3 min read

On Pride

On Pride
Photo by Steve Harvey / Unsplash

Let's talk about Pride today.  Nothing to do with sexual orientation, we are just talking about one of those phenomena the old-fashioned compiled into that infamous collection: The 7 Deadly Sins.

We all know people who are full of themselves: arrogant, conceited, selfish, the list goes on...

We are also acquainted with people who are always self-depricating, constantly employed in self-flagellation, ever 'humble', ever depressed.

Both of these manifestions can (amazingly enough) be interpreted as extra-spiritual (it's 'extra' alright)... the hypocritical dealer in spiritual advice on the one hand, and the one who 'feels the weight of the world' because they don't belong down here with us mere mortals.

Now I may remind you that I am nothing more than an 'armchair psychologist', in fact I have the distinction of having never taken a course in psychology. However, it does not take book-learning to become an expert in the workings of the inner world, we are each intimately associated with the quagmire of human imperfection. To put it succinctly, 'it takes one to know one', and therein lies the source of my knowledge.

Would you believe me if I told you that these neurotic conditions are simply flipsides of the same coin? That people careen between these two extremes, depending primarily upon how recently Life has reminded them of their lack of omnipotence? We all experience this in our personal 'good days and bad days', but some people (largely due to an undisciplined and pampered upbringing, featuring too much free time and not enough constructive outlets) specialize in being overdramatic. These can become cult leaders, in religions, academia, business and/or politics, if they prefer the 'White Light' angle (we used to call these Pharisees), or else they become exceedingly unhinged and violent, and take the Devil Wears Prada/Godfather path.

I point these extreme cases out because noone is immune to the pressures and conditions involved. They are not a special breed apart from the rest of us, they are merely less self-disciplined, more brazenly selfish. We must maintain a compassionate detachment when dealing with them, not getting sucked into the emotional whirlwind they carry about them, but also kindly challenging their mistaken notions. We are all a bit self-centered from time to time, those refusing to admit this fact are deluding themselves.  It can be difficult to relate to an undisciplined, totally self-absorbed person, as there are certainly many layers of deceit to cut through.  Some people believe that people like this have no souls, but the situation is actually sadder than that... they have sick souls. To put it into an analogy, we all get under the weather sometimes, but some people have chronic physical ailments, even to the point of fatality. Souls do not die, but they can become cancerous.  If we simply leave them to 'be themselves', we are being hard-hearted. Now I am not referring to those who have been abused by others, sometimes one must get some distance and heal before venturing back out into the darkness that is the modern world. Never go into battle unarmed or without armor. However, it is the responsibility of those of us with a working level of self-discipline to provide the friction these sicker souls require in order to outgrow their condition.

If one is unstable, emotionally and/or spiritually, then it is on you to begin developing self-discipline, to start on the path of slaying one's dragons. It will not be long before you realize that you will need help.  The belligerent person, who has spent a lifetime bullying and/or manipulating others, quickly discovers that when it comes to one's personal demons, we are all woefully inept.  My advice: find writings by saints, mystics and sacred texts, and start applying them to daily interactions and situations. Do not be discouraged, do not expect overnight success. God works thoroughly, but not on our personal timetable. Adjust your expectations.  Don't try to be a saint, try to be a kindly human being. Saints are those who have mastered kindness... be content to be an apprentice for a good long while. Take advice from others you know to be kinder than yourself, whether they meet your vision of the enlightened or not.

There is always Hope, even in the worst of cases. God has no limits to his Grace or Love. Do your best and never cease growing. We are all in this together, the saints are ever the first to remind us of that.

May God bless you and keep you, may His Grace ever shine upon you and give you Peace!