In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the shame of pride.
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Now, let’s talk about the shame of pride.
Pride is the recognition and belief in one’s own good, one’s own value – be it the result of an action or the result of one’s self-perceived worth.
Pride is the opposite of shame: pride results in ‘expansion’ and puffing up the chest; shame results in ‘shrinking’ and hiding.
In 1999, the NFL moved to ban players who made acts of pride in the form of throat-slashing gestures after scoring a touchdown or making a big play. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/23/sports/pro-football-throat-gesture-faces-ban-by-nfl.html
We have come to accept celebratory acts of pride on the football field and in other aspects of society; athletes and even race car drivers will often do victory laps. However, as I will explain, pride has two connotations.
“Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them greater, and it is not found without them.”
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, c. 350 B.C.
Aristotle identified pride as a virtue: moral excellence, a habit or trait that is deemed to be morally good.
Even earlier than Aristotle, almost 3 thousand years ago, around 8th century BC, pride was a positive emotion and trait as identified in the heroes of Homer’s “Iliad”, namely Hector, Achilles and Agamemnon.
However, by the Middle ages (5th century to 15th century), pride was identified as a deadly sin; Pope Gregory referred to it as the worst of the deadly sins.
So what exactly is pride that it is seen as positive and welcomed and yet, also seen by some religions as evil, a deadly sin? Is it beneficial or detrimental to our emotional and psychological health?
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