Since we live in a world of opposites, everything we think, say, and do is about balance. Therefore, to define ‘pride’ it is important to understand the level of awareness from which ‘pride’ is being expressed. True pride is when I come from the understanding that I am a soul and the things I am proud of are based on inner awareness. Whereas, false pride is influenced by outer awareness. So, our identity and self-image is our GPS which directs us towards false or true pride.
What is false pride and how does it hold me to ransom?
False pride influences our behaviour when faced with difficult situations. It is a subtle feeling rather than a thought process that triggers conceit, smugness, superiority or arrogance when dealing with challenges. It is a mindset of being better than others and is often created as a compensation for feelings of shame that we may be trying to hide. All feelings of fear and anxiety are based on some element of false pride, and this holds us to ransom, keeps us imprisoned, prevents us from having truly loving and liberating relationships, and the higher we place ourselves above others, the steeper the fall into shame, which has a greater impact on our self-esteem.
Pride is the seed that grows into a tree called shame, and being different sides of the same coin, neither can exist without the other. An awareness built on false pride will always be generating conditions and circumstances that will trigger shame. For example, pride in being separate from others, being better, will trigger a situation where, at some point in the future, that person becomes dependent on the very people they are avoiding. When I have a mindset of being separate from others because I feel better than them, it means I am out of alignment with my true self, and if I am not in alignment with my true self I will not align with others. The very thing I am resisting will persist as the drama of life will always ensure that we experience whatever we are running away from.
As we become more self-aware, we can see how in order to let go of old, outmoded patterns of thinking based on false pride, we consciously see, accept, and bid farewell to behaviour traits which no longer serve us. Feeling ashamed of things we have done or things that happen to us is a natural part of climbing the ladder of self-awareness. However, the root cause of pride are the secrets that we hide inside because there is fear that we will lose love and attention from others.
Unfortunately, shame feeds on secrets; disclosure pushes us outside our comfort zone and is a significant part of the challenge to consciously see and feel the emotions of pride and shame and calmly say ‘no, thank you’.
The remedy is to have the humility, transparency, courage and honesty to share whatever ‘secrets’ we are holding within. Sharing our ‘secrets’, with a special someone who we trust and have empathy with is a liberating experience. Having the courage to choose the person, the time and the place to shine a light into the darkness of the ’secret’ – is a powerful way of changing a mindset and helps to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
The basis of true pride is the awareness that I am a soul, a spiritual, eternal being of goodness and beauty. Meditation is a wonderful way of getting to know this eternal and amazing self. The act of sharing, with a carefully chosen someone, can be a special and magical process. If I feel there is no-one around me that I feel comfortable with, but only those who I think will judge and criticise me, then it is a very powerful message that I am separating myself from life and people, because I am afraid of being hurt. It is a message to get to know myself really well, and become the compassionate and understanding person I would love to share my secrets with. I can begin this relationship with myself in conversation with the Divine, who is only love and who can shine the brightest light upon any inner darkness that is causing me sorrow. It is through this beautiful relationship that all other relationships develop.