledge, but that doesn’t change anything. I am proud of what I can do and how well I manage with my chronic illnesses. I am proud of who I have become and what I can do despite my physical limitations. In truth, I’m freaking awesome. So slowly I am learning to not be too proud to ask for help. So many wonderful people have felt nothing but love for me and have shared sincere offers of assistance. I know I need to not be too proud too accept it, though I’m still on a pretty steep learning curve.