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Take Pride In Yourself

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Posted 23 June 2015 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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Take Pride in Yourself

We have mixed associations to the idea of being proud.

Many people think that to be proud of yourself, is NOT a nice thing to be, and yet we would also think badly of the person who seems to have no pride in himself (or herself).

On the one hand, we don't like people who seem to "like themselves too much". And on the other hand we are taught that it is good to have "high levels of self-esteem", or what some people call, a "healthy ego".

So the question is, "To be or not to be proud?"

People are confused. Should I have self-pride or not?

The source of the confusion over the issue of Pride stems from the fact that we are exposed to two competing philosophies. Christianity and Greek thought.

According to Christianity pride is a terrible sin

The Christians say that pride is the worst of the seven deadly sins. To be good, you have to rid yourself of pride. You should lower yourself and be humble. To be humble is to be virtuous. To be prideful is to be sinful. Self-love is the worst of the sins.

Pride: according to the Christians interferes with the individual's reverence for the Grace of God.

Pride according to the Christians is "the sin from which all others arise".

Pride is also known as Vanity.

The sin of pride leads to the other deadly sins of: Envy; Gluttony; Lust; Anger; Greed and Sloth.

(I am not sure of the logic that links "Pride" to "Gluttony", but maybe there is a link that I'm not seeing.)

So if you were raised in Great Britain, you will have been told that pride is a bad thing. That pride comes before a fall. That you should not take yourself too seriously, and that you should be humble.

You should not think that you are good. In fact, you were born as a person tainted with original sin. You are, only human. So don't get cocky.

The Greeks believe you should develop qualities to justify pride

The Greeks (Aristotle, Plato) tell us the pride is the "crown of all the virtues". And the Greeks thought that, to lack pride in yourself would mean that you had a "sick soul".

We are told by Aristotle that pride is the "crown of the virtues". That you should do things that would make you proud. That we should hold ourselves to high standards and that to have pride in yourself would be the spur to drive you on to treat others well and to do noble deeds.

Aristotle wrote of pride: "A person is proud if he both is and thinks himself to be worthy of great things. If he both is and thinks himself to be worthy of only small things he is not proud but temperate, for pride implies greatness."

If you are to be proud, then you must be willing to earn that pride by achieving virtue. You do that by means of being productive, courageous, reasonable and magnanimous.

So; many people are confused. If you are too humble, then you lack confidence and lack self-esteem. If you are too prideful, then you are a sinner and you will be punished. Pride comes before a fall.

In my opinion, Aristotle was right, you should strive to develop pride in yourself by developing the qualities that justify the pride.

Pride should not be confused with arrogance.

The arrogant man is too self-centred and seeks to gain self-esteem by bragging, or by boasting. It is interesting to note that the boaster often has nothing to boast about.

It is often true that the boaster is boasting to hide a lack of self-esteem. By contrast, a person with true pride, does not feel the need to boast

The prideful person acts in order to achieve a high level of ability in all the other virtues. A proud man would always do his fair share of the work. A proud man would never steal, or cheat, or fake, or fraud, or feign. A proud woman would attend to her grooming, and her speech and her work would be of the highest order.

A proud person would feel good about themselves, not because they are big-headed, but because they believe that they have the right to hold themselves up.

A proud person would not be overly humble. They would regard too much humility as a sign of a lack of self-esteem.

Tensions between the two world views.

There is always a tension between these two views of human nature.

  1. To be proud. Pride is the crown of the virtues.
  2. To NOT be proud. To be humble. Pride is the worst of the deadly sins.

The choice is yours.

Choose carefully.

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