Morality Series: Pride

Who or what are you proud of? Do you feel proud of yourself? If so, do you consider it immoral or sin?

Lucifer to Satan

Lucifer to Satan

Pride is an insufficient word for the immoral feeling that is an exaggerated sense of self. Hubris works a little better. Pride is often normal and not bad. As with any of these so called sins, when taken to psychological extremes, pride can become a problem that others often are more aware of than we see in ourselves. Behaviors associated with pride can become annoying, but we expect a proud bow from anyone doing well.

So, here I go again; playing devil’s advocate in the defense of normal human feelings and behavior that many religious people accept as sinfulness of the highest order. What’s even harder to understand is that this one is considered the worst of the worst. This is Lucifer’s sin, if you believe that. This self-opinion allegedly paves the way for all badness (or sin, if you prefer) to follow. In the words of  C. S. Lewis and many other religious writers, its primacy is made clear.

pride-4

Are we to believe that humility, the alleged opposite, prevents us from immoral behavior? I can be most humble and immoral simultaneously. I can lust with humility oozing from my pores, or maybe it’s the other way around. Excuse me while I humbly eat the entire pizza and down a six-pack of beer.

Pride is mostly good, unless you’re Irish-Catholic, in which case you’ll hear, as I did in my youth, who the hell do you think you are? This put-down, shut-down, and buzz-kill phrase is more annoying than piles of pride.

Gay pride, black pride, being proud of self, kids and grands, other family and friends, school pride, pride in state or country, religious pride or pride in non-belief, the overcoming of adversity, pride in relationships, athletic team pride, corporate pride, and the list goes on. What’s wrong, bad, or sinful about any of this? Nothing!

pride-1

My entire life I’ve worked on my humility (minding that gap). One friend made a sarcastically funny plaque for me because I often discussed trying to be humbler. I thought that I’d be a better person if I was humble. Of course, I could be proud of my humility, right?

 

I like this

I like this

I think power often corrupts, and I’m sure that pride plays into that human fault. We should get this pride deal straightened out. Going overboard on my ego is indeed bad for me and for those around me. Fortunately, my family and friends have the chutzpa to point out my faults. I no longer have my dad to ask me, “Who the hell do you think you are?” I can still hear his voice when others remind me that I may be a bit full of myself. It happens, preferably seldom. Maybe pride is not exactly the correct word for me.

What about the other prideful words? Vanity? I pine for my hair and regret the loss of my locks. Conceit? Probably not me. I’ve known none who admit to this, but we easily see it others. Arrogance? I have the tee shirt for this one. I’m guilty. I can be arrogant as hell. Conversely, I admit when I’m wrong. I’ll apologize for any harm done. I don’t apologize for being wrong unless harm was done. I’ve been accused of arrogance for that. To me, I’m being sincere. Otherwise, I’d constantly be apologizing.

How about self-respect, self-esteem, or self-love? What of narcissism? I know that’s not pride, but we agree it’s an abnormal extreme, unless you’re a politician. Dictionary synonyms include pleasure, joy, delight, gratification, fulfillment, and satisfaction. I think I see a pattern here.

Is it possible that Christianity and some other religions are opposed to people finding pleasure in life?

Yours, mine, or theirs – what’s your take on the pride?

Hold your head up and walk tall. Be the person you are – true to yourself.
Be proud when you have reason.
Be happy in life, but look both ways and be mindful of any gaps.

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3 thoughts on “Morality Series: Pride

  1. Pride also means we choose our clothes with care, we take pains to wash, to comb, to behave in public (something I see less and less of these days, especially among the young) and not make fools of ourselves; Overweening pride, though, is another kettle. It’s that hubris, that idea that we are so special (what some folks term the ‘special snowflake’ syndrome) that we reek of entitlement…

    I think you nailed it about Christianity–if you are prideful, that means you’re pleased with your own fine self and God’s work (and the priest, the minister, etc), which always seems to tear down the humans among us, has not been fulfilled. Christianity seems to lean toward humility and self-effacement (O Lord I am not worthy…) and any pride is considered sinful.
    In the early days of this country women and men dressed in somber colors, laughing was considered suspicious, and laughing at all on Sunday could have you punished severely. Pity the woman who dared wear a colored scarf…

    We haven’t moved much beyond that. Humility is the obverse of pride, and most religions encourage humilty (which connects to both humiliate and humble) –mea culpa, mea culpa–and emotionally groveling when in the presence of prayer. On your knees, petitioner, it’s the only decent way to pray…

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  2. Pride is okay. I’m fine with pride. I’m careful not to tell people I’m proud of them. Somehow this seems to make me feel like I’m responsible for their pride, which is surely less than humble, so I always say to my children, “You must be so proud!”
    Hubris is bad. Hubris rears its head around here when it gets all full of honor and integrity and boasts about itself. Then, I remind him its what kills every classical hero, and he simmers down. 😉

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