The dictionary says that pride is a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements. Humility on the other hand, is defined as the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance. A friend asked a question on Facebook saying, “Why do so many people discard humble and egoless people?”

If something triggers me to the point that I have to spend some time analyzing what comes up for me, I will generally write a piece to clarify it for myself in my own mind and perhaps someone else will find value in my analysis as well.

I’m not going to discuss anything about the ego or egolessness in this article, other than a brief mention, because that surely warrants whole article just by itself.

What I do want to look at is when is one man’s pride another man’s arrogance. And when is one man’s humility another man’s victimhood?

It is absolutely essential to know that humility and pride is just another yin yang – the one is because the other is. Let’s look at an example: I am very proud that I have written a book and at the same time, I am humbled that people will take their precious time to read it. From my perspective both of those emotions or experiences are valid, and both are worthy. 

Shortly after my first book was published, I proudly announced it on Facebook. A comment that I received was, “Don’t think you’re God because you’ve published one book.” In this specific instance the person who made the comment could be considered humble but in my estimation, was rather lacking in self-esteem and therefore, when somebody lacks self-esteem, they could project their insecurity on those who are proud, and may interpret pride as arrogance, which in this instance, was simply not true. Projection of our own insecurities onto a specific situation, is often cause of discomfort for us. 

Humility on the other hand, in its positive, is quite an admirable quality. Yet, may be interpreted by some as a lack of self-esteem or someone who could be a victim of the situation or circumstance. It all therefore depends on the individual who’s actually feeling either humble or proud. What happens, is when our need for validation is external of ourselves, others may interpret our humility or pride based on their value system, self-esteem, morals and ethics. In that moment, depending on the consciousness of the person doing the evaluation, our pride or humility may be interpreted as either arrogant or being a victim. 

If our self-esteem is intact, we will not need external validation about either our pride or our humility and therefore the opinions of others will not affect us. Therefore, if we are in fact affected by the judgment or projection of others, it is indeed our ego that is offended. The whole self, or rather the self that is whole, will not be adversely affected by people interpreting either our pride, or our humility, as anything other than what it actually is for ourselves. 

Therefore, humility is not a state of egolessness, it is a state of consciousness, in that moment.

If humility and pride are two sides of the same coin, when one feels either, it is still a state of the ego. To judge it as anything other than that, is certainly egoic in any event.

When we begin to realise that ego plays a part in being human and that ego is that part of us that will love or fear, judge or approve, be kind or unkind. be humble or proud, then we will begin to understand the function of ego is to bring us to the point where we can choose again to be in the positive aspect of our ego, or not. 

You see, for me, ego is an intrinsic part of my humanity. I am aware that many spiritual teachers tell us to annihilate the ego, but it is my very ego that wants me to be a better human being today than I was yesterday. My spiritual self has no desire for anything to be more or less, higher or lower, hotter or colder, kinder or aggressive. My spiritual self simply is. In that respect, it is the ego that requires that the ego is lost.

It is our own consciousness that makes us feel humble or proud and there is a very fine line between humility and victimhood, or pride and arrogance. We should careful that we don’t project our opinion about what is pride and what is arrogance onto a situation that we don’t fully understand. Remember, one man’s pride is another man’s arrogance, and one man’s humility is another man’s victimhood. It simply all depends on the situation and the conscienceless of the individual.