Remember that saying?
It’s actually incorrect. In the King James version of the Holy Bible, Proverbs 16:18. ”Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
This proverb seems to indicate that pride is a dangerous pastime! It leads to destruction, oh my! Pride must be the worst thing you could have, so why even bother? I’ll speak to the mis-use of pride (that’s a hint!) shortly, however pride as bad as it apparently is, is also something of value and worth when worn with humility (yes humility and pride in the same sentence!).
As an illustration, in case you missed it, last Friday was a majestic day in England, a massive celebration honoring the royal nuptials of Kate and William. Being an ex-patriot, I was caught up in all the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the Royal Wedding that had been all over the media last week. And even though I have no direct connection with the wedding party (that I know of!), I was and am filled with a sense of pride. It’s this pride that spins to the positive side of the spectrum. Being proud of your child who succeeds in school, of our fellow humans achieving a milestone for all of us (landing on the moon for example), even pride in ourselves when we go out of our way to do something of note and value that contributes.
You may have noticed an undertone among these examples. You’d be right! What strikes me about the positive aspect of pride, is it is most often experienced about something self-less and benefitting others/everyone. This is not the pride the bible speaks of. Pride in these examples is of the action and usually unattached to our ego. Where we can go awry is when our pride is tightly tied to our ego, we inflate our self-image beyond our true self and we become belligerent around others.
You’ve met people like this I know. They are all about, and in many walks of life. It’s evident in some corporations and even countries that are no longer authentic or service oriented. The self-image is blown up, out of proportion, and that’s where the weakness is, the ego has become balloon like and unstable. The pride that is larger than life, ego attached is really a cry for help, a wish for approval and love that this person may well have been missing for some or perhaps most of their life.
Yes, the inflation of ego is often a cry for help, a cry for love, and a cry for approval, even if it appears heavily disguised! In summary, it breaks down like this. Pride in others is expansion bordering on love and appreciation. Pride in self can be self-love and sel-appreciation, or it can be self-agrandizement and ego inflation. This is where you’re own self-reflection is a useful gauge. I’ve certainly at times crossed that line in my past, and my universe has seen fit to remind me in no uncertain terms when my self-pride has taken me over the line and away from my heart and my conscience. Ponder these….
“No one ever choked to death swallowing his pride”
“Temper gets you into trouble. Pride keeps you there.”
“It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride.”
“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real”
“The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell”
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”
“Pride is pleasure arising from a man’s thinking too highly of himself.”
“All money means to me is a pride in accomplishment.”
“Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.”
“Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and importance, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.”
“Every man of action has a strong dose of egoism, pride, hardness, and cunning. But all those things will be regarded as high qualities if he can make them the means to achieve great ends.”
“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” Khalil Gibran “If I had only one sermon to preach it would be a sermon against pride.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton