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Pride is an amazing thing--how many people have lived frustrated, lonely lives because of pride?  We're fortunate to live in a world that fosters something like pride less than it has been fostered in the past, but many people still cling to their pride as if it were their sole meaningful possession on earth, the only thing that keeps them going.

The problem with pride is that it's focused on who we are or what we think we are, even though usually we have little or nothing to do with our own circumstances.  Think of the people who have been born into the upper class, and how strongly they hold on to the pride that their social class has instilled in them.  Their pride, though, is misplaced--they have done nothing to get where they are, and their pride in themselves is deceitful and probably quite harmful.  Their pride is based on a system or systems that were created and forged by others before them, and they're merely reaping the benefits of the work of others.  Enjoying the benefits is one thing, but being proud of them--there's no place for that.

This sort of pride leads people to make poor decisions, to limit their lives in an unlimited world.  They won't have anything to do with certain people because those people don't measure up to their standards.  The rich won't socialize with the poor, the full-timers won't socialize with the part-timers, the beautiful won't be seen with the ugly (what will people think?).

Pride goes before the fall, we read in Proverbs.  We've all heard it.  Actually, though, this would be much more simply said "pride causes the fall."  I have never met an extremely proud person around whom I've been comfortable, for I see them sabotaging their own lives over and over again, limiting themselves to whatever's "acceptable" to them in their circumstances.

I see them treat other people as inferiors, completely ignoring the fact that every person they mistreat was created by the same God who created them.  I've seen them insult and ridicule and hold others in disdain, all for the sake of maintaining their own pride.  You see, they're fooling themselves into thinking that they have power, but they'll find out that the power they have is limited to times when things are going well.  Once things start going poorly, they'll see just how powerless they truly are--their pride has kept them from seeing aspects of their lives that they need to work on, has kept them from seeing gaps in their knowledge and ability.

Pride is blinding, and there is none so poor as the one who is not able to see things as they truly are.  Physical blindness is not nearly as debilitating as spiritual or mental blindness, and the proud people of the world cannot claim to see.  Humility is the opposite of pride, and the humble have a very good vision of just where they stand in the world.  Give me a poor humble person to be with before a rich proud person any day.  With the humble person, I'll learn of the world and of other people and of life; with the proud person, I'll learn only about that person and what makes him or her so "great."  And I won't even believe the person.

People who live in situations that generally foster pride but who hold on to their humility are among the most admirable people I know.  Everything is working on them to make them proud, yet they keep a healthy perspective, and they give credit where credit is due, and they don't take it all for themselves.  They still see, and they see clearly.  A man who had made millions in asphalt recently sold his business and split the profits with the people who had worked for him over the years, turning some into instant millionaires.  He had made millions himself, and he was willing to give it away to others.  He had resisted pride, and he and others were much happier for it.

Be proud of your accomplishments, but then move on to the next task--that's where you're needed.  Never let pride overwhelm you and rob you of your ability to see the world and your place in it clearly.  Learn of life, and prepare yourself for any future by filling in your own gaps and strengthening yourself in your weak areas.



Half of the harm that is done in this world
Is due to people who want to feel important.

T.S. Eliot


Pride will have a fall.

English proverb


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There is a paradox in pride:  it makes some people ridiculous,
but prevents others from becoming so.

Charles Caleb Colton


Pride is the only disease known to humans that makes
everyone sick except the one who has it.

Buddy Robinson


When people are wrapped up in themselves, they make a pretty small package.

John Ruskin


There is perhaps not one of our natural passions so hard
to subdue as pride.  Disguise it, struggle with it, stifle it,
mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will
every now and then peep out and show itself.

Benjamin Franklin


Pride attaches undue importance to the superiority of one's status in
the eyes of others; and shame is fear of humiliation at one's inferior
status in the estimation of others.  When one sets one's heart on
being highly esteemed, and achieves such rating, then he or she is
automatically involved in fear of losing status.


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

Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves.  But deep
down below the surface of the average conscience a still,
small voice says to us, "Something is out of tune."

Carl Jung


Intelligent people who are proud of their intelligence
are like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.

Simone Weil


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Never preen yourself that you are prideless:  for pride is more
invisible than an ant's footprint on a black stone in the dark of night.


Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used
synonymously.  A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates
more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we
would have others think of us.

Jane Austen


A proud person is always looking down on things and people; and, of course,
as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity


Pride and curiosity are the two scourges of our souls. The latter prompts
us to poke our noses into everything, and the former forbids us
to leave anything unresolved and undecided.

Michel de Montaigne
The Essays: A Selection

Pride is the chalice into which all human sins are poured: it glitters and
jingles and its arabesque lures your gaze, while your lips
involuntarily touch the seductive beverage.

Vladimir Odoevsky


When you're thinking, please remember this: excessive pride is a familiar sin,
but we may just as easily frustrate the will of God through excessive humility.

Ken Follett
The Pillars of the Earth


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



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



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