Why do we feel proud of ourselves? I understand that being proud of ones accomplishments is what makes us human. Pride is what makes us want to succeed and is the driving force behind motivation. But i am talking about another type of pride here. The type of pride we feel for things we have no control over. Lately in the news I have seen many examples of pride in places that I don’t believe pride should exist. We have gay pride which according to most gay people, their sexuality is not a choice. We have feminists who are proud of being female. African Americans gather and rally to support the “Black Lives Matter” movement. These are only a handful of examples of people being proud over aspects of their life that they have no control over.
Is it okay to feel proud of these aspects of life that are out of our control? If it is okay, why do I feel guilty If I say I am proud to be a white man in the United States. I would be seen as a racist by other cultures if I decided to go to a white pride parade and start a rally for “White Lives Matter.” If others can be proud about who they are, I should be able to display my pride as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I Understand many other races and cultures suffer worse issues than I have ever faced. Being a white male in the United States is definitely a privilege that other people may not have. That is not the point I am trying to make. I am simply posing the question, “Why do we feel pride about things beyond our control?” It doesn’t make much sense to be proud of something you didn’t do. I wasn’t proud when Michael Phelps won his twenty-something gold medal. Sure, I was happy for him and envious of his achievement but I was never proud of him because this achievement wasn’t my own. I had no control over it.
Whats the difference of being proud of Michael Phelps and an Chinese person being proud to be Chinese. In both instances, the person had no control over that aspect so we feel the need to show it off?
The pride we see in the news that I was talking about earlier (Gay pride or the feminist movement) causes a lot of tension and anger between parties. This anger isn’t healthy and causes problems that aren’t easily fixed. Pride should only be displayed in aspects of our life where we have earned it like getting an A on a test or winning a prize for your achievements. As a society, we have to be careful about when and where is an appropriate time to be proud because our actions can affect other people.
It all boils down to choices, if we choose to be proud where we shouldn’t, everyone is left worse-for-the-wear. If we choose to be proud where it is earned, than we can learn to grown and be proud of others where it is earned. Pride, when exercised appropriately can be great thing. It can show people what is right and what is worth being proud of. Pride used in excess or in the wrong place has the opposite affects and leads to resentment or anger.
So in short, be careful of your pride and always be mindful of how your actions could affect other people.