“Pride comes before a fall.”
It’s a quote that I heard a lot when I was younger, just one of those things that teachers, grandparents and other grown-ups would keep telling you.
“Don’t be too proud, it will hurt you in the end.”
“Don’t be over confident, you’ll start making mistakes.”
“Make sure you always respect others, don’t be too prideful.”
“Remember that pride always comes before a fall.”
That was the type of mindset that I was exposed to, and that was what stuck with me over the years, that pride is a bad thing, a deadly sin.
But as time has gone on and I myself have seen new things, I started questioning what my elders told me in my yesteryears. Is it really that bad to feel pride?
Let’s take a deeper look at it. The Cambridge online dictionary has four separate meanings for pride.
noun (SATISFACTION): a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction that you get
because you or people connected with you have done or got something good.
- pride noun (RESPECT FOR YOURSELF): your feelings of your own worth and respect for yourself.
- pride noun (FEELING OF IMPORTANCE): DISAPPROVING the belief that you are better or more important than other people
- pride noun (LIONS): a group of lions
Leaving out the lions part J, we can say that pride is having a feeling of satisfaction over something you’ve done, over something that someone you know has done; it can also be the feeling of respect you have for yourself. These are good things; something you worked on did well and you feel good about it, like you accomplished something. A friend or family member does something good and you feel good for them, you have a certain level of respect for yourself.
The only thing that can be considered bad is the third meaning, a feeling of importance. Now, in my opinion, realising you’re important isn’t inherently bad, after all you are important to your friends, family and loved ones, just like they are to you. The only bad thing for me is when you start feeling like you are more important than someone else, to me that is the beginning of tyranny.
The ancient Greeks had a word called hubris, it means extreme/deadly pride or foolish overconfidence. In other words, it means being so blinded by your own pride and self-importance that you lose sight of everything else. You could also think of it as arrogance to the extreme.
So what I do think of pride now, compared to what was hammered into me as a kid?
American author John C. Maxwell said, “There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.” And that pretty much, sums up my own feelings in a neat bow.
A little bit of pride is good for you, it helps you build your character and makes you feel good about yourself. A lot of pride can be harmful, like drug; you feel good while you’re taking it, but you don’t see the harm taking so much is doing to you until it’s too late.
So, like everything else in life, keep pride in moderation, have just enough to get along well, but not too much that you start hurting yourself and the people around you.