Pride is a feeling of deep satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
In Christian theology, pride is traditionally considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins, often described as an excessive belief in one’s own abilities or an inflated sense of self-worth, which interferes with an individual’s connection with God (Timpe & Tognazzini, 2017).
Outside of Christian contexts, views on pride can differ widely. For example, it’s common to make the positive claim that we feel proud of loved ones who have succeeded. Similarly, in relation to LGBTQ+ rights and identity, pride has a positive connotation of self-affirmation in the face of attempts by others to make you feel shame for your innate identity (Laney, 2020).
1. Personal Achievement
A student who has consistently struggled with mathematics dedicates countless hours to studying and seeking extra help. After months of hard work, they score exceptionally well on a major exam. The student feels a deep sense of pride in their perseverance and achievement.
2. Community Celebration
Every year, cities around the world hold LGBTQ+ Pride parades and events. These events celebrate the progress, resilience, and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. Participants take pride in their identities, the history of their community, and the strides they’ve made in the face of adversity.
3. Athletic Accomplishment
A runner has been training for years to complete a marathon. After crossing the finish line for the first time, they are overwhelmed with a sense of pride for having achieved their long-term goal and for the dedication they’ve shown in their training.
4. Artistic Creation
An artist spends months working on a painting, pouring their emotions, creativity, and technical skills into the piece. Once the painting is exhibited in a gallery and receives appreciation from viewers, the artist feels a profound sense of pride in their work and the message they’ve conveyed.
5. Overcoming Challenges
A person who has faced speech impediments since childhood decides to participate in a public speaking event. With determination and therapy, they deliver a flawless speech in front of a large audience. Their journey and the resulting success fill them with immense pride.
6. Community Service
A group of neighbors come together to transform a neglected plot of land into a community garden. As they see families gathering, children playing, and the space thriving, they all share a collective sense of pride in their efforts to better their community. Tending to the community both demonstrates and fosters community pride.
7. Pride in Appearance
After months of embracing a healthier lifestyle, a young woman feels more confident and energetic. She invests in a new wardrobe that accentuates her renewed self-assurance. Every time she steps out, she does so with pride in her appearance, celebrating the positive changes she’s made for herself.
8. Pride in Loved Ones
A father attends his daughter’s graduation ceremony. As she walks across the stage to receive her diploma, he is filled with immense pride, recalling the challenges she overcame and the dedication she demonstrated throughout her academic journey.
9. Pride in your Cultural Heritage
A young man wears traditional attire from his ancestral homeland to a cultural festival. He walks with pride, knowing he’s representing a rich history and legacy, and is keen to share stories of his heritage with curious attendees.
10. Pride in Sibling’s Achievement
A brother watches his younger sister perform on stage in a musical. Seeing her talent shine and knowing the hours of practice she put in, he feels a deep sense of pride in her accomplishment and the joy she brings to the audience.
Pride vs Humility
As we can see from the above examples, pride isn’t always necessarily a bad thing – especially when we’re proud of loved ones, or, when oppressed groups use pride as a way to re-affirm their self-identity in the face of marginalization and discrimination.
However, pride is generally seen as a negative personality trait when it is not accompanied by humility (Boyd, 2014).
When pride morphs into arrogance or superiority, it can blind individuals to their own flaws and can lead to a sense of entitlement (Eragula, 2015). This kind of pride often alienates others, as it can manifest in dismissive or condescending attitudes. It’s essential to differentiate between healthy self-esteem and overconfidence that borders on hubris.
Furthermore, when pride prevents us from admitting our mistakes or seeking help when needed, it becomes a barrier to personal growth and understanding. It can keep us stuck in patterns that don’t serve us well and can hinder our relationships with others.
On the other hand, a balanced sense of pride, rooted in genuine accomplishments and coupled with self-awareness and gratitude, can be a source of motivation and resilience (Boyd, 2014). It can drive us to set higher standards for ourselves, achieve our goals, and inspire others in the process.
While pride in its essence is a natural human emotion, its impact on our lives—positive or negative—largely depends on how we channel it. Recognizing the difference between being justifiably proud and being prideful to a fault is crucial for personal and interpersonal well-being.
Boyd, C. A. (2014). Pride and humility: Tempering the desire for excellence. Virtues and their Vices, 245-268.
Eragula, R. (2015). Humility in leadership. Advances in Economics and Business Management, 2(8), 786-789.
Laney, L. (2020). The Little Book of Pride: The History, the People, the Parades. CICO Books.
Salice, A., & Montes Sánchez, A. (2016). Pride, shame, and group identification. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 557. (Source)
Timpe, K., & Tognazzini, N. A. (2017). Pride in Christian Philosophy and Theology. The Moral Psychology of Pride, 211-34.
Tracy, J. L., Mercadante, E., Witkower, Z., & Cheng, J. T. (2020). The evolution of pride and social hierarchy. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 62, pp. 51-114). Academic Press.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]