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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Words That Can Haunt Me, Part 13: Pride

How heavy is your baggage with respect to the word pride? 

As is my practice, I started with a dictionary: 1.) the state or quality of being proud; 2.) self-respect. So far, so good, although #1 is one of those definitions I don't find real helpful. But things get dicey pretty fast when moving to #3 & #4, especially the synonyms associated with those two definitions - conceit, self-esteem, egotism. Uh-oh. And the antonyms for pride - modesty & humility - are also more than a little sobering.

But ... since my Random House dictionary no doubt owes a debt to that Christian dude Noah Webster, I began reflecting on the whole seven deadly sins enchilada. I wonder - What would those very smart guys in ancient Greece - the ones who extolled pride (and came up with their own word for excessive pride - hubris) - have had to say about pride, not of the excessive variety, being equated with conceit? How much of my baggage about this word is connected to my early years spent in the pews? What a tangled web.

Doing a quick search of my 1200 blog posts using just pride & humility as keywords did not lighten my load at all. After re-reading just a few reflections from the last five years, I realized pride may or may not be a deadly sin - sorry Father - but it's clearly near the top of any list of words that haunt me.