Life isn’t about rules. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Unfortunately, because we are human and prone to make mistakes, we have to have rules. We are selfish by nature. Selfishness can take on many forms. Sometimes we nag our loved ones to take care of themselves, to take their medicine, to stop smoking, to exercise, eat right, etc. We tell ourselves we nag because we care. Is it possible that the real reason is that we want to be in control? Is it because we want to believe we know what’s best for someone else? What if the situation was reversed? What if it was the other person nagging us to do those things? If we won’t listen to our doctors’ guidelines for good health, why would we listen to someone else? No, we would balk and get mad.
When Tom and I were having our problems, it took a lot for the Lord to show me how selfish I had been. It never occurred to me to think about how Tom felt, after a hard day’s work, to walk in the door and hear me yelling at our son–almost every day. It never occurred to me to wonder how he felt when I put myself down. My thoughts were filled with my day, my frustrations, my disappointments and failures. If we passed by a nice house and I said it was pretty he felt like he wasn’t providing a nice enough home for us. I liked our mobile home but it didn’t come through to him.
When I put myself down it was like putting him down for marrying a loser. It made him feel helpless, small and inadequate. When he heard me complain about little things that I let ruin my whole day or yell at our little boy non-stop it made him feel like leaving and never coming back. My selfishness was a major problem in our marriage, and for nine years I had been blind to it.
Pride is selfishness. Did you ever notice that “I” is the middle letter in that word? A negative self-image is just as prideful as arrogance and conceit. The more we put others first and our own feelings and agendas last, the happier we, and those around us, will be.