“The negative version of Pride (Latin, superbia), which is also known as hubris (from ancient Greek ὕβρις), or futility,is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the source of the others. It is identified as incorrectly believing that one is essentially better than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, feeding one’s own mind with delusional and selfish thoughts that make one feel way more self-important than one really should, extremely inflated and foolish and irrational self-importance, and excessive admiration of the personal self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God)…”
No wonder it’s considered the source of the seven sins…its also the most ambiguous. It’s the only one of the seven that can be spoken of positively and negatively in the same breath. We are told to have pride in things: our selves, our work, our possessions, our loved ones, our schools, teams, affiliations, brands, etc. But at the same time we are warned against not being too prideful…in other words not being pretentious or a cocky asshole.
It’s mixed messaging that creates a fine taut line to walk on in everyday life. Like a true villain, the negative side of pride wins you over before betraying you. Of course, without pride I’ve found that I shy away from taking risks. And, in order to actively take a role in my own life I have to be willing to take risks. Which usually means I have to possess some sort of confidence or pride in myself or others that are involved in the risk I’ll be taking.
I can’t think of Pride without a multitude of referential anecdotes coming to mind. Right now the one that is front of mind the most is a line from an Avett Brothers song called “The Perfect Space”. It really nails the ambiguity of possessing pride:
“And I wanna have pride,
Like my mother had.
And not like the kind in the bible
That turns you bad.”
I struggle with a lack of self worth, self confidence, self esteem, etc. To me, possessing the right kind and proper amount of pride is a challenge that will continue throughout my life. One of many. But, knowing I have challenges in life that continue to evolve keeps me waking up each day ready to live. So, I don’t let the negative side of pride intimidate me. It’s a double-edged sword that I will continue to master. Happily.