Lewis was more than a professional critic, but also a prolific corresponder.
More than twenty years after his death, his foundation published an anthology of letters written to family, friends, and fans, spanning from his youth as a student to just a few weeks before his death.
In one particular letter from the mid fifties, he wrote the following.
The pleasure of pride is like the pleasure of scratching. If there is an itch, one does want to scratch, but it is much nicer to have neither the itch nor the scratch. As long as we have the itch of self regard we shall want the pleasure of self approval, but the happiest moments are those when we forget our precious selves and have neither but have everything else instead.
It’s a brilliant primer on the power of pride. Not to mention, a reminder of a lesson that I’ve been trying to learn.
Pride is the unwillingness to admit that it’s okay not to be okay.
This kind of mindset contracts our hearts, lowers our receptivity and clouds our vision. No matter how cleverly we rationalize it as integrity.
I’m reminded of a song lyric from another famous critic. Dylan sang:
When the walls of pride are high and wide, we can’t see over to the other side.
Proving, that pride can betray our hearts by masking our real fears, but it can also contract our minds by keeping us isolated with our pain.
And so, if we’re feeling stuck, the best thing we can do courageously and vulnerably share it with another person. Because how nice is it know that what we’re struggling isn’t an isolated incident? How relieving is it to know that everyone is struggling, some people are just better at hiding it than others?
In times of pain, we have to remember that all healing occurs in relationships. That only through the interpersonal account with another person can we push past our pride and enter into the transcendental healing atmosphere.
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With whom do you need to share your struggle?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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