We are proud of our prosperity, accomplishments, possessions and our loved ones. Pride is good, it makes humans accomplish great things. As we achieve more, we also recognize that others look up to us more, this makes us feel good. People admire our accomplishments and then so do we, which gives us pride. We get a feeling of euphoria. Pride is an emotion that is internalized. But the craving for more leads to vanity or conceit.
The emotion of pride, once externalized leads to vanity which leads to self-admiration, unwillingness to share, and toward other negatives in life. We begin to deprive others, we begin to cheat others, we begin to insult others. Vanity leads us to envy, to yearning for what we do not have, which then leads to transgression and to the deprivation of others.
In the simplest of definition, pride is the good emotion we feel about ourselves without the need for external approval. Vanity on the other hand craves that external approval. Pride stands alone but vanity leans on others for reinforcement and praise.
Most theologians, professors of ethics and behavior, preachers and priests teach that pride is one of the 7 deadly sins and maybe the worst one of all. That it could possibly be the root of all evil. They have all mistaken pride for vanity. To justify their insistence that pride is a sin, they categorized the word pride. They took the word and then put it on a measuring scale. They did all these just to continue to justify that pride is one of the 7 deadly sins.
Self-respect, self-esteem, respect and honor for family, community and nation is never vanity. It is pride. These are all internalized personal emotions. There is no complexity in pride. Complexity sets in when one mistakes pride for vanity.
Don’t confuse the children. Don’t tell them that you are proud of them and then send them to school where they are taught that pride is a sin. They listen to the principal lauding how proud she/he is of the accomplishments of the school, then on the same day the ethics teacher tells them that pride is a sin. Children grow up confused and as they get older they begin to justify definitions of pride vs vanity. Where vanity becomes easier to embrace since pride was defined by scholars as sinful.
Pride is not a sin. Pride is a feel good attitude. It makes one feel alive. Be proud of your accomplishments. Be proud of your family, your children, your parents, your spouse, and good friends. Be proud of your country. Pride nurtures unity. However, never mistake VANITY for pride.
Vanity is empty. Vanity will always remain as the favorite “sin” of the devil. Vanity prevents you from apologizing and forgiving. Vanity reflects self-righteousness. It is easy to fall for Vanity. It is more difficult to be humble. Humility is acceptance. Humility is “quiet pride”, it is internal, it is between the individual and God. Once humility takes on a “voice” it leans towards vanity.