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Pride: The Bringer of Self-Esteem

In this series of blogs, we’re trying to re-brand the Seven Deadly Sins as The Super 7.

We continue our journey with Pride. Before we do, please take a moment to stop and think about your achievements and successes over the last 12 months.


The Fourth of The 7: Pride – the bringer of self-esteem

The trouble with consigning pride to the sin bin is that it takes with it so much more.

When people have no pride in themselves or in their work, they fail to achieve or deliver. Just as the lack of anger can be a sign that you don’t care enough, lacking in pride is a symptom of not caring.

And being proud of others is as important as being proud of yourself.

I grew up in a household where pride was considered the opposite of humility. It was associated with bragging, arrogance, and self-importance. The result was that no-one really celebrated any achievement, personal confidence levels were universally low, and the process of developing self-esteem became a life-long struggle for every member of the family.

I now coach people who are struggling with this legacy. They often excuse it as a peculiarly British thing: something to do with reserve. But I have found that it goes deeper than that.

If it was just reserve, then what we would see is that people are secretly very proud of

what they are and what they have achieved, but see it as impolite to ‘blow their own trumpet’. That’s bad enough because sometimes we hide our light under a bushel so successfully that it never breaks through even into the darkest night. We become invisible and so do our strengths.

What I find sadder is that people come to a state of actually believing they have nothing of value to share. They’ve contained it for so long that they lose sight of their own light. They don’t need a bushel: they’ve locked it all away deep inside themselves.

So when I’m coaching people who find themselves in this depressed state, I work with them to find the light switch and switch it back on. It’s not about being so full of your own importance that you feel the need to shout out your brilliance from the rooftops, but it is about reaching a point where you feel comfortable acknowledging your accomplishments.

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Surely it’s wrong to stop people acknowledging their successes and achievements and feeling that they have to keep them quiet. This state of affairs has only really succeeded in creating unsung heroes and squandered potential. 

People who take no pride in their work, output, products or services inevitably produce poor quality and quantity. People who take no pride in themselves, their appearance, their health or their colleagues, inevitably have poor and destructive relationships. It is a fairly depressive state.

I also work with businesses who have suffered from a failure to recognise the true accomplishments of their people. Once they realise that this lack of recognition is keenly felt and has a marked effect on morale and performance, they become more open to embracing recognition.

At both a personal and professional level, it seems that we’ve become so shy about giving positive feedback, and so embarrassed about receiving it (even though we might secretly want it) that we don’t give or get any at all. We work with companies to help them see feedback as a vital and liberating component of the way they manage their internal and external relationships. Once they commit to this they are able to thrive.

People do remarkable things. Let’s face it, people ARE remarkable. They should be proud of what they do, and they should be able to take full credit for what they do. Positive self-regard is a healthy state, not a sinful one, and companies that take steps to instill this in its entire staff are going to be far more successful than those that suppress it.

Don’t fear or apologise for Pride. It is a celebration of who and what you are.


Please comment if you think Pride should be rehabilitated as one of the Super 7.

And keep coming back to this site to read how it might be possible to welcome back wrath, greed, sloth, lust, envy, and gluttony.

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