This is one of the Cherry Cheescake Cupcakes I made for our ward dinner last night. They turned out pretty good and I thought they looked great too. They also got me thinking about pride, because while I was making the cupcakes I kept thinking about how I was making the coolest dessert for the party and that everyone would be talking about how wonderful and unique it was. I will admit that I did think of making the cupcakes because I like cheesecake and they are a festive dessert. But I also wanted to make them because they are impressive and I wanted to be noticed and praised by others. I've done this other times; I've realized that sometimes when I prepare meals for people I try hard to think of something unique and special that will make them think of me as a fabulous cook. My motives are often mixed, and I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way.
While I was in the MTC, the mother of one of my companions sent laminated copies of President Benson's talk on pride for each of us to put in our scriptures. At the time I thought it was a little weird and excessive. But, I realize more and more that pride is something I struggle with. I think it's something we all struggle with, whether we want to admit it or not. Pride crops up in a variety of ways and can often be mixed with other more reasonable motivations. For example, I love to cook. I like to try new recipes and I like to make food look nice. But I also like to have people notice me and praise me. I like to feel superior to others and to feel like my abilities have been judged "worthy".
So, what do we do about the problem of pride? I think for me one of the first things to do is to be aware of what our motivations for our actions are. I contrast my cheesecake experience with the cookies I made on Thursday to take to my class that I teach. I can honestly say that my motives then were pure. I didn't want to impress them; I just wanted to make a tasty treat to celebrate the holiday. By sitting down and examining my thoughts and feelings I can see how different they were from one day to the next. I am going to try to be more aware in the future of why I do things and what I'm feeling when I do them.
Secondly, I've found that one of the best ways that I can combat pride within myself is to go back to what I've said on here before about finding value from within. I need to stop looking for aprobation from outside sources. I am a person of worth and value even if I don't make the "coolest" dessert at the ward party. Even if I don't bring dessert at all. It doesn't matter. In situations where I am confident in myself (like teaching my class) I tend to feel a lot less anxious concern for the approval of others.
Finally, I also need to stop judging others by my standards. I place value on homemade treats and will admit that I've sometimes had judgemental thoughts about the store-bought offerings of others. That's just plain silly. I also realize that I often assume that others judge me with the same harshness that I judge them, and it's probably not the case. If I am constantly going around measuring myself and others accord to some standard of "coolness", it's no wonder I think others are judging me! Perhaps they are, but I can only control my own actions and worry about myself and the state of my soul. Hopefully with these new revelations about my motivations and my own problem of pride I can work on being a more humble and more loving person. And maybe I'll sign up for something a little more behind-the-scenes at the next ward party just to give my ego a little practice in humility.