June 21

Today's quotation:

Pride may be allowed to this or that degree, else we cannot keep up our dignity.  In gluttony there must be eating, in drunkenness there must be drinking:  'tis not the eating, nor 'tis the drinking that is to be blamed.  So with pride.

John Selden

Today's Meditation:

There are quite a few things that I'm proud of, but I try to keep that pride in check.  If I allow it to grow too strong, it can be my undoing.  Pride in and of itself isn't much of a problem to anyone, and can be a truly positive feeling.  It's when we give it too much importance that we face difficulties, that we can allow it to be an albatross around our necks that is much more damaging than helpful.

Many people feel that pride is negative in all its forms, but that seems to be far from true.  What's wrong with feeling proud for having worked hard and accomplished something truly worthwhile?  Would we tell a child not to feel proud for doing well on a test?  And if we do so, what effect would that have on the child in the future, if he or she finds no reasons to excel at the things he or she does?

We've all gone through some very difficult times, and we should be proud that we've made it through in one piece, for the most part.  We've all accomplished some important and fascinating things, and we should be proud of our achievements.  We've all avoided doing some pretty terrible things and making some awful mistakes, and we should be proud that we showed restraint and good judgment.

The problem comes up when we allow pride to take over, when we're more proud of a certain something than that something merits, when we put ourselves above other people because we feel we have more to be proud of than they do.  If we do this, we really are setting ourselves up for experiencing hell on earth, for there's no way that we can maintain that perspective over long periods of time and we start to feel insecure, frustrated, and fearful of being exposed.  Pride can be a good friend, but if we give it too much power over us, it can be an awful enemy.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so tempting to feel inordinate amounts of pride in the things we do?

What are some things that you're most proud of?

How do you react to other people's pride when they express it?

For further thought:

The beginning of pride is in heaven.  The continuance of pride is on earth.  The end of pride is in hell.

unattributed

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