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.