A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.

C.S. Lewis

I have a strong prejudice against “pride.” Judgmentally, I disparage new-age-inner-child-psycho-babble admonitions to be “proud” of oneself.

My mother can be very critical of me. I’ve noticed through the years that if my kids do something good, or right, it’s because of chance and/or heredity. If they do something bad or wrong, however, it’s because of my imperfect mothering. Where I learned this imperfection is not important /sarcasm/.

Pride goes before a fall. Does that mean that first you are proud, then you fall? Or that you lose your pride before a fall?

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.

Cesar Chavez

Somehow pride is wrapped up claiming full humanity. We say oppressed people need to have pride in their equal humanness. Gay, black, disabled, old – all those who are not treated as equal. They need to have pride in themselves, to be proud of who they are. Because they have been put down. I guess most of us (us being my contemporaries) were put down in one way or another as children. We grow up with low self esteem and damaged pride. I’m taking this as a different kind of “pride.” Judgmentally, I think the quest for renewed “pride” makes us selfish and greedy and unhappy.

The dictionary lists the antonym of pride as humility.

The first definition is a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

The third definition is a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.

Jane Austen

So to disentangle it, I’m thinking about the first definition. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. They say the other six spring from pride, because pride has to do with being like God, being superior.

It’s easy in the case of AA and sober time to see how I should not be proud of my long sobriety. It’s not due to me, credit doesn’t belong with me, I was completely unable to accomplish this on my own, no matter how dire the circumstances were.

In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.

John Ruskin

Pride in the sense of an inflated opinion of myself, may have kept me at times from asking for help or following directions.

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real

Thomas Merton

I guess that bad sense of pride is what I may feel when I don’t want to admit that I’m wrong or don’t know.

I work with people who have multiple, severe disabilities. One of them may comment from time to time, “I’m proud of myself,” after they do something especially difficult, that takes a long time and lots of patience to learn to do. Is it appropriate? Should we have a sense of high self esteem when we accomplish something difficult?

I know that regarding difficult tasks, luck plays a huge part. I’m lucky enough to be physically able to drive a car. I’m a careful driver and skillful and lucky enough to have not had an accident yet. Should I have “pride” in my driving record? I’m sure some people would say yes.

Pride slays thanksgiving, but an humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. ~ Henry Ward Beecher


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