How to correctly view pride?


#1

I’ve already read through a few forums on here from the past relating to pride, and they were incredibly insightful, but I’m interested in an aspect of pride that I don’t think I saw anyone comment on and one I’ve really been struggling with.

What is the right balance between saying “I did this” (“this” being any sort of accomplishment or achievement) and saying “God did this”? Or how does this balance work in the context of pride?

As an example, I recently deleted some apps off my phone because I knew they were detrimental to my health, and I was really proud of myself for doing that. I’ve been trying to work on gratefulness and humility recently, so I tried to thank God by saying “God, YOU did this!” but something about it just simply didn’t feel right. I was the one that deleted the apps, not God–unless I wanted to call myself God, which obviously couldn’t be farther from the truth. But by lifting up this thing as God’s work and not mine, it simply seemed false. I was claiming something happened that didn’t really happen.

As a result, it felt like I was losing a part of myself, or a part of my accomplishment, since I tried to claim that it wasn’t something that I did. It felt entirely limiting. I know God isn’t limiting, he’s life-giving, but striving for gratefulness in this way felt incredibly limiting, and in a way that didn’t seem beneficial or truthful.

To clarify, deleting those apps wasn’t something that God told me to do either, at least in prayer. As in, it wasn’t some sort of direct revelation from God where He told me to delete those apps. So it feels like it was entirely my accomplishment. I just want to know how to view this with humility and gratefulness.

I know something menial like deleting a few apps doesn’t seem like a lot, but I think there are implications here for how to view pride and gratefulness on a more widespread level. What are your thoughts on this?


#2

“I did this with your help, God. To God be the glory for helping me accomplish this. Thanks and praise to God!
I can do nothing solely on my own, but with God, all things are possible.”

You and God are a team.


#3

Doing good makes you feel good. Makes you want to keep doing good. Pretty good system set up by God. A heartfelt ‘thank you Jesus’ every so often and at the end of the day a heartfelt Act of Thanksgiving to acknowledge the true source of good would be good.


#4

I don’t think what you’re describing is an inordinate sense of pride. You did something that you’re proud of. Good for you. It would be different if you somehow thought of yourself as better than others because of it

It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments. Otherwise Catholics couldn’t have graduation parties


#5

God’s purpose is actually to perfect us. A huge part of this includes our cooperation. We don’t lose our identity by believing in God, rather it becomes more focused and defined if anything, to be more of who he created each of us to be.

Anyway, part of that cooperation means that we’re to own our justice, our perfection, by participating in its growth. And this means that, yes, we feel right about doing the right thing, and should feel wrong for doing the wrong thing. But balance is always called for. If I dwell on my accomplishments to the point of feeling superior to everyone else, now I’m wallowing in a destructive place, and losing the beauty of my state of being at that point. In any case, feeling right and good about doing something right and good is a critical part of how we navigate towards true righteousness.


#6

Yes, you did it, and by the grace of God with which you decided to cooperate.

And if you won the world prize in whatever you do, it would still be because of the gifts God gave you, so God does have a hand in it, right?

What teaches me about pride is The Litany of Humility.


#7

Bishop Barron talks about the sin of Pride in this video. Hope this helps.

“Seven Deadly Sins; Seven Lively Virtues” with Fr. Robert Barron"


#9

Everyone’s comments have been incredible! Thank you so much! A few direct replies.

I like this a lot. Ugh I think sin’s favorite way to ruin my love for God is to convince me that God isn’t on my side for some reason.

I think right now I’m trying to figure out what a healthy, authentic form of gratitude would look like that would make sense especially to someone who isn’t Catholic/Christian. Bear with me on this, because this sounds kind of ridiculous, but I’m trying to imagine what a genuine form of gratitude would look like for someone accepting an award, say at an award’s show. Because sometimes you hear these people gives thanks to God, and it’s great, but I think sometimes they’re saying thank you to God for the actual award and not the abilities that got them there. Like God didn’t give you that award (at least I feel like that doesn’t make a lot of sense?). God doesn’t give “awards” in general :slight_smile: So I think the more authentic way to thank God would be with the intentionality of the latter suggestion, where people are thanking God for their abilities. Am I making sense here? Any thoughts?

Also, I recognize your username from other posts of mine, thanks for your insight Tis_Bearself!

Whoops, @Tis_Bearself, I typed out my reply to you and then re-read Annie’s comment. Looks like she kind of answered the question for me.

Sometimes when I try to thank of God I just feel so self-deprecating though. I feel like I’m losing a piece of myself. I think @fhansen 's comment helps describe what the remedy to this is, but I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

I’ve just reached a place before where I fell into such self-confidence that I completely shut God out of my life, and woof, that was an absolutely terrible period of my life. I truly saw the fruits of disordinate pride. So now it’s like I’m on hyper-alert for pride. I want to make sure I’m giving Him credit without falling into false humility.


#10

This video was amazing! Thanks for this!

I like this a whole lot. I think it makes a lot of sense. It reminds me so much of C.S. Lewis (I think he was the originator of this quote) when he says, “Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, it’s thinking of ourselves less.” I immediately lose sight of an ordered sense of humility when I (so often) slip into berating myself versus thinking more of God.


#11

Just so you know scrupulosity is also a type of pride


#12

He > I

He must increase, I must decrease.

Jesus first, others second, myself last (JOY=Jesus, Others, you)


#13

What I am learning now in my life is to acknowledge truth. Without acknowledging, for example, that really deep down I an seriously furious and vengeful, I cannot work on forgiveness, so covering up my fury to conform to my ideal of being a good Christian is actually holding me back.

In your first post, you said:

and that was incorrect. You gave too much credit to God. That is self-deprecating.

Sometimes, I want to keep all the credit for myself. That is prideful–the bad kind of pride. If I paint a great picture, I contribute study, perseverance, paint-shopping… but where did my good eye and steady hand come from? God.

So I need to look at the picture and be (good) proud of what I contributed, and grateful to God for the gifts He gave me (which include the grace to persevere, the chance to study, the money for paint… :wink: )

I think if you feel self-deprecating, you are going too far in one direction, but watch out for the other direction, because we rarely “feel” bad pride inside ourselves! So keep close to God, keep up the gratitude, and avoid falling into that odorless poisonous pride.

And watch out that negative feelings don’t indicate a pride you are hiding: explore it more deeply to see what you are really feeling or thinking, because it is only by getting to the root of it that you can impose the correct solution.


#14

Right exactly. And this is something I’ve struggled with way early on in my faith life. So now it’s just finding the right balance is all!


#15

This! I think you phrased it exactly how I’ve been trying to phrase it.

Correct me if I misspeak here, but I think there is worth to be found in taking pride in our accomplishments, as long as we understand that there is absolutely no worth to be found in finding our identity in our accomplishments. Because as soon as we do, we’re limited by what we DO instead of who we ARE, which is sons and daughters of God. Thoughts?


#16

I think this is a separate topic from the OP’s, but in thinking it over, I thought firs our work is our identity and it isn’t. I has to think through why it was and why it wasn’t to see that how we do things is part of our identity and what we do is only part of our superficial identity.

So you can have the owner of a business, a parent, and someone who flips burgers, and they are each doing different things, but those things are not who they are.

However, how they do those things is part of who they are, especially when the goes become habits.

Each can strove to do their best at their work, each can be patient with those around them, and each can be generous with their resources. They develop the habits of diligence, patience, and/or generosity, even tho they are doing different things. The virtues they grow in are much more important to who they are than the jobs they hold.


#17

I think of it like this: I can only stand up if there is gravity. Without gravity, I would just float away. Without food, I could not eat. Without water, I could not drink. Without seeds the farmer could not plant. In your case, without the phone you could not delete the apps in the phone. There are so many things that we could not do if we lack what we need to do the things we do. And those I attribute to God: He gives us the opportunity and the capability and the means and so many other things, we just do.


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