6.9.11 Pride
Something achieved
When we achieve a goal, we feel good about ourselves. A common part of this is feeling proud, where our self-respect and feelings of worth are boosted. In this way, our sense of identity is increased.
Pride also can be in ownership, for example in a new car, although this really is again pride in achievement - for example in having acquired the the car and the status that goes with it.
Pride is greater when we have had to work hard for something, as this makes the achievement more worthwhile.
Meeting high standards
Pride is particularly useful when it helps us to maintain standards. I am proud of my professional abilities and will work hard to maintain them.
A unifying force
Pride can also be a unifying force in a group of people, such as when a team achieves a difficult challenge or lives up to its high standards. It has historically been used by leaders to encourage a depressed organization or country to feel good again.
In the negative sense, it can be used as a coercion, in the sense that you must feel proud to belong to our group. It is often used by governments to enthuse a people towards war.
Hitler, for example, used it to rally the German nation after the defeat of the first world war and the subsequent ruin. How he then used it to persuade them into terrible acts is well documented. This is an approach used by more than one politician.
Pride in itself is not a bad thing and can be very useful for maintaining standards. However, it is named as one of the Seven Deadly Sins in recognition of its shadow side, where it ends up in my feeling overly superior to other people.
When pride becomes more extreme, we extend and enhance our feeling of achievement by comparing ourselves with others, feeling superior to them. This is where pride becomes socially undesirable and it breaks the rule that says 'we are all equal' (or at least we should pretend that this is so).
In this case, pride can be measured as the gap between what you have achieved or acquired and that of other people. Millionaires can thus be very proud people (although of course this is not necessarily the case).
The saying 'Pride goes before a fall' is an indication of how pride can lead to a self- importance that leads me to ignore risks (perhaps on the assumption that I am so superior the risks will not dare to happen to me).
So what?
Have reasonable pride yourself and beware of it going over the edge into a superiority complex.
Pumping up the other person's pride such that they cannot see what you are really doing is a surprisingly common thing. How often do we flatter other people without really meaning what we say? When we flatter others, we usually have a persuasive ulterior motive.