One of the expressions, I, often, use, as I go about my life, is:
“I am proud.”
“I am proud of you.” I say this to compliment a near and dear one… may be my friend, relative, student and so on. I say that to participate in his joy, to motivate him further.
“I am very proud of myself.” I say this, sometimes, to express my profound satisfaction on something worthwhile I have achieved, including my own behavior or action. When I have helped someone - if he feels happy because of my helping hand or kind words or my humane gesture, I feel immensely satisfied… and, that is the time, I find myself saying, “I feel proud of myself.”
And, every time the expression – “I am proud” – comes from out of my heart, I also find myself checking with my heart: “Have I said it out of arrogance? Is it my false pride?”
This self-examination, keeps me firmly grounded.
Yes, there is a very thin line between a healthy pride and an unhealthy pride.
When pride stems from my healthy self-esteem, it essentially indicates that I have faith in myself… That, I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses… That, I am aware of others’ strengths and weaknesses too… That, I must respect and accommodate others as much as I expect them to. True, a healthy self-esteem is the source of my healthy pride. It is good. It is a fundamental need for my well-being.
On the other hand, if my pride stems from my low self-esteem, my insecurities, my lack of faith in myself, my fears and anxieties – it only leads to pretense, an act. The pride is false… it comes from my inefficiencies and inadequacies… The hollow within. Such pride is bad. Self-destructive.
You must have heard the saying, “You cannot worship two Gods.” You must have also heard the saying, “There can not be two Kings in a jungle.”
To these, let me add this, too:
“You can not feel your kingship when you are filled with self-doubts.”
Once, the Lion, the King of the jungle, had made a pact with his subjects. If they sent, every day, one animal to him for his food, he would not disturb others.
So, the pact was signed. An animal-a-day kept the King at bay and jungle at peace.
One day, it was the turn of the rabbit. The little one was very scared and took a lot of time to move out of his house. But, he knew that there was no option… So, late, that afternoon, the rabbit reached his King’s doorstep.
“How dare you come so late?” thundered the Lion, “Don’t you know your king is hungry?”
“I do, my Lord, I do,” said the little rabbit with all his humility. But, being clever, he continued, “I am late because, another big Lion stopped me on my way and said that he was the real King.”
“What did you say?” roared the Lion, “Another King in this jungle?”
“Yes, my lord,” the clever one said, “he did claim that he was the real King of this jungle.”
“Take me there, right now,” blasted the King, “I will have him for my lunch instead of you.”
The smart rabbit took his King to a deep well. On reaching there, he pointed towards the water and said, “There he is.”
Mistaking his own shadow to be his enemy, the Lion gave out a deafening roar… “I am going to kill you!”
What he saw and heard, immediately, was his enemy roaring back to him, “I am going to kill you!”
The Lion couldn’t take this insult… His pride was wounded… So, without wasting a second more, he plunged into the deep well in order to destroy his enemy!
Like you, I, too, smile every time I re-visit our bed-time story.
We get drunk with our false pride…
Till a little rabbit comes to our doorsteps to tell us:
“My Lord, there is another King, out - there!”
Pics.: 1. Hariprasad
2. Anand Pais