Overcoming Unhealthy Pride: Strategies for Transforming a Harmful Emotion into a Positive Force
“He that is proud eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle.” - William Shakespeare
David Hawkins, a late American psychiatrist, spiritual teacher and author of many books on consciousness and spirituality, talked a lot about this pride. In his famous “map of consciousness,” an ascending logarithmic scale that measures a variety of emotions and states of being that goes from 0 to 1000, Hawkins calibrated pride from 175 to 199 (where 200 represents a threshold between “negative” and “positive” states), right above fear, anger and guilt, but below courage, acceptance, and love. He used to say that pride is based on vanity and moralistic indignation.
However, many people view pride as a positive emotion. We often see it as a potent force that may lead us toward great triumphs and accomplishments in life. In reality, it is a complex emotion that has both beneficial and harmful aspects. We will refer to these aspects as healthy, authentic pride, and unhealthy, hubristic pride.
Two Aspects of Pride
Healthy pride is a feeling of satisfaction and confidence in our abilities and achievements. It motivates us to pursue our goals and improve ourselves. Healthy pride is a source of joy, strength, and resilience. It enables us to celebrate our accomplishments without arrogance or envy. It empowers us to grow without fear or shame, limits or constraints.
It is a complex emotion that has both beneficial and harmful aspects.
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