Drop the struggle and dance with life!

Mar 30, 2011

Oh! To be proud!

I have been putting this off for quite a while! Thanks to everyone of you who bugged me to write again. :)

This one is for you.

Kids are not much into subtleties or ambiguities. It makes their life simple, and choices straight forward. Wondering about reasons and discussing validity is pretty much reserved to the grownups. It’s the unhappy provenance of maturity to see the gray shades!

As a sign of such maturity (yes, I’m mature! Go figure!) I wondered about pride. I can understand why lust, envy, sloth, gluttony, wrath, and greed are on the deadly sins list. Why is pride on it? And not only is it on the list, it’s considered the worst of it!

To be red in wrath, and green in envy, to languish in sloth, and drown in gluttony, to want more materialistically or physically, can all lead to general problems and specific harms.

But pride? Does not the management announce how proud they are of various teams’ performance? Does not the principal declare that the football team ‘has done them proud’? And the newspaper reports how the local man made his hometown proud by doing something? Did not my mom say that she was proud of me for not eating all the chalk pieces in the home? (I know, I was a weird kid!). Doesn’t everyone go on & on about national pride, causes pride, civic pride, vegan pride? Is everyone collectively sinning then?

My younger self simply scoffed at such inconsistencies. It would be beyond the scope of a young kid to realize that there are such subtleties in life, let alone grasp the intricacies of understanding it. Nothing in life is straight forward- sounds can have different meanings based on the language, and so can pride differ based on the situation.

Pride can be about writing an article well, or whipping up a meal for 15 flawlessly or getting recognized for you performance at work. Pride can be the result of appreciation from others, and any degree of appreciation is encouragement for betterment. But when that achievement becomes a bench mark for everyone else, and when that same level of dedication or belief or performance is demanded of everyone, no matter their uniqueness, is when pride becomes Pride.

Pride can lead to holding grudges simply because there is no room for leniency. To think that you would not have behaved in the similar way and therefore they should not have either- it’s a flawed argument, as they did behave that way and offend your sense of self-worth. Thus pride should be tempered with mercy.

Pride can be about the inherent goodness of a group generating loyalty- such as belonging to the Nagarathar community or college fraternity or even the cricket team. But it can also blind us, thus over-riding any objections raised against the group, disregarding the view-points of others simply because you are too proud of the group to hear about it. Thus pride should be conscious of tolerance.

Instead of being a drive for achievement and betterment, it becomes a character stumbling block, a self-importance taken to the level where isolation is rampant. Setting up high standards for one self is not enough, as intentions need to be followed with actions. When we fail to achieve self-imposed standards, Pride should be woven with acceptance- of failure, of disappointment, of differences.

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