No doubt, at some point in your life, you’ve felt proud of something you’ve done. Therefore, you’ll know what it’s like to feel satisfied thanks to your hard work. This attitude is positive and even healthy for your self-esteem and self-concept. However, on the other side of the coin are proud people. They’re individuals who use their achievement (or belief in it) for a very different purpose. In fact, their aim is to humiliate others and feel superior.
We could say that, in many cases, pride has a positive side. As a matter of fact, on its own, it defines a type of personality that’s not maladjusted or harmful. Indeed, experts in personality psychology claim that developing a healthy sense of pride is positive. It’s a way of respecting yourself and understanding that, in turn, you deserve to be respected by others.
However, it isn’t appropriate to develop the kind of pride with which excessive self-esteem is associated. The one in which individuals set themselves above the rest, thus exceeding the limits of respect and displaying the most poisonous arrogance. Let’s take a closer look.
“Pride goes before destruction.”
What are proud people really like?
Proud people are overconfident. Everything they do, everything they say, and everything they think, is, according to them, perfect.
You’ve probably come across individuals like this in your life. They’re those friends that are no longer friends because they considered that you’d done something unforgivable to them. They’re those colleagues who always looked down on you, and those family members you stopped talking to because they treated you in a harmful and upsetting manner.
Let’s look at some of the most basic features of excessive pride.
Proud people use pride as a defense mechanism
This fact is curious. In fact, these people often unconsciously hide certain facts or events that at some point generated a type of insecurity in them. They might be mistakes they made or slights given by others in the past.
Therefore, what they do very often is to use pride as a defense weapon. In effect, they highlight their achievements and successes over those of others. This is so that their past or present weaknesses don’t get discovered.
Pride is like a shield or breastplate that serves to mask their feelings of inferiority. Carl Jung expressed it by saying that “through pride, we are ever deceiving ourselves”. He was referring to the role of self-deception as a means of protection against the fear of recognizing one’s mistakes and their consequences.
“Since your pride is not extinguished, you are punished more.”
They’re hypersensitive, everything bothers and offends them
Don’t talk to these people about your achievements. Don’t discuss any of your worries with them and don’t mention your goals and aims. That’s because the proud person will reinterpret any action as a direct attack on their ego. Furthermore, they’ll see every quality that defines you as a clear threat against them. Indeed, they won’t hesitate to see you as a rival and they’ll feel offended by everything you do or say.
They have a great need for control
Proud people need to take control in every scenario in order to validate their pride. At a family level, this kind of behavior can be very destructive. In fact, the proud person demands the kind of absolute veneration in which they can’t be contradicted. No one can be above them or stand out in any way.
They use every opportunity to shine
They use any conversation or circumstance to highlight their virtues. They’re also those types of people who constantly talk about their past achievements, their good relationships with certain important figures, and how appreciated they are in certain professional sectors.
Gradually, they end up taking control of conversations to direct them exclusively towards themselves. This is exhausting and alienating if you find yourself at the center of such behavior.
They don’t usually ask for help or forgiveness
Proud people believe that they’re perfect and superior in every way. Therefore, they believe that they can do everything and that they do everything well, and in their own way. In fact, the proud person considers that their way is always the best way of doing things. They won’t even consider other ways. For this reason, they don’t usually ask for help or forgiveness. That’s because they simply believe they don’t need it.
Beware the boundaries of pride
To have confidence in yourself is good. However, having an excess of it can paralyze the positive aspects of any situation, leaving you with no chance to improve. Indeed, it’s always advisable to leave some room for doubt and to analyze everything you do. In this way, you’ll be able to improve and keep moving forward.
Historically, and from a doctrinal point of view, pride is seen as one of the seven deadly sins. There’s a good reason for this. Just think about how repellent those kinds of people are who have such exaggerated opinions of themselves. Those who only talk about their achievements, and hold self-aggrandizing views. They’re both tiresome and harmful.
The proud person is the living example of the phrase that says “first me, second me, and third me”. However, let’s not forget that pride is secretly driven by feelings of low self-esteem and shame. In fact, those who are proud actually feel bad about themselves and compensate for it by looking for those situations in which they feel superior. To achieve this, they don’t hesitate to be avid seekers of other people’s faults and, in turn, the most implacable destroyers of others’ virtues.
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
It’s important never to reach these extremes. The best thing to do is to guard yourself against it. Protect yourself against your vulnerabilities, your mistakes, and prevent harmful pride from taking over. Because when this happens, you lose your reason, your dignity, and the people you love.
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