We are going to start this series with the mother of all the Deadly Sins–Pride. Why would we consider pride as the mother of all? Well it is pride that usually leads us down the slippery slope of all the other vices.
When I first thought of pride, I always would think of someone who was full of themselves. The image that conjured in my mind was of a person who head was up, nose in the air, and they thought highly of themselves.
In the movie Seven, they depicted pride as the woman who had to choose between calling for help (after her nose was cut off) or taking her life. As you can guess, she took her own life with sleeping pills.
What Is Pride?
- pride noun \ˈprīde
: a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people
: a feeling that you are more important or better than other people
: a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.
Now, there isn’t anything wrong with liking yourself. After all, it should start with the self right? Pride is inordinate self-love. In other words: your reality becomes skewed and shifted. You start to believe that you are the source of the greatness that you have. This then leads to you thinking that you’re actually greater or important than you actually are.
Here are the sins of pride:
- Failure to give credit to others
- An excessive of self-love
- Exaggerated sense of self.
Pride is wanting to be above and ahead of everyone, simply to be ahead and above everyone. Ultimately, it sets us in competition with God and with others.
The Uncommon List of Pride
These other traits are forms of pride because we find ourselves paralyzed by the opinion of others. We stop ourself from doing or saying something, fearing and knowing we are not the best at it, or it will be less than perfect. We begin to seek the approval of others in what we say or do.
But Really, Self Consciousness?
When I first came to the second list, I was taken aback. I mean, I have been self-consciousness for a long time. For example, I used to be afraid to wear a certain shirts or have the gall to walk out in summer without my toes painted. Yes, I do that (they have been manicured, just not painted).
For years I was tormented by the thought of what other would think of me, worst yet, not just think but what they would say! Growing up, people were not afraid to tell you when you were stepping out of their comfort zones. This usually meant saying things at you or doing things to you until you got back in [their] line.
But, I had never perceived shyness or being timid a form of pride. After much reflecting, I can see the truth in it.
If we hold the opinion of others in such a high regard, that even when we know we are doing right (or no injustice to anyone), but steer towards doing wrong (or not accepting ourselves), it is our pride (in this case fear as well) that paralyzes us.
Who is Prone to the Vice of Pride?
I can safely say that the image of the haughty man has been laid to rest. And I’ll be honest, I struggled with myself as I was writing this post. I even questioned myself if I should even start this series, since I’m sure it has been said before, and maybe said even better. But I’m okay with that now.
Here are some great points from Saint Josemaria Escriva to help us find out if Pride is our vice:
- “Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;
- Always wanting to get your own way;
- Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;
- Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;
- Despising the point of view of others;
- Making excuses when rebuked;
- Refusing to carry out menial tasks;
- Being ashamed of not having certain possessions.”
(St. Josemaria Escriva, was the founder of Opus Dei)
To combat pride, one must practice humility.
It does take a lot of self-reflection to decide if pride is your main vice. Sometimes, we have to ask someone who knows and love us very well to help us find this out. But once we know what our main vice is, we’ll be on our way to becoming a better person.
Now that you know this information, how will this change the way you think of yourself? What will you do with this information?