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According to the definitions offered on Wikipedia…PRIDE is “an inwardly directed emotion that carries two common meanings.” First, with a negative connotation, pride refers to “an inflated sense of one’s personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris [extreme arrogance].” Second, and with a positive connotation, pride refers to “a satisfied sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.”

While I’ve been aware of the first definition since childhood, I prefer the second meaning, and here’s why…

I believe that having ‘pride’ in one’s community – whether it be where you live, go to school, your church or work, or participation in a cause – pride creates a bond for the Good of that group. As a group that is proud of their connection, people tend to take greater care of their community and one another. There’s a positive connection of belonging, of being united, of having one focus. We grow in the process.

Groups identify themselves in various ways; you see it everywhere. Sports teams have their mascots. Businesses have their logos. Schools have certain colors. Churches have a symbol of faith. Employees wear name badges. Professions have uniforms. It doesn’t matter what the identifier is; it matters that we can identify one another because of these symbols. We recognize our connecting interest to such groups through these visual signs. What about the invisible signs of individual pride?

One way to express individual pride (invisibly) is to do your best or be your best – the best expression of who you are. You can complete a task or job to the best of your capability and knowledge. You can leave a campsite (this earth) better than you found it. You can bring love, peace and joy to a situation where there was none. You can express yourself through your talents, your personal style, your beliefs, how you care for your body or home, and/or the way you live in the world.

Pride starts from within you…how you feel about yourself…and radiates outward. The negative description of pride is the result of an inflated sense of self; it never goes beyond the individual’s ego. The positive definition is when one feels that sense of pride within and shares it with the rest of the world in a generous and healthy way. We are all unique so our individual expression of this “virtue” is also distinctive.

In what ways do you show pride in the world – for yourself or with others? Perhaps some independent self-reflection can empower you to express in expanded ways and, thus, benefit you and the world.

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