Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Pride and Significance - You Really Do Matter


Have you ever felt insignificant or asked yourself, does anything I do really matter in relation to the world around me? I drive to work each day. I do my job. I try to make a difference. Am I doing the right thing? Do those around me appreciate me? Does anyone really care? In the scheme of time, space and living each day do I make a positive impact, and is it really meaningful in the long run? Depressing questions? You bet! This type of thought process and attitude is the antithesis of possessing pride. Yet, pride is a word that tends to be frowned upon. Why? The saying, “pride goes (or comes) before a fall” is a proverb that means if you are too conceited or self-important, something will happen to make you look foolish. Although at times this may indeed happen, pride is not something to shy away from. It is important to be proud of who you are and what you stand for and believe in.

When pride is genuine, selfless and honest the feeling and modest display of such pride is healthy, and important in validating for yourself that who you are and what you do is significant. Pride is defined as, “a feeling, or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated with, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired, the consciousness of one’s own dignity”. Dignity? Dignity is defined as, “the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect”. Who would not want to possess that state or quality? Personally, if I have achieved in an ethical and upstanding manner, and generate a degree of honor and respect within myself and from others, I would certainly be proud of that accomplishment. It does not mean you take an attitude of self-importance over humility, but if you are not proud in what you have achieved then why did you strive for anything to begin with? Pride becomes harmful when it transitions into the behaviors of conceit, vanity, arrogance and egotism.

Pride should also be modest not boastful. There is no doubt that actions speak louder than words, and it is recognizing and acting upon that thought that eliminates the potential to be boastful. However, it is also interesting to observe that the more insecure one is with themselves the more likely they are to accuse someone of being overly proud. When another succeeds it can be threatening to those who doubt their own abilities. It is your own recognition of how you display your pride that will determine how valid another's negative assessment of your behavior may be. When your pride is attached to humility and selflessness there is no need for concern about how others perceive it. It becomes more about them than their negative perception of you.

As I write this I am on a plane to L.A., and at this moment our cat Cleo of almost 21 years is being euthanized. She had been failing for days and we made the difficult decision this morning. I know my wife is with her holding, loving and comforting her as the injection takes effect. As I said my goodbyes this morning before I left for the airport, a characteristic that came to mind of my beloved feline was pride. She always displayed pride in herself, her family, her longevity and doing things her way. As she lay dying this morning, she was still purring as I stroked her head, as soft and furry as it had always been. I believe she was proud of the joy, love and memorable times she had provided to our family over all these years. Selfless pride is a characteristic of having done more for others than oneself. It is a characteristic of personal confidence that others admire and follow, for it is genuine, sincere and never boastful. Take a moment to appreciate yourself and what you have accomplished in your life. Be proud of the times where you made a positive difference in the life of another. As Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently stated, “To know just one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” You can take pride in that.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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