I’ve been thinking a lot about pride recently, an emotion that has both negative and positive connotations… especially at present. There’s the foolishly irrationally corrupt sense of one’s personal value, status or accomplishments or that of one’s country.
Conversely, pride is a humble and content sense of attachment toward our (or another’s) choices and actions, like that of a loved one or a feeling of belonging. It’s clearly an emotion of the ego but how do we know when it’s well, or misplaced?
I am immensely proud of what my wonderful wife has achieved in just 10 years, from humble vegetable grower to one of the world’s most recognised floral designers. But is all pride truly as misplaced as religions would have us believe… coming before a fall?
I feel pride should be reserved for our accomplishments not our shortcomings, but everyone has a different opinion of what shortcomings and accomplishments are, so how to account the right from wrong? Can a person be proud without being vain, as Jane Austen suggested?
For me it’s the driving emotion behind our pride. If we feel warmth and appreciation for what we, another or our communities (no matter how widespread) have achieved I feel it’s a positive emotion: one that can be built upon. If anger, envy or resentment is the driving force, however, maybe that’s where it needs to be reassessed. Doing anything in spite of what exists may be that proverbial pride before the fall we’re warned of.
I guess it comes down to the Pharisee and the Publican parable: Will we extol to others the virtues of who we are and what we’ve done, or realise what we’ve done is simply a path to something greater and we are just a small cog in that engine.