Pride is often colored by a self-view of being better than others. In particular in the art and music scene we might judge other people to make us feel better. If we pride ourselves on being fit, we might judge people who are out-of-shape. These judgmental perceptions might gratify us with an air of superiority. Pumped up with pride, we don’t allow others their dignity. We hold people to rigid standards if we are to respect them.
Dignity doesn’t require comparing ourselves to others. If we have a good job, we feel grateful, not superior. If we keep ourselves fit, we appreciate our commitment to our health and the good feeling it gives us. But we don’t feel better than those who can’t find the time, money, or motivation to work out.
Dignity is an internal sense of respecting ourselves. To the extent that we don’t judge, criticize, and demean ourselves, we don’t feel compelled to disrespect or shame others. We can allow ourselves to enjoy satisfaction and fulfillment — and hold ourselves with a humble sense of dignity for our successes — without demeaning those who are less fortunate.
True dignity bespeaks a generosity toward others. Pride is a commodity that we hoard for ourselves. Dignity contains a humility and gratitude that invites people toward us. Pride often exudes an arrogance and egotism that repels people.
- Pride Depends on What Happens Outside Ourselves
- Dignity is Internal
Pride is precarious and easily punctured. Someone insults us, leaves us, or injures us in some way and we feel devastated. We want to retaliate, like a mob figure who orders a “hit” on someone who didn’t respect him. The disrespect is too much to bear when our self-worth is so fragile that we demand that everyone admire us. We have little control over whether others respect us, but we have a great deal of control over whether we respect ourselves.
If someone rejects us, we might feel sad and hurt. Living with dignity means honoring and embracing those vulnerable feelings. When pride rules, we pile shame atop of our hurt, which greatly magnifies our suffering.
Full article on Psychcentral by John Amodeo