“Oh, you got an A on your test, you should be very proud!”
“Oh, you won a tennis match, well, that was quite the game, you must be very proud.”
And this sort of attitude never stopped, really.
“Oh, you wrote a book, wow, you must be very proud of that.”
As I thought about these notions of pride more and more, they confused me accordingly, more and more.
And that’s because the way the term was and is so frequently used is down right confusing.
If you’ve never thought about it before, you’d have noticed that people will often remark – much like my experience seems to suggest – how one should be proud when they’ve accomplished something, anything, worthy of external praise, meaning, praise from an outsider, or a benchmark created without oneself. However, and on the opposite side to this rather two-dimensional coin, people will often criticize and gossip about somebody that they perceive of as being rather full of themselves, or arrogant, or overly confident; or whatever other adjective you want to use to describe the word, “proud.”
So, ultimately, on the one hand, we teach that pride is to be nurtured when we’ve accomplished something worthy, yet on the other, we teach that proud people are full of themselves, and worthy of no more than ridiculing over a cup of coffee.
Wowah! Hang on there, Rob. You’re forgetting something very important. You can be proud of yourself and still be humble. Not everyone who’s proud of themselves is an ass twat, like you’ve suggested; some people that are proud of what they’ve done remain humble and down to earth, no matter how extraordinary those things may be. Pride is important for self-esteem, don’t be so condemning.
Well, to that I say; first of all, I never once referred to anyone as an ass twat. Second of all, I disrespectfully disagree, you ass twat.
I don’t know about you guys, but my idea of humbleness isn’t a thing to be contrived. Humble people (which I’m certainly not one of, I’m either totally self-loathing or delusionally full of myself, there’s no in between. Though I’m of course excused for a certifiably crazy genetic disposition) are humble for the very fact that they aren’t proud. It’s almost a prerequisite for the humble crew: If you’re humble, you’re not proud, in any capacity, and this is “true” irrespective of however you’ve internalised, or humilified (should be a word) this said pride.
Humility negates pride as pride negates humility.
“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges” Joseph F. Newton
And well, I don’t know about any of you, but not once in my life have I ever felt “good” or a sense of heightened esteem after “achieving” something. After I’ve fulfilled a feat that another would probably expect me to be proud of, I never feel, nor have I ever felt, proud. If anything, the only feeling I’m left with is relief. Like, not long ago, I found out that I passed all of my exams, and thus finished up with my law degree. Did I feel proud of that? Fuuuuuuck no. What I felt was extremely relieved I wouldn’t have to repeat any of those subjects, and also like a wee bit of a cop out in having actually followed through with the degree and put myself through such burdensome, boring torture for the sole sake of having a degree.
But proud – certainly not!
I’m of the opinion that pride is a wall we build so to paint a pretty picture of ourselves to the outside world. Or, in other words, a barrier we put up to guard our true (more authentic) selves, that sometimes aren’t so pretty and witty and frilly and appropriately silly, in attempt to portray a more rounded, colourful, and admirable individual to “the others.”
All in all, I’m not a big fan of the idea that we should be proud of ourselves, for whatever reason. Pride doesn’t (ever, no matter what, this is definite, I’m certainly not being satirical) help us experience life, ourselves included, with a more open mind, a more loving heart, or a happier air. The only purpose it could serve is to lead us further into ourselves, so to understand more clearly where our raw spots are, and, I don’t know, I suppose maybe to help guide us to a path we’d ultimately find more fulfilling, rather than temporarily satiating; once you’re stripped of your pride, you’re more inclined, at least as I’ve found, to better understand what particularly tickles your swank.
In any case, here are some lyrics from Jason Mraz to wrap this shit up, yo!
“I guess what I’ve been saying is there ain’t no better reason. To rid your self of vanities and just go with the seasons. It’s what we aim to do. Our name, is our virtue” – ‘I’m yours
Humans-are-competitive-creatures. And sometimes just a little bit smug.