Pride and Prejudice

We live in a world that is full of people who want something from us. That has lots of possibilities. Some people seek to use us for their various selfish purposes, or simply need a rubber doll with a pulse. Others want to drain us of our energy, or to prop themselves up higher by standing on our shoulders. But… There are those who want to cull happiness and success in us, because it gratifies them to help. And there are others who genuinely admire our strengths, or the ways in which we best our challenges.

All of this up and down with interacting with various beings can break our egos. If self-esteem is like a malleable piece of plastic, then that means with enough bending back and forth it can eventually snap. I know only a few people whom I believe when they say, “I like myself. Alot.” I admire them very much. I think I am beginning to internally embrace a concept that I articulated for myself quite a long time ago: My differentiation between pride and arrogance. On a logical level it makes sense to me, but until now I’m not sure I’ve been ready to apply it.

Put simply, I believe that there is a very distinct difference between being proud and being arrogant. When someone says to you in a negative tone, “Well, that sounded proud!” in my mind what they should have said is, “Well, that sounded arrogant!” And here is why I believe the two should be separated, not connected or juxstaposed on top of each other:

Pride is self love based on truth, and arrogance is self love based on nothing.

My challenge is to accept that which is true about myself, regardless of whether or not it is good/bad, right/wrong, etc. If I know something to be true about me, and I appreciate it, then it is my duty to be proud of that strength/attribute/goodness. Conversely, if I know something to be true, and I am ashamed of it, then it is my duty to make steps towards growth in this area of weakness/difficiency/negativity. The problem with arrogance is that it creates a false strength of weakness, generates lies that have to be forcefully propped up, and then uses the insecurity within the lies as a weapon against others.

I am having this discussion with myself, because tomorrow I want to discuss the problems I have had in accepting compliments and affirmations. After some very good long talks with a beautiful friend, and after an hour-long rant about my perfection from my mother (thank the Goddess for mothers! HA!), I woke up this morning, and for a flash I had a moment of pure acceptance: I am fucking fabulous! It passed, but it’s progress, right? Tomorrow I want to talk about the way the confusion between pride and arrogance stops me from seeing myself as I am (no matter how much others say they see something else in me).

Author: Devon Hunter

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  1. Reading with intense interest, hon. I like where you’re going.

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  2. I agree to a certain extent about your definitions. Arrogance to me is pride without the insight, therefore often inaccurate.

    I read with interest your RJ topic. Self-esteem is a tricky psychological attribute that often is based on life events one no longer remembers on a conscious level. Fortunately it can be improved with some honest to goodness work and soul searching.

    How do I know that my self-esteem is in reasonably good shape? I can now honestly admit I have screwed up and not go into a mental tailspin. Of course I am now close to 50! But better late then never I guess.

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  3. Amen brother, no truer words have been spoken
    this for me too is the differnece between confident and cocky…

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