noble pride?

ive been thinking about this for a while.
i see many other christians define pride as “the will to be better”. but this has to be wrong, i always thought that pride was when you unjustly think you are better. but what if you actually are better? or what if you are capable of being intelligent like aristotle or an athlete like asafa powell. if you are capable of achieving intelligence and physical strength, is it wrong to pursue it?
see im a perfectionist so i have ambitions like this.
my question is what does the catholic doctrine say about humility? the last time i discussed this with my fathe he agreed with me that this is an example noble pride.
is humility living in complete self abasement?

Humility is neither self-aggrandizement nor self-loathing. It is an honest acceptance of your value.

There is nothing wrong with having talent, and there is nothing wrong with being better at them compared to others. The problem is when you think that being better at something means you are somehow overall better than another.

Since you are seeking perfection, I’ll mention that pride is a great deal more, and much more subtle, than many make it out to be. Pride can make you want to be noticed, which sounds innocent enough but can have subtle effects.

One really interesting treatment of “pride” is in the beginning of the Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross. It’s complex and wonderful, this “pride” thing.


As I understand it today, humility is the conscious awareness that all that we are, all that we have, and all that we say, or do that is of any eternal good are gifts from God, and we are thankful to God knowing this to be true.

With that in mind, noble pride would be as St.Paul said, 'let him who glories, glory in the Lord.’ (1 Corinth. 1:31)

God’s peace


thanks alan! ill admit o used to be vain. i used to treat my body and mind as an idol, but i DONT anymore. i realise that things like intellignece and beauty are generally menaingless in the grand scheme of things. but is it wrong to just want to be more intelligent and beautiful and simply rejoice in the fact? for example, im pretty good at a sport (lets say basketball) is it as sin just to rejoice in the fact that you are more skilled at baskeball than the other peopel? is it a sin to enjoy when your teamates or coach praises your abilities? just wondering.

What people often confused as “good pride” such as “I’m proud of my child” is actually Joy. However it is the nature of vices to disguise themselves as virtues or forms of virtues.

Setting aside beauty - something of little intrinsic value…There is nothing wrong with wanting to develop the gifts that God has given you when you do it for the Glory of His Kingdom.

for example, im pretty good at a sport (lets say basketball) is it as sin just to rejoice in the fact that you are more skilled at basketball than the other people?

It is not a sin to rejoice in and develop the gift God gave you - where that rejoicing is in the fact that you are able to help others…When it becomes a “I’m better than you” attitude that becomes problematic.

is it a sin to enjoy when your teamates or coach praises your abilities? just wondering.

No it is not because what they are praising is your ability to contribute to the team. They are not praising you because you ARE the team - if you get my meaning.

Each member of a team does their best. This is as it should be. Each member of the team contributes and even if that contribution is small - it is no less important and even vital to the overall success of the team.
Using your example of Basketball…the next time you find yourself feeling self satisfied with how good you are…try visualizing what it would be like to play the game by your (great) self against a full squad of opponents in your schools’ same league.
How well do you think you would do??

So - when others praise you, you really should be surprised because all you are doing is “your best” which is what everyone is doing…And since you are all doing your best…that makes you all equal and all vital to the success of the whole…

Just something to consider…


The path to humility is understanding that nothing you have is of your own doing, but has been given to you by God.


No, not at all. In fact, I believe that if God gives us talents we have some responsibility to develop them and offer them to Him for use according to His will. :slight_smile:

For example, I used to win all sorts of academic awards, especially for math. Grab 100 people off the street and I’m confident I would be able to beat most of them in an algebra exam contest. That’s not pride; that’s information. If I thought I had done it myself, that would be pride. I am thankful to God and my parents (no thanks to some of my teachers but yes thanks to Sister Geraldine) and all sorts of things that allowed me to make these achievements. When I’m feeling I’m not up to a task, I remember what it feels like to be good at something.

Same thing for sports. I think if God gave you the talent, it’s a Good Thing to get good at using it. After all if anybody is going to be good, why not you? But know that the success, our talent, and our lives, are gifts from God. And I think it’s also key that our peace does not depend on those successes. So cheer when we win, and maybe meditate, process, redirect, try again, or whatever when we lose. It’s human drama and it’s why we exist – so God can experience Himself in His creation through his creatures, including us in His image.

OK, threw in a lot of metaphors, but I was in a hurry… usually I edit for brevity but gotta go now.


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