Slice of Humble Pie

I was so excited to send an essay I had written to my husband to proof read. I was proud of my work and confident in my research. So when I opened his reply and saw some notations throughout my text, I was surprised. Did I say surprised? I mean frustrated. In fact, I talked though each point he made and argued my clearly superior perspective and backed it up with facts and research. He stood his ground and explained his viewpoint and left it up to me to determine what, if any, changes needed to be made.

Can you believe this guy? Seriously? 

Fast forward two hours. I reword a few sentences, adding clarity where needed or removing unnecessary details. I read him the edits and he approves and honestly, it is better. I sigh and swallow my frustration and mutter a soft, “Thank you,” as I leave the room. I claim to value his input and I admit his suggestions are solid, yet my response remains annoyed rather than grateful.

So here’s the truth: when I ask for his opinion or his help, what I really am seeking is personal praise. I was to boast in my accomplishment and receive acknowledgement of my hard work. I am not asking for advice, I am desiring admiration. No matter how minor or beneficial his suggestions, I take it personally. My proud ears hear his suggestions as accusations. I take what is constructive and only feel the criticism. In my pursuit of agreement, I am met with enrichment. 

Oof. Attitude check. Much needed slice of humble pie.

The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Proverbs 15:31

My husband was not even sending me reproof, but merely suggestions for more purposeful statements. Once I was able to take a breath and step back from the situation, I realized he was right. This is not a battle or even an argument, this is cooperation and edification. I could hold fast to my original work and refuse to entertain helpful contributions, but what purpose would that meet? My words would be less effective and my work would lose value. There is power in our words and they are not all equal. 

So let this be a reminder to my future self, accept constructive criticism. Be flexible for the better. Be slow to take offense and swift to receive advice. Be humble. Be gentle. Be thoughtful. 

None of that comes naturally to me and will be a work in progress. Requesting and accepting help is a skill that deserves to be developed. So here’s to more rough drafts, more edits, and more joyful collaboration.  

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