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The Perks and Pitfalls of Pride

When feeling pride there is a fine line between deserved recognition and arrogant vanity, and researchers have uncovered the origins of both good and bad types of pride.

The feeling of pride, as it turns out, is a universal feeling, as much so as fear, anger or happiness. It can manifest in one of two ways:
  • Authentic pride: Focused on accomplishment and confidence
  • Hubristic pride: Focused on arrogance and conceit
Whereas people who feel authentic pride tend to be agreeable and conscientious, those with hubristic pride are prone to narcissism and shame. Pride probably developed, the researchers posited, as a way to motivate people to act in altruistic was for the good of the tribe.

However, those who were unable to succeed and gain status in altruistic ways quickly learned how to trick others into respecting them even though it was not warranted, hence the beginning of hubristic pride.

The bottom line? If you get caught up in your pride, and want it just so that others will regard you with prestige, you are asking for trouble. One of the keys to leading a fulfilling life is to do whatever it is you love, in a way that will not harm anyone else, and then not worry about what others think of it.

Current Directions in Psychological Science June 2007, Volume 16 Issue 3 Page 147-150

Science Blog June 17, 2007