When this decay of that which you are proud grows too much, when you are forced to watch it fall apart, purely because you were too to see the damage that is occurring, you have a small moment of clarity. In an instant, you see the results of your excess pride. How hypocritical it was.
In my mind, I am a great person. I have my values and I uphold them. I accept when others’ values don’t match. I am the kind of person that if you really need someone or something, I can be relied upon. And I keep my word.
And for the last couple of years, this has been true. It has not been uncommon for friends to share significant secrets. Secrets that I have kept until now, and always will. I have heard the words “You come across as a guy who will keep a secret” many times.
Tonight I not only broke my brother's trust, but also did this in a malicious manner. I don’t expect him to forgive me for a while. I doubt I will forgive myself. I won’t go into the details, because quite frankly I am still ashamed. It was the ultimate dickhead move.
It was a case of immediate regret. It was almost horror. The part of me that existed one and two years ago was aghast at what I had just allowed myself to do. Not even that, what I had made the conscious decision to do. It was definitely an in the heat of the moment action, but that doesn’t change anything for my brother.
Just yesterday, I found out someone was being dishonest and deceptive about something. I confronted them, and since they showed no remorse, we ended up in an argument. I was confident in my position of an honest person. Seconds after doing what I did tonight, this situation from yesterday came roaring into my mind. It makes great hypocrisy of my earlier pride and confidence.
And the greater the pride is, the greater the hypocrisy when it eventually falls.
I have learnt though. Going over what just happened I have been forced to evaluate not just the actions regarding keeping my word but also everything else in my life that I consider myself to be proud of. Already I can see examples of places where I am treading perilously close to the situation I just encountered and I feel almost purged in the humility I am currently feeling. The fact that I wrote the previous sentence is almost a case in itself. Watching for excess pride is a fine line to tread. Become too sure of your alertness and you have fallen into the trap while looking for it.
DISCLAIMER: This isn’t an emo piece. I’m not trying to proclaim that my life sucks, or that because I fucked up so bad and am now spiralling into a black spiral of death etc. I realise that what I have done is remediable over the long term. I am just trying to pass on advice to people that might not have come across the same thing yet, in the hope someone else can recognise the symptoms before they break something.
If you have had a similar experience, after which you gained a new appreciation for the danger of hubris, feel free to share.