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A Reality Check With Your Pride

 


Pride is two-sided. At its best, pride affirms our dignity as human beings. It helps us just get out of bed in the morning. Self-esteem, dignity, and self-respect—these are important and necessary forms of pride. It’s how we can look each other in the eye with confidence and love. When healthy and strong, pride affirms that we are beautiful inside and out, that we are inherently lovable and worthy of respect, and can respect and love others.

The opposite of this kind of pride is shame. Shame is humiliation, when our sense of self-worth is disgraced to little more than a puddle of indignity and embarrassment. Shame is unhealthy. It leads to a sense of wretchedness and even despair. Now, it’s true that pride can get out of hand, and sometimes it can be a good thing for us to be chastened, to be taken down a peg or two, to be “cut down to size.” We might be worthy of respect, but we are not royalty. And sometimes it’s good to be reminded that we are not sovereign or regal. It’s one thing to look people in the eye with loving confidence; it’s quite another to walk around like you’re a monarch. But in general, shame is not healthy.

At its worst, pride produces a haughty sense of self. Arrogance is pride gone sour. Vanity, hubris, self-adulation—these are all forms of pride in decay, “gone to seed.” A sense of achievement in one’s work, a high sense of self-regard—these are good forms of pride. But conceit and egotism—these are little more than narcissism, the self-adulation of the person who is in jeopardy of losing the very thing they so greatly value: their own selves.

Snobbery is unbecoming. But who doesn’t love having dinner with someone who has self-esteem and a warm sense of dignity. To live well this week, to live a better life, it is so important to develop a sense of pride—but the right sense. To be humble, but not ashamed. To be proud, but not vain. Only when we are self-respecting persons can we love and respect others the way they deserve to be treated.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 at 11:58 am and is filed under athlete, Clients, Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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