"One may be humble out of pride."
~ Michel de Montaigne
(1533 - 1592)
While often pride and vanity are used interchangeably and used in a negative tone or implication, there is a difference to be considered regarding pride and vanity.
While both have been blamed for many downfalls and failures, perhaps it is only when pride crosses over to vanity that such is true.
Pride has a good, solid, positive place in our lives, if we know it as such and use it as a guide and not a lever. Vanity, though, is much like pride run amok, and pride gone wrong or too far, in that vanity serves us as a gauge of belonging and/or superiority in our own minds.
- Pride has us double-check information, where vanity makes us feel as though we are always right.
- Pride has us review our look for being professional, where vanity tells us "Look at me!"
- Pride has us wanting to do good work, where vanity screams "My work is the best"
- Pride has us wanting to learn and engage to grow, where vanity leads us to thoughts of "I am the smartest in the room"
- Pride has us do for others (sure, perhaps to feel good, too), where vanity evokes thoughts of "I worked for this, so nobody else deserves it"
- Pride has us admit and own our errors, where vanity has us looking for someone or something to blame
So the next time you question motives, even your own, ask a simple question of is this pride or vanity? The distinction will assist you in knowing, and even appreciating, if the person, yes, even if it is you, is coming from a place that is powerfully empowered and fueled to do well (pride), or shallow and simple with the fuel to spread into a vastness of nothingness and the not-needed.
Pride can either keep us from being vain or spill over into vanity. The challenge for each of us is to recognize, appreciate and value pride's place, and strive to keep vanity at bay...with, through, and sometimes in spite of the perception of, pride!