Can you name the seven deadly sins? I will help you – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. This list comes from Christian writers 1600 years ago. The Catholic Church helped spread the list.
Thinking about those sins leads me to conclude that I am a bad, bad boy. But let’s focus not on my failures but on the subject of pride. Why is feeling proud of one’s accomplishments a sin? Well, it may or may not be a sin. The sin of pride involves feeling excessively proud of oneself. How much pride is too much?
I wonder whether some people take pride in being humble.
Here is something about which I feel proud: While traveling recently, I arrived at a house that had been rented for my use. The gate to the grounds was locked, with a wall all round. The keys were in the wall mail box in a locked cylinder. The owner of the house had neglected to give me the code to the cylinder. The cylinder had three wheels, each with six numbers on it. I calculated there were 6 X 6 X 6 possible combinations. I started trying them systematically.
After a few minutes I had gone through about 20 per cent of the possibilities, but I succumbed to the nearly deadly sin of impatience. My new idea: Climb the wall and see if a door or window was unlocked. The back sliding door was not. Success! I am now writing about my triumph – is that excessive pride? I think not, but you can have your own opinion.
Individuals often feel proud about accomplishing something difficult. For instance, while working in a hospital, I noticed psychiatrists took no pride in diagnosing a mental illness, but felt proud when they identified a medical problem.
I once had an experience somewhat similar. When a huge hurricane struck Florida, I volunteered to go into the devastated area to provide emergency psychological treatment. I overheard a person asking a nurse what to do about a sprained ankle. The nurse replied that she was not allowed to give medical advice. So I spoke up, advising RICE: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. The nurse whispered to me: Perfect! I felt proud.
The opposite of being proud is being humble. I wonder whether some people take pride in being humble. I laugh when I hear politicians say that they feel humbled by their election. I would feel elated.
I reckon that feeling proud of accomplishments helps provide a person with motivation to accomplish more. In general, I am pro-pride. How about you? What accomplishments have led you to feel proud?
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