Pride needs to be tempered with true strength unless it begins to think that it can run the show. Pride that is uncontrolled will give in to lapping up praise and seeking the path of glory. To this end it will do whatever it can to avoid looking at any truth that could be perceived as limiting or negative in any way.
While pride can encourage us to excel and reach our potential, it can also prevent us from looking at what it fears – namely, being wrong.
The deciding factor about whether we control pride or it control us is strength. Where pride will avoid looking at perceived weaknesses, emotional limitations and personal obstacles, real strength is honest. Real strength will not hold back from acknowledging weaknesses, limitations, mistakes, hypocrisy or flaws. Its goal is not the boosting or soothing of the ego. Its goal is truth and personal development. It is weakness that allows pride to pretend that there is nothing wrong and that we are in control. It is more interested in images and illusions. Strength on the other hand is interested in real control, not simply the illusions of it.
Real control comes from being honest and acknowledging both strengths and weaknesses. It is only through awareness of our weaknesses that we can improve them. Pride would seek to keep us ignorant of them to preserve an illusion of mastery.
As much as pride can encourage us to excel, it does so because of weakness. It acts to protect discovery of this weakness unconditionally. The result is that this weakness does not get a chance to become strong, rather it remains hidden.
Strength throws the doors open to weakness – this is what gives it the direct opportunity to become strong.
It is the prideful mind that has the ridiculous notion that as long as it does not admit weakness, that weakness does not exist. This is as crazy a notion as closing our eyes and striving to believe that the rest of the world has disappeared. Crazy or not, this is how pride works. Pride is like a two edged sword, the solution is to develop a mind that can wield it skillfully. This is the difference between letting pride run the show, or letting the cultivation of self-mastery run the show.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying pride at a job well done, or a journey accomplished. The problem arises when we become so attached to the feeling of pride that we cannot let go of it in order to accomplish more.
Achievement and growth always involves effort and struggle in some way. This is part and parcel of stretching and expansion. It does not need to be something that we have aversion to. In fact when it is understood that our purpose has real meaning, this too can be a source of pride.
Essentially achievement is about priorities, and the reality of priorities is about strength. Inner strength will not allow any aspect that would prioritize limited gratifications to control the show. Inner strength has the ability to see and it also has the ability to deliver results. Pride on the other hand works well as an engine. It can be a great motivator – its weakness is in its inability to see things straight and true. Delegation of skills is the key here. Use pride as an engine and let strength steer the way. Recognize that pride, like a stubborn bull may quite often want to go its way and let strength show it who is in control.