Mind Matters: Proud to be pro-pride

Can you name the seven deadly sins? They are harder to remember than the seven dwarfs.

I will help you with the seven deadly sins: 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?

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 open the cylinder. The cylinder had three wheels, each with six numbers on it. I calculated that the cylinder had 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 surrounding the house and see if a door or window was unlocked.

The back sliding door was not. Success! Solving the problem of house entry led me to feel proud. I am now writing about my triumph – is that excessive pride?

Individuals often feel proud about accomplishing something difficult for them.

For instance, while working in a hospital, I noticed that psychiatrists took no pride in diagnosing a patient with a mental illness, but they felt proud when they identified a medical problem undetected by other specialists.

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 the future. In general, I am pro-pride. How about you?

One final question: What accomplishments have led you to feel proud?