Monday Musings Forty-four: Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice


Two kinds of pride exist. One has positive connotations while the other takes on a more negative aspect.

The first pride both comes from and reinforces selflessness. Based on a person’s achievements and qualities, it reflects simple pleasure in a job well done, or our achievements, etc. This feeling comes from deep within and uplifts us. This first kind of pride helps us to feel confident.

The second type of pride comes from our ego, which lends itself to arrogance and selfishness and inflates our opinion of ourselves. This kind of pride brings a false sense of superiority. In the end, though, it just makes us feel insecure and jealous. Which, of course, leads to trouble because we feel a need to prove ourselves and impress those around us. Our ego believes that we have far more importance than we do and, therefore, will not allow us to admit when we get things wrong or that we have made a mistake.

In short, we become unable to ‘own it’. (See Monday Musings 17.) Worse still, even when we know them to be flawed, we justify our actions and thoughts.

This second kind of pride encourages prejudice and judgement. In contradiction, however, the first type of pride encourages sharing and helping others to become the best that they can. That pride enjoys seeing others succeed.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

True pride can take an honest look at both ourselves and others and see achievements for what they are. It doesn’t need to judge or compare or put people down. It sees that we all have equality, and that such equality encompasses inherent differences.

We don’t need to compare porridge with concrete. All we need to know is that you don’t eat concrete. Both have inherent qualities and uses, and rather than judging one against the other, we live in such a way that we make best use of both.

With the right kind of pride, we find that making a mistake doesn’t worry or embarrass us. With no difficulty, we can admit to it and own it. Each day brings something new for us to learn. Each and every one of us learns from birth to death, unless we allow our egos to become so over-inflated that we believe we know it all already and that we’ve become immune to making mistakes.

This provides an interesting paradox: That the most seemingly arrogant or prideful people are, in fact, often the most inadequate. They have fragile egos. Whereas the strongest egos appear unassuming and modest while getting on with their lives in a quiet manner. Those sorts of people always seem to be there when others need them.

In the wise words of Zen:

 ‘Pride makes us artificial. Humility makes us real.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: :)

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Gwen Plano

I so agree with how you’ve distinguished the two forms of pride, Harmony. Well done!