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Pride vs Vanity

We take pride in our prosperity, accomplishments, possessions, and loved ones. Pride, a positive emotion, motivates humans to achieve great things. As our achievements increase, we realize that others admire us, which boosts our self-esteem. This feeling of euphoria comes from internalized pride, but a craving for more can lead to vanity and conceit.

When pride is externalized, it transforms into vanity, causing self-admiration, a reluctance to share, and other negative behaviors. Vanity drives us to deprive, cheat, and insult others. It promotes envy and a yearning for what we lack, resulting in transgressions and harm to others.

In its simplest definition, pride is the positive emotion we feel about ourselves without seeking external approval. On the other hand, vanity relies on external validation. Pride can stand alone, while vanity depends on others for reinforcement and praise.

Many theologians, ethics professors, preachers, and priests teach that pride is one of the seven deadly sins, possibly the worst of all sins and the root of all evil. However, they have mistaken pride for vanity. To justify their belief that pride is sinful, they have redefined the word and placed it on a scale. These actions serve to maintain the idea that pride is a deadly sin.

Self-respect, self-esteem, and respect for family, community, and nation are not vanity but rather expressions of pride. These are personal, internalized emotions without complexity. The confusion arises when pride is mistaken for vanity. Vanity fuels prejudice and bias, hindering empathy and understanding. Cultivating humility and respecting diverse beliefs promotes a more inclusive society.

We should not confuse children by telling them we are proud of them and then sending them to schools where they are taught that pride is a sin. It is contradictory for principals to praise school accomplishments while ethics teachers label pride as sinful. This confusion leads children to justify definitions of pride versus vanity, making it easier to embrace vanity since pride has been defined as sinful by scholars.

Pride is not a sin; it is a positive and empowering attitude. It brings a sense of vitality and aliveness. We should take pride in our accomplishments, family, children, parents, spouse, good friends, and country, as it fosters unity. However, we must never mistake vanity for pride.

Vanity is empty and remains a favored “sin” of the devil. It hinders apology and forgiveness, reflecting self-righteousness. Falling into vanity is easy, while remaining humble is more difficult. Humility is acceptance and a form of “quiet pride” that exists internally between individuals and God. When humility becomes vocal, it tends to lean toward vanity.

Last Updated on May 19, 2023

1 Comment

  1. fhmaletsky

    Why do you hesitate to make friends? Is it because you are shy? Is it because you don’t want to take the chance of rejection? Or is it really you holding on to a false sense of dignity or maybe even vanity?

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