Pride in oneself is a very useful thing; we should take pride in who we are, and what we have accomplished in life; the great and the not so great. We should consider all we do an act of some greatness, along as it is a noble or kind act, with some value to ourselves and humanity.
Pride in self should not be confused with ego, pride in self is something that we need to watch, because over pride in self, leads to ego or conceit. Pride is not, by its nature, either, although in today’s world we often confuse pride with ego or self-worth, and nothing can be further from the truth, if we understand pride.
The modern day dictionary defines pride as:
Pride: praɪd – [prahyd] noun, verb, prid·ed, prid·ing.
a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
But this in not how I would define the word, pride, if used correctly is praise to God. We take pride in what we have accomplished, we have pride in others for their accomplishments and we show pride in our actions and non-actions.
Pride is a state of being, a condition of the soul and heart. The action or non action of pride involves our intellect, soul and heart, or in other words our total being, corporal and spiritual. Ego, on the other hand, only concerns itself with itself; it is only a corporal act.
So how is it that pride is an action and non-action, how can they be one in the same? The action of pride involves doing and the non-action of pride involves non-doing. We have to act in a physical way with or corporal being to have action, but with non-action, it is more of a spiritual act. Each one is related, and often times connected directly together. The non-action, or spiritual pride, often times takes on an action, or corporal pride.
An example of a corporal pride action would be how we choose to dress. We may choose to wear clothing that is modest and with out offence. Appear clean cut and present a nice physical presence. That would be an act of corporal pride; it involves the intellect and an action (choosing the outfit, and wearing it).
The action itself, makes it corporal, it is dealing with our physical appearance. But if you where to make this decision based on God, seeing modesty not as a fashion statement, but rather as a sign of respect to yourself and to God, then this action would be both, spiritual and corporal in nature. It involved both action and non-action.
Some pride can be just spiritual in nature, involving only non-action. We can intellectual choose to act or not act. This concept is a little harder to grasp, and its edges are a bit fuzzy to see, but it is a possibility and an actuality.
A non-action can seem to some as an action, but once again, please consider that I am defining action and non-action as meaning physical and spiritual. So a non-action form of pride, I am referring to purely as spiritual in nature, no physical aspect, no corporal involvement.
Prayer is a form of spiritual pride; we humble ourselves to God, out of pride for our creator. It is not a corporal act, we do not have to do anything physical to pray, it is an act of our spirit, our soul.
But praying can also be corporal in nature, gestures and movements are often times incorporated in to our prayer life. But this is truly for our own need, and not the need of God.
Be diligent in guarding yourself, and do not let the ego masquerade as pride, do not let the action become the ends, such as the Pharisees did, they allowed ego to act as pride, and the actions became the end result, rather then the prayer and humility being the action required. They lost the ability to distinguish between corporal and spiritual pride, and allowed the ego to assume the role.
Pride in self, and pride in faith must always work in conjunction with each other, and often times are one in the same. The Saints would claim they had no pride in what they had accomplished, that is all the work of God, and that they where just simple tools used by the Holy Spirit. But I would argue and state that that is pride in self, the ability to humble oneself and allow God to work in and through you is spiritual pride. No saint would allow the work, physical work, to be shabby or second rate, because it is for the glory of God, and that is corporal pride.
Taking a few liberties with the English language, and redefining pride may seem to be a bold action, but I do not feel I have done so, I feel I have taken a word, and given back to it, it’s original intent. The English language all too often has to few words to describe the complexity of or nature, and all to often time erodes meanings in to something less then what it truly is.
Pride in-of-it self is a good and holy action, it is the human condition that tarnishes it. It is God who restores it to its proper place, if we allow him to do so, with in us.
Meaning is often negotiated as usage often adds nuances depending on the speaker’s and listener’s context.
As far as pride is concerned, I have a hard time separating the ego from the concept. Pride can range from self-satisfaction of an act well done, to smug superiority over some self imposed identity.
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