We’ve all heard the old saying: ‘Pride comes before a fall’.

I think it means that an overwhelming belief in your own ability or worth, to the detriment of other thoughts, leads to doing stupid things that cause problems.

Bit obvious?

Then why not ‘conceit comes before a fall’?

Why ‘pride’?

I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about what ‘pride’ is.

The two meanings that I think apply to ‘pride’ are:

1 – a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements.

2 – consciousness of one’s own dignity.

The term ‘pride’ is so misused that we have come to accept the corruptions in meaning as being valid.

Changing language is great, as long as we all know what is meant, the words themselves are only part of the picture.

But I think we need to be careful about how we use ‘pride’.

When we use it to denote our connection to things we have had no hand in achieving, then it becomes a way to falsely boost our egos in connection with something, a way to express our apparently strongly held belief in our connection to something we want to show we hold dear.

And that can lead us to behaviour in defence of something.

When we say we are proud of something that is merely a connection by chance, or a connection we like to make as it makes us seem better by association, then we are misusing the word.

This is not a ‘language-police’ post, just a reminder that words can stir powerful emotions and extreme actions and we should be careful about how we use and corrupt them.