When Stubborn Pride is Pulling Your Strings

stubborn pride

I am well acquainted with Stubborn Pride.

I have listened to that wheedling, guilt-inducing voice too many times in my life, and it has never ended well.

As a matter of fact, I learned some time ago that when I am really struggling with fear of failure, I can find it lurking nearby, working my emotional strings better than a master puppeteer.


Kim, you’re not making progress at a career like you thought you would.

You better hope no one asks you what you do for work.

Kim, your personal finances are are a mess.

If I were you, I’d really be ashamed of my money management skills.

Kim, your list of friends is practically non-existent.

Perhaps you are far less interesting or fun to be around than you thought.


Stubborn Pride attempts to manipulate you with a distorted view of the truth.

Your reaction is almost always to either hide in embarrassment or double-down with Stubborn Pride at the controls, continuing to do what you’ve been doing, and continuing to get the same result.

But here’s the real truth:

Your “failures” don’t matter to the people to whom you matter.

They love you no less for what you think you should have done or become.

They love and accept you for you.


They are able to see something you might not:

Stubborn Pride is the real problem, and until you recognize it is pulling your strings, it will hold you captive.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits offers turning toward the problem as a solution:

Turning toward a problem is scary as hell. That’s why we avoid it. But you can overcome that fear and do it anyway. You can look the problem directly in the face and open yourself up to it. Only then can you deal with it, and see that it’s not as scary as you think. Because by turning away from the problem, we give it power, and the fear of it rules our lives.

Let’s take away that power, and shine a little light on the problem. Allow ourselves to feel the pain, to feel the fear and still take action. To begin the healing. To begin to create something new and amazing from the ills that have been hiding in the dark.

Turn toward the problem and you turn it into something beautiful.


In my experience, cutting the strings of Stubborn Pride allows us to not only move forward from our mistakes and mis-steps, but also frees us to reach out and help others from the benefit of our experience.

More resources to help you cut the strings:

Barking up the Wrong Tree: What 5 Counter-Intuitive Things Can Help You Make Better Choices? 

Inc.: 4 Decision-Making Mistakes to Avoid

TDH: A Must-Have Decision Making Tool


Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. ~Malcolm S. Forbes


Comment: How have you cut the cord when Stubborn Pride has been pulling your strings?


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You are NOT the target

you are not the target


Wouldn’t it be great if cranky, grumpy, hot-tempered people took an extended, nay, permanent, vacation far, far, away?

Ahhh, such a sweet dream.

In the real world, though, there are crabby people who will launch their slings and arrows your way with hardly a thought.

You get to choose how to respond, and I encourage you to consider this possibility first:


You are not the target.


I am reposting the following piece from a couple of years ago. I hope you find the following insights to be good reminders, especially if you have read this before, and the linked posts to be useful resources, especially the one how compassion can be increased with practice.


What do ornery coworkers, angry children and irritable spouses have in common?

You as the target.

Well, at least it seems that way, especially when you feel like you could be part porcupine because of all the virtual arrows bristling from your back.

However, in most cases, you really are not the target.

What you just might be, unfortunately, is the handiest place for others to offload some of their prickly feelings.

Allow me to illustrate.


When my family and I ran a large inn, the guests—parents and children—would arrive on a Friday night after a long and often frazzling drive from the city, dumping literal and figurative baggage at the check-in desk.

Did they bring the tired and cranky? Check.

Did they carry along the stress from the work week? Right here.

How about the simmering feud with their spouse? Oh, yes, with the car as a pressure cooker, it has reached the boiling point.


We had a choice every time we faced these situations: to throw on the armor and join the fight to face a potentially unpleasant weekend all around, or to deflect the barbs and let them clatter harmlessly to the ground.

We chose deflection every time as opposed to joining the battle, offering a heartfelt smile, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and a breath of fresh mountain air.

Almost without fail, by breakfast the following morning, the family was in greatly improved spirits, their quivers emptied of weapons and filled instead with joy.

You, too, can learn the art of deflection. Here is where you start:  [Continue reading...]

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You avoid hardship like the plague, and you double those efforts when it comes to keeping the path smooth for your children. After all, it’s hardship. Why bother to go through the challenge of saving up to pay for something you want when you can whip out the credit card and enjoy that shiny new toy right […]

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courage clarity change commencement address

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  What we wanted in our recently purchased home was leather furniture that looked like a million bucks but only cost a few hundred. Being the bargain hunters we are, we searched Craigslist and thrift stores for months before finding a set that was well-made, comfortable, well cared for, and was within budget. Since we […]

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