I grew up in one of the toughest inner-city ghettos of Miami, Florida. One day, a media reporter asked me what was the biggest challenge I had to overcome as a man. My answer surprised her.
You have to understand: I was the product of a teenage mother; six of my friends had lost their lives before I was 16 years old; most of my childhood friends were incarcerated; I was a survivor of sexual abuse, and my father abandoned us (my sister and me) when I was only 2 years old.
But I told the reporter, "The biggest challenge I had to overcome was my pride. My inability to ask for the help and support I needed to deal with the struggles I had endured as a child."
If you ask the average man what he considers to be his biggest challenge as a man, you're likely to hear any of the following:
- Job stress
- Raising teenagers
- Time management
- Anger management
- Lack of confidence, and so on.
But the biggest challenge a man faces is the one he's least likely to admit, and that's his struggle with pride. A friend once told me that the word "pride" stands for "Please Remember, I Destroy Everything."
If you don't believe that pride is man's biggest challenge, honestly answer the following questions about yourself:
- Are you judgmental toward those who make different lifestyle choices?
- Do you frequently correct or criticize those closest to you?
- Are you a perfectionist, and do you get easily annoyed or impatient with others?
- Do you think your way is the right way, the only way, or the best way most of the time?
- Is it hard for people to measure up to your expectations?
- Do you avoid participating in certain things for fear of being embarrassed or looking foolish?
- Are you afraid to ask for help or admit when you're struggling with something?
- Do you have a hard time reaching out and building relationships with men you don't know?
- Are you sitting there reading this thinking none of these things applies to you?
The reason pride is such a great challenge for men is because it's usually the root cause of all the other issues listed above. A struggling marriage, emotionally disengaged teenagers, addiction to alcohol or pornography, poor communication, intimacy issues, job overwhelm, anger, financial struggles and the lack of true friendships are only the fruit of a deeper problem rooted in our inability to admit we're struggling in these areas.
Personally, I was too afraid, ashamed or embarrassed to admit I didn't know what to do when I felt like a failure or needed help. I didn't want to admit I needed to seek counsel, join a support group or confess my struggles to my family.
So how do you overcome pride? You simply do three things:
- Surrender: Admit to others you need help and you can't solve your problem on your own.
- Pray: Pray for the strength, the resources and the support you need from others to deal with your struggle.
- Act: Faithfully apply the wisdom you receive from the wise counsel of others in dealing with your struggle.
All three of these steps are easy to do, and because of pride, they're also easy not to do. So (P)lease (R)emember, (I) (D)estroy (E)verything.
Dr. Joe Martin is a certified Man Builder, creator and founder of realmenconnect.com and an award-winning educator. He's also a husband and father of a blended family of two.
This article originally appeared at allprodad.com.