Friday, 20 March 2015


What is it? Is it good or bad?

You remember all those little clichés you were told growing up - "Pride comes before a fall!".

But then in the next breath you'd do something amazing and they'd say "Oh, I'm proud of you!"

They were proud? But I did it? How does that work? Why aren't they going to fall now?

Now we have pride marches. Displays of people saying "This is me!" Well, it's all good fun isn't it, but now pride seems to be a good thing even when you have it yourself.

I keep hearing how people are proud of their children, or take pride in their homes, so I assume it's all self-congratulatory stuff really.

This is weird stuff, and all rather confusing, when you try to analyze it. Luckily, most things most people say are just that. Things they say. They don't think about the deeper meanings of what they say. They just regurgitate things they've heard others say.

I'm a bit of an oddity in that respect, I analyze everything, and I'm careful about what I say, because I think words matter. Even if nobody notices, that's my way.

I don't think pride in oneself is a bad thing. I think we should all stand up and say "This is me!".

At the same time I think we should all try to be better than we are. The most reasonable pride, surely, comes in knowing you are doing your very best.

And I don't use the word "should" lightly.

But this thing of being proud of others, what's that all about? Does it even make sense?

I think it means something else.

I think it means "I totally approve of your behaviour and/or achievement (in this situation, or generally), and that makes me feel really good."

That's not pride. It's admiration, and some warm fuzzies.

I think you can admire people for all sorts of things, they don't have to be things you would do yourself.

There are many virtues to admire, including hard work, honesty, selflessness, or just sheer determination.

And that pride that comes before a fall? That's not the same thing either. If pride in oneself, and one's achievements is a recognition of "I did my very best" then if things go wrong it's hardly causal.

But there is something, isn't there, an attitude that "I'm better than you" that often, in hindsight, looks a bit premature, to say the least.

I'm going to tell you a little story.

Some time ago I knew a man online who opposed socialized medicine. He claimed he didn't need it, because he looked after himself. He ate well and exercised regularly. So, he'd never get sick.

I cut of all connections with him after that, not purely because of that, but it was the final straw. It was such a stupid thing to say, and to believe, that it wasn't worth arguing about, so I didn't, but it told me a lot about his character.

Of course, he's not alone in this attitude. I regularly meet people who say things like "Oh I never get sick". I meet others who tell me they follow this or that strict diet for health reasons. They aren't quite as puffed up as the aforementiond fellow but they are still tempting Murphy.

But when these people fall flat on their faces, do I say "Well, serves you right", or "Well, you were rather full of it....."? No, of course not. I suppose I could, plenty would. I have learned that nothing good comes from that attitude. In fact it's just another version of that attitude that looks very foolish after you've been knocked down a few pegs.

Humility isn't easy, especially if you really are doing rather well, but it's honest. Nobody knows what the future will bring, nobody knows if they are "right", and nobody can prevent random events.

A little attitude change can, at the very least, prevent you looking an arse when things go awry, but far more importantly can help you deal with life when shit happens, which it does. Think positive, definitely, but be aware that you are not in control.

Never say never.


  1. Pride IS considered to be one of the seven deadly sins.This is where excessive ego has the ability to get one into trouble. I get what you say about humility, and find I am happiest when I do rather 'go with the flow' than trying to orchestrate and plan. Oh, plans have their purpose, as a wise elder once instructed, and they can always go off course; almost predictably. Perhaps it is no wonder that, with so many plans and goals, we get more than a little anxious when things do not go according to plan. Life happens, as they say. I suppose we can take some measure of pride in our accomplishments, or at the very least, admire that we have made it through most of life's experiences in one fractal piece of the whole. ;) ~ Blessings!

  2. People should have "pride" in the sense that they should take some "pride" in their appearance, at least in the business world, if not the social world. In other words, don't be a slob. You don't have to wear a suit & tie, just don't be a total hobo. They should have "pride" in workmanship; that they would/could sign their name to anything they produce/create. They should have "pride" in their communication; have a basic mastery of language. At least verbal if not written. But that kind of "pride" that says,"oh, I can do anything," or "I'm the best I can be." Ya, well, you'd better be ready to back it up, for your own sake at least. Some people are really "full of themselves." But short of that, we could all take a little "pride" in what we do, what we say, how we say it, etc.