MY friend tells of a true event. He was talking to a group of people and was in full oratory flight. He was happy with the way things were going, he was sure he was reaching them and his message was taking root.
Just at that point one of the members of the group got up and walked out of the room. MY friend was instantly concerned. What had he said? Had he offended her. His talk became less than concentrated, he could not get the lady walking out off his mind.
What had started as a good meeting with words flowing and thoughts being imparted ended up rather more mediocre.
As soon as the meeting was over he went to seek out the woman. He found her in the kitchen. He asked her what he had said to offend her and began to offer an apology. "Stop." she said. She went on to explain that during the talk, which she was enjoying, she remembered that she had left the tea urn on and was concerned that it might be boiling dry. She had left to switch it off and then did not want to disturb him by re-entering.
His pride had led him to the wrong conclusions. he had failed to see things as they are.
The story of Lola the Whale makes a similar point.
Lola the Whale was big - very big - , and lonely - very lonely.For years she had wanted nothing to do with anyone, and she had become sadder and sadder. Whenever anyone tried to get close to her and cheer her up, Lola would move off.
Many thought that she was the most unpleasant whale in the world, and they started ignoring her. They did so, despite the fact that old Turga, a hundred year-old sea turtle, told them that Lola had always been a good, kind whale.
One day, Dido, a young dolphin, heard the whole story, and decided to secretly follow the whale. She found out that Lola behaved very strangely. The whale would beat her mouth against the rocks, endanger herself by swimming between the biggest waves and the coast, and go to the seafloor and eat sand. No one knew it, but Lola had terribly bad breath because a little fish had got trapped in a corner of her mouth. This problem embarrassed Lola so much that she didn't dare to speak to anyone. When Dido realised this, she offered to help, but Lola didn't want to bother her with her bad breath. Nor did she want anyone to find out.
"I don't want them to think I have bad breath," said Lola.
"Is that why you've spent so much time away from everyone?" answered Dido, unable to believe it. "They don't think you've got bad breath, they think you're unpleasant, boring, and ungrateful, and that you hate everyone. Do you think that's better?"
Lola realised that her pride - her exaggerated shyness, and not letting anyone help - had created an even greater problem. Full of regret, she asked Dido to remove the remains of the fish in her mouth.
When this was done, Lola began speaking to everyone again. However, she had to make a big effort to be accepted again by her friends. Lola decided that never again would she fail to ask for help when she really needed it.
Foolish pride often leads to us being unable to be ourselves and it can even lead to us being unable to reach our full potential.