Such a strange concept.
Fewer sentiments can make a boy feel like a man when his father says “I’m proud of you.”
It was hubris that brought down Oedipus Rex to the irony of him fulfilling the prophesies which causes his fall.
Twas pride that sparked the heartbeat of William Wallace fighting for the value of freedom and liberty.
In effort to become an unrivaled scientist, it was Victor’s pride that formed the monster which lead to his misfortune.
It can build and destroy great kingdoms.
It can be felt in joy within a person’s heart, or it can be felt as a sword piercing what they have placed as their value.
False pride can lead a person to say “told you so.” Yet just pride can earn a person’s trust by them laconically offering “so you told.”
It’s 2:17am and these thoughts jolted me from my sleep and keep me awake.
In the past I’ve held the belief that your actions could always be rationalized regardless of how others perceive them. Yet more and more the evidence reveals that the rationalization of an action is determined by others receiving them.
When toddlers and young children are playing house, they prepare (quite rapidly) a meal for adults. Plastic peas, water soup, or some other delectable invisible dish. When they serve with joy, do parents swat it away and proclaim “No child, you are crazy. This is not real food, and your actions are irrational.”
No. Parents receive this act in love (gift of their will) and exclaim “this is the best plastic food I’ve had in my entire life!” It’s the reception of the gift that give it rationality.
When a young man pursues a woman. He offers her gifts, offers his time, learns intimate details about her. The frame of these actions are then determined by her reception. Either she thinks he is a creep and crazy, or she receives his gift and takes risk toward life long love.
The rationality of actions in many cases are not determined by it’s giving, but by whether or not it is accepted.
What does rationality have to do with pride? In my humbling (remember this term) experience, pride is also determined by reception.
Pride is a present confidence that looks forward. Making plans if you will.
“Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; “the prudent man looks where he is going.” (Prov 14:15) “Keep sane and sober for your prayers.” (1 Pet 4:7) Prudence is “right reason in action,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas . . .” CCC 1806
Sharing origins with the word prudence, pride I would propose, is also to look where you are going. Yet whether it is just or false pride is determined by the clarity of your vision
Many visions are noble, good, purposeful.
Oedipus was considered one of the most intelligent men alive, yet his pride (own plan looking forward) distracted him from seeing key factors to cause his demise. Literally becoming blind by his own doing.
Victor was a great scientist, yet his hubris was exposed because he sought this to be proven even through un-ethical means. He did not choose the right means to achieve good.
William Wallace was a great hero because his vision for Scotland was noble and true good in all circumstance through liberty.
Humility and being humiliated is the act of being grounded away from our plan, our looking forward. Accepting that our plan may not be the most prudent, or the right means of achieving good. Accepting that others do not accept your plan.
Very recently was presented to me an alternate path for my life. What subsequently followed that possibility was my INTJ and risk manager brain going into plan mode.
Seeking counsel , prayer, and fasting from those I trust, nearly all indications read positive and support. My own prayer indicated big change very clearly.
All the research, planning, projections, fact checking, proposals, and expectations were set. Presented with a challenge, I placed the best effort I possessed on the table.
It wasn’t arrogance, but a small confidence was within my heart. I had the plan, the plan was done well. Did I fit the bill 100%? Conversations weren’t perfect. Even considering I was exhausted from having no rest, and grieving the death of a loved one. Prefacing (and assuming others understood) that no decision can be made with complete comfort, but if they were willing to take the risk, so was I.
Several days later the phone call came after my lunch hour, reading a book in the shade during a break.
For the first time in my life that I can recall on a professional level, my plan was not accepted.
EVERY TIME I’ve ever competed or applied myself on a professional level, have won. Being chosen over other candidates, countless times. I don’t ask for it, in most cases my quiet proposal of experience and proven success speaks for itself.
Humiliating that my effort was dismissed as not worthy. Humiliating that something I really wanted was not given. Humiliating that I took big risks and was dealt a loss. Humiliating that I had to go back and tell people who were confident for me, that their confidence was in vain.
My pride is hurt, because my vision looking forward was not accepted by others. Right reason was exercised in action, yet others looked upon me as irrational.
However don’t apply the twisted sense of humiliation to this. It is not like a child who was bullied and beaten, humiliated by something unjust. I’m not crying because someone publically shamed me.
Humiliation is a good. Imposed humility shows that others may see more than me. They say hindsight is 20/20 (which I don’t fully believe) but looking back and comparing actions to new experience can reveal more in losing than if I were to have gained.
My pride is hurt not because I did something wrong, but that I placed value into an action that did not appreciate.
Humiliating yes, yet it is the act of humility that rocks are drug across a river bed. Stones grinding upon others as they travel. When you look at rocks toward the beginning, they are large and rough. It’s only through years of friction and humility (earth to earth) that they become smooth pebbles downstream. The good ones that you seek while finding some to skip across the pond.
It was humiliating that my effort was dismissed as not worthy. It was humiliating that something I really wanted was not given. It was humiliating that I took big risks and was dealt a loss. It was humiliating that I had to go back and tell people who were confident for me, that their confidence was in vain.
But it’s this action of humility that gives me confidence that I should not weep for the rough stones I sought and lost, the heavy ones that may skip a few times but sink quickly with large splash.
Rejoice that the future will be full of stones that will skip across the water with ease and beauty. This is how I look forward.