A Matter of Pride

For some reason there seem to be two approaches to the word ‘pride’. You can be a) proud because you did something well or b) proud and arrogant, because you think yourself better than others. When searching for appropriate quotes, I found among others this one:

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Apparently, pride is a bad thing. Being pride means being stuck-up. But why? There is also the good part about pride after all. You are very right to be pride when you get your diploma for example. Why is this word such an ambiguous one?

You see, there is also this quote:

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Well, this still doesn’t point out whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it sounds a lot better. Maybe we can be proud and find God at the same time. Yay!

For me, pride means that I get out of bed, dress up and straighten my back. It means not thinking myself less than others. And the strangest thing about it, is that it only grows stronger. After having been hurt so badly by That Guy, my trust was broken, my self-esteem was dented, but my pride appeared and took over. I have never had a straighter back and a more royal way of walking than in that twilight zone, when I was hurt and didn’t know why. It killed something on the inside, but the hole that was left, got filled up with big fat pride. It even surprised me how strong that one was. You would think that a sad self-esteem level would lead to a general tendency to think you’re not good, right?

That didn’t happen. I was sad, but I wouldn’t want it to show. Maybe this pride boost had a lot to do with my  desire for revenge. When That Guy and I would run into each other, he shouldn’t see a sad, broken girl. He should see a strong, proud young woman. Both of these lived in me, but I wanted to show only the strong side. The side that wouldn’t let anyone mess with her. How can you be strong if you’re not proud of what you are and what you do? At least for a part?

During July I worked in a kitchen as a holiday job. I was very happy to have a job, despite the fact that in theory I couldn’t wear makeup and jewelry and I had to wear a shapeless white shirt and such a hygiene cap. Not very sexy. Taking away the ‘dress up, makeup, jewelry’ part feels like taking away a part of my personality. So I had to make up for that by having a good attitude. A straight back, a kind smile, elegant walk (although I had to wear shoes that looked like clogs). It was a good training in maintaining a proud attitude despite the lack of scenery such as earrings.

Pride is not a bad thing. For me it means strength, not letting people hurt you. It means not immediately assuming you are not as good as others. It means revenge, because it’s the thing you will not let them break.

So can we all please stop stating pride is something to run away from?

“Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.”
Bryce Courtenay

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12 Comments

  1. Self esteem is a bitch.

    Reply
  2. BEAUTYCALYPSE

     /  August 2, 2014

    Pride, for me, is a vital part of self respect. And this is a muscle that can’t be flexed enough!

    Reply
  3. I am not exactly sure it’s pride you felt working under the circumstances where you had to wear no make up, jewellery etc. I think it was strength and unbreakable spirit.
    Also, the knowledge of once you are out of there, you can wear your entire jewellery box in one go and no one is going to tell you off about it always helps!

    Reply
    • Strength and unbreakable spirit doesn’t sound bad either, I’ll take it! I certainly feel the need to make up for that once I get home. It’s extra fun to pick the right jewels then :D

      Reply
  4. Pride’s a weird thing. I’ve struggled with the two sides of it before, too. I’m pretty sure it’s the #1 sin in the 7 deadly sins — the root of all evil, so to speak. If we’re proud, we can become self-centered, think we’re better than other people, become selfish and bigoted and unkind and assume that we always know best, even when we don’t. It’s scary, the places pride can lead us.

    At the same time, if we’re proud, we can stand up for what we believe in. We won’t be plagued by self-doubt and depression, because we know our own worth. We gain stability, because we can use criticism and rejection as opportunities to grow. We can take pride in our achievements and virtues, and use that feeling to continue improving ourselves.

    I think the key to “good” pride is taking pride in the good we create for the world, rather than simply taking pride in ourselves. Because when we do the latter, we risk being so prideful that we consider even our flaws to be virtues.

    Maybe we just need to coin two different words for pride, like selfiprarrogance and benepresteem.

    Reply
    • I understand what you mean (and fully support the use of those new words!) but I’m not sure if I agree upon everything. You see, I didn’t have anything to be proud of. I wasn’t proud of what had happened, or my accomplishments. It was empty pride and yet I needed it to survive that first time. Based upon nothing really. My self-esteem was low and I surely wasn’t thinking of myself as the best in the world… not at all.
      Maybe it wasn’t pride after all. Maybe it was something else I couldn’t define better than I did with saying it’s ‘pride’ :)

      Reply

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