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    Pride is a place where we hide

    I'm not talking about self esteem or self respect here. Not that kind of pride. I'm talking about pride as in,"Pride goeth before the fall," the way we get when someone hurts our feelings and we compensate by puffing ourselves up, by trying to make ourselves bigger and better than those who wounded us.

    That kind of pride, maybe we could call it "hurt pride," stems from a sense of inferiority or insecurity that gets activated by a real or imagined slight. We hide behind an overwrought sense of self importance and hide our sense of hurt and rejection by doing the same thing to others that others have done to us. Sort of a reverse golden rule: they rejected us so we are going to reject them. We distance ourselves and hide in our hurt.

    This tactic doesn't work. It isolates us, ratifies our sense of victimhood and having-been-wronged and amplifies the hurt. Too much of this and we become bitter and resentful, and hide our true sense of vulnerability and hurt behind a wall of anger and resentment, of cold superiority.

    There might be a sense of sour grapes, as in "I didn't want that anyway..." or betrayal, "I can't believe I'm being treated this way, like some inferior..." Anger, tears, why me all give way to "the hell with them." But it doesn't make us feel better, because it's still all about wanting their attention and regard.

    This kind of neurotic pride is often interleaved with a neurotic sense of self-loathing. One moment we feel righteously offended and victimized, the next we feel worthless and ashamed. Maladaptive emotions always seem bipolar: neurotic pride and neurotic shame go together like night and day. We swing back and forth between those two extremes.

    Pride is a place we hide our hurt and disappointment, a place where we practice coldness and indifference when we're really feeling sadness and confusion. Pride is a place where we lick our wounds and practice self-pity.

    Better to understand no one owes us anything. Our security, our sense of value, of worth, our enjoyment of life are not entitlements owed to us by life or by others. There is no commerce around our sense of worth and well-being; it is a gift we give ourselves, freely and out of a genuine sense of self regard, not something we must earn or something owed us, something bestowed only by the approval of others.

    Hurt pride, defensive pride, the demand that others give us the approval and affection we won't give ourselves, always and only makes things worse.

    In truth, no one owes us a damned thing. We're no better than anyone else, and no one is better than we are. That's always true. All the complaints or comparisons or resentment in the world won't make us feel better when someone disregards or hurts us. Complaining or feeling sorry for ourselves only makes things worse.

    The only solution to hurt or betrayal seems to be letting go of our demands of better treatment and our rebuilding our own sense of self-approbation, our own self-love, our own self-kindness and self-regard.

    Don't expect others to treat you better than you treat yourself. Tend to your own personal sense of self worth and you won't mind the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. You won't mind the disapproval or the disrespect or disregard. You'll become immune to it.

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