We have been told that pride goes before the fall and that pride is not just a sin, but one of the seven deadly sins.
On the flip side, we are also given the idea that we should take pride in our work, be proud of our country, our loved ones, and our accomplishments.
But no matter how hard I looked, I could not find a definitive list of the prides I should or should not have, and which prides I could justifiably have as an American patriot without being told that I would land in the depths of hell for eternity. Though I did get the impression that I could be proud of the church without it being sinful, whereas having no pride at all might be a strong indication of being on that slippery slope into the nether regions.
So what is pride? Is there good pride, bad pride and what is the difference? The word “pride” in the dictionaries I checked sent me to “proud” which traced the etymology back to a French and Latin word which actually meant advantageous, just, wise and bold.
Philosophically, pride was defined by Aristotle as: as the crown of the virtues.
So how did it go from pride being something that was bold, wise and advantageous to our modern version of having or displaying excessive self-esteem? We may never know, but at this time, I would like to throw my own definition into the mix; Pride: a feeling of joy over something about yourself, someone else, or something you are a part of, participated in, feel ownership in, or have accomplished.
As with all emotions, there can be a positive side to the energy, and there can be a negative side. Proud can indicate a “better than” feeling, or simply a personal feeling of joy that has nothing to do with someone else. Through the centuries, many leaders that feared ideas and people that challenged the institutions in power, the church, the aristocracy or even society in general, have found ways to make bold, challenging and wise people who disagreed with them bad, wrong or even *gasp* evil.
The idea of taking pride and having pride is something could go along way in shifting many of the attitudes that seem to indicate a general overall decline of the quality, growth, respect and self sufficiency that once upon a time was the norm for this country.
There is a referral in some definitions of pride, to having an exaggerated self-esteem. My experience is these days that the majority of people could use a bit more self-esteem. Now I have as much problem with false pride, pride as a way to intimidate and feel better about one’s self as anyone, and all those things happen, but I truly believe they are minority. I believe that today, we have more people running around with self-worth, self-esteem and lack of pride in who they are and what they are capable of issues, than the other way around.
Find things about who you are and what you do that not only can you be proud of, but you can take pride in. Find the joy of pride, and allow it to move you to be the latest and greatest incarnation of who you are here to be. Humanity needs you to get in the game, so help with shift and be proud of being you.