Pride Rock

Pride Rock

“Ow, I hurt.”

“WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK FOR HELP??”

“…”

I recently wrote an article asking why I continually push my limits. Many community members commented with their experiences with the question “why do I keep doing that?”

They shared ‘habit’, ‘denial and ‘joy’ which are all valid and relatable emotions. But, nobody mentioned pride. It’s a weird word. It has a negative connotation and carries a pre-conceived notion that a person is conceited and arrogant. Regardless, I personally think a little self-confidence is good for the ego…

Pride – a part of my personality

There are two things should know about me 1) I still love Pokémon and 2) I am a very proud person. I always was proud. Proud that I was the first person in my grade to lose all my baby teeth, proud I was so good with animals and proud I got into college two weeks into my senior year of high school.

I was always aware of my ability even though I was not naturally good at anything. I, however, as a human being, could get better.

I am still a very confident person and that has been my downfall and blessing with RA.

Pride: A blessing for my life with RA

Blessing because I was too stubborn to give into the disease. I didn’t roll over and just take my diagnosis. I fought against it every step of the way.

Confidence and respect in ourselves, in our work and how we affect the world intrigues others. People trust and gravitate towards that energy. And, we like that. Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t feel good about themselves when other people like them? These are all signs we are social animals (which we are). So why don’t we show pride in our abilities, or disabilities, with RA?

It took me a long time to even ask that question. I was so fit and healthy prior to my 2010 diagnosis I felt humiliated. I retreated and hid from my friends, family, and work. All the pride I once felt whistled out of me like air from a popped balloon and I felt horrible. Different.

But, as I pieced my life back together my confidence came back. I was doing a lot even with my new limits and why shouldn’t I show the world?

Pride: A downfall for my life with RA

Unfortunately, for those reasons, listed above, my pride was also my downfall.

My mother taught me how to be self-sufficient. By the time I was seven, I was ironing my own clothes. By the time I was ten, I knew how to care for a home and pay bills. After my mother passed away, the “chores” landed solely on my shoulders. I was an only child so I didn’t ask for help (I probably could have) and that mentality leached into other parts of my life.

When my Rheumatoid Arthritis was the most disabling I had no choice but to ask for help. I couldn’t manage on my own and I accepted that. As I became more comfortable with my diagnosis and self, my old ways crept back in. I was proud to do things on my own again.

Does Pride play a role in why we don’t as for help or push ourselves to do things on our own?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (5)
  • KarenG.
    7 months ago

    Great article! Sometimes I wonder if it is not so much pride, as it is fear, that keeps me moving. Pride: yes, of course I can do whatever (yard work, house chores, etc.) versus Fear: if I don’t keep doing and moving for myself, my body might stop moving or working due to the RA. Everyone is different.

  • Amanda Kohl
    7 months ago

    Nailed it!!!! I totally agree that it has positive and negative aspects in dealing with RA. “Suck it up Buttercup” has always been my mantra for pushing myself to accomplish tasks even when I’m in significant pain or fatigued. I guess a small part of me likes being able to say ‘I did it all by myself ‘ but the rest of me regrets the ramifications of my actions! I’m blessed to have great family and friends who are more than willing to help any time I need them, but PRIDE keeps me from asking time after time!

  • Richard Faust moderator
    7 months ago

    Hi Amanda. It is completely understandable that it is difficult to ask for help. You mention people in your life that are willing to help. One thing that may be useful is to keep in mind that sometimes people want to help and it can be beneficial to them to let them in to help. I’m the husband of someone with RA (Kelly Mack – a contributor here). I can tell you that it means a lot to me to be able to help her with certain things. I can’t truly know what she goes through, but I know I can take a little of the burden. At the same time, it is a balance. I also know I need to let her do things for herself and help me with things. In this article one of our contributors writes about asking for help: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/no-6-ask-for-help/. Wishing you the best. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • Seasark
    7 months ago

    At the age of 80, and having fought RA for 10 years, one would think pride is the least of my concerns. I felt deeply wounded just a few months ago, however, when a “friend” shouted at me “Why don’t you ASK for help?!” Maybe, if we’re lucky, we never lose our pride, because that is what made me ignore her, pick myself up and move on.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    7 months ago

    Hey Seasark! Thank you so much for commenting on my article!! I think holding on to our pride is a good thing because like you say, it helps us move on and forward. All the best, Monica

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