The paradoxical title ensued from a discussion with a friend. How can a person be described as being proud, yet not having pride? Is there more to the expression? Or is it just a play of words?
In the midst of a chat where this friend was stating his achievements and priorities in life, he felt a bit awkward and wrote, “In all honesty, I know that I am proud”. In response, I wrote, “You’re proud, but without pride”. Apparently confused, he asked for an explanation of that statement.
Who said being proud is necessarily evil? For some irrational reason, each time the word “proud” is heard, some persons link it to evil. If this were to be so, what do parents mean when they tell a child, “I’m proud of you”? Are such parents practisers of a evil tradition? That would make every parent immoral since most parents are proud of one thing or the other in their children.
The definition of pride that many persons see as evil is the one that says, “unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem”. That’s like the proverbial lifting of the shoulders (which some persons take literarily). So a person filled with pride would always feel on top of the world, always act and speak as if that person was the lord of the manor, above all, and better than all. Such an attitude is disgusting. No wonder people run away from being associated with pride. It being reputed as one of the famed “deadly sins” has not helped the word.
However, looking at another definition of pride, “a feeling of self-respect and personal worth”, I realize that the issue is just a fight over words. Psychologists have asserted that without self-respect, a person can hardly become a high flyer. That feeling of personal worth provides the confidence needed to face life’s challenges. Without that confidence, people would just cower in fear in the face of adversity.
This fight over words is similar to the evil colouration given in some church circles to the words “boyfriend/girlfriend”. With no consideration to the meaning(s) of the words, people (over-churchy people) struggle to avoid these words at all costs. Any allusion to any of the words triggers a cloud of shame. It’s a word fight that is meaningless.
Back to my friend. He is “proud” of his achievements, but he does not want to be seen as “proud”. He has a feeling of self-respect and personal worth, but he does not want to be seen as having pride. Thanks to societal stigma, he’s fighting an evasive battle, expending energy that could have been used on more productive issues. Maybe I should have just told him, “You’re proud, but in a good way, and you have an healthy form of pride”. That should solve the problem. It’s all just a play of words.
PS. Happy New Month. May this month be filled with opportunities that lead to an increase in your personal worth. Welcome to November
Image Credit: Alan J. Wright