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The Virtue of Pride

One of the tenets of my religion is that pride is a positive virtue. Pride is knowing your place in the world. It is reaching to full height and claiming your space. Pride says to the cosmos, in a clear voice, “I exist. I have worth. I give back.”

I know many people with great worth, who give a lot back. Artists, musicians, seers, writers, healers, activists… I could name many ways in which my friends, students, acquaintances, and peers kick ass and change the world in large ways or small. But there is this thing many of them do that bugs me. I see it over and over again, and each time I see it, I flinch. This thing is a great undermining of the virtue of pride, it is an abdication of our awesomeness, a frittering away of our creative force, and frankly, a waste of everyone else’s time. It is encapsulated in this phrase: “Shameless Self-Promotion.”

If you were a person who stood in pride, who had no shame about being a keen coach, a savvy business woman, a fine musician, an insightful tarot reader, an artist who’s paintings soothe, a designer with fabulous clothes, or a writer who’s books inspire, you would not need to use this phrase: “Shameless Self-Promotion.”

For you see, that very phrase is a cue to me that you are ashamed to let me know what you have to offer. You are cutting criticism off at the pass. Maybe someone will say you are too big for your britches, or you are vain, or you’re not really all that good at what you do. You might get found out as a fraud, as unqualified to teach, or speak, or perform. The phrase “Shameless Self-Promotion” is an apology. It actually says, “I feel some shame and discomfort around making my sacred offering to the world.” 

Please stop this. Please. We want your sacred offerings. We need your sacred offerings. The more of us who can stand in pride, instead of this wallowing prevarication and denial of real gifts, the better. When you stand in pride and claim your place in the world, the rest of us see that we can do this, too. We also get a better view of who you really are and what you have to offer us. The music becomes sweeter, and the words or images strike home.

Stop undermining yourselves, my friends. In diminishing your own worth, you diminish the world. It’s also false humility. In my book, real humility has the same definition as real pride: “Knowing your place in the world.” Not too big. Not too small. Just who you are.

Say it now, out loud: “This is what I have to offer.” Say it with pride.

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