When Is Pride a Character Defect?

Thought for today:

The word “pride” means “deep satisfaction in our own achievements, or those of others”.  It can separate “us” from “them”, making “us” come out better and “them”, worse off.  In this sense, “put down” pride is destructive, and the extent to which we entertain it, we destroy peace.

A member shares:

“I used to believe that pride was a good thing – pride in country, family, teams – it was all good.  But I used to take pride to extremes, and it became haughtiness – arrogant and destructive – and it eventually made me sick inside.

“My prejudice isolated me.  In my Fourth Step, I found that pride kept me from seeking help with my debting problem.  Long before I joined the fellowship I had heard of it and thought, ‘If I ever got bad enough to go to DA, I’d quit on my own.”

“I see now that when I pre-judge, I’m playing the role of a mind reader, or worse, God.  In relationships, if I dismiss someone’s motives, I take away their humanity.  If I discount whole classes of people, I am cheating myself of the possibility for reconciliation.

“The world is full of negative pride – haughtiness, the “I’m better than you” kind. It lives in fear that it will come up short.  It perpetuates insane hatred between people and between countries.

“I need to give people the benefit of the doubt and not judge their motives, because I don’t know what’s truly in another person’s heart. I need to let go of unhealthy pride, and learn kindness.”

Wisdom and peace:

Appreciating a child or grandchild is beautiful.  Valuing a personal achievement leads to self-esteem.  Enjoying a sporting event is exciting.  These things on their own are not negative pride.  They are more the outpourings of a heart filled with generosity and good will.

Negative pride comes from fear that there is not enough prosperity to go around.  It’s a feeling that there is not enough for all, so one of us must win, and the other must lose.  Taking this idea to the extreme, it says, “I’m better than you in all ways.  I’m superior.  I’m master.”

When we try to see beyond our limited perspective, to try to consider the other person’s point of view, we are approaching a wisdom that tempers our temptation to judge.  When we seek gratitude, we are learning to appreciate all life – not just our friends, our club or our country, but all people, all countries, all life.  When we hope and work for a better life for all, we are peacemakers.

Step Four:

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”


When tempted by negative pride, can I try to understand the other person’s point of view?  Has humility helped me deal with people?  

Meditation for today:

The world is like a mirage.  What we experience is only a small piece of what the truth is.  If we were to discover absolute truth in all its fullness, we would not be able to speak of it, because words could not express it adequately.  We need to seek the truth in each moment.

Affirmation for today:

“With humility and an open mind, I start to learn my truth.  I will accept truth as it comes, and adapt my actions to it.”

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