Pride and prejudice

Pride and prejudice

No, this is not about Jane Austen’s book 😊 Rather, I wanted to discuss about the role of pride in shaping our behaviours, and also how prejudice can make us wrongly judge a person.

I would say I have a fair amount of pride. Not vain pride, but more of things I am fairly proud of about myself. Such as how I make an effort to not abuse my body, or how I maintain certain professional standards about my work and ethics.

Many people around me too, are pretty prideful in the sense that they had achieved things considered valuable by society, such as job titles, or coveted material possessions, good looks, etc. Especially in this competitive Asian society we were brought up in, there are lines between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’, the ‘desirables’ and ‘not-so-desired’. We don’t really talk about it much, but the distinctions are there.

Being prideful is not necessarily a bad thing, since it spurs us to greater achievements to live up to that reputation or persona we have built up.

In life, however, things has a tendency to change and evolve. What goes up today may not stay there, and what falls to rock bottom can also rise again.

If pride and attachment to who we think we are holds us back from doing certain things that we may need to because circumstances have changed, isn’t that not ideal? However, it is so difficult to change our own opinion of ourselves. We also worry a lot about what others may think or say about us.

This leads us to carry a lot of burden around unconsciously, rather than just doing things we want to. Like it or not, I am also guilty of that.

While carrying a lot of pride, people are also fairly quick to judge others with their own prejudiced opinions. Maybe because there is a lot of cognitive overload in today’s modern and fast-faced lifestyle, so it is a shorthand way for us to make decisions about others we meet on the fly.

However, as I have learnt with people, it can be more complex than that. If we allow our prejudices to make snap judgements on our behalf regularly, it is easy to end up evaluating people with a superficial lens based on their appearances, behaviors or reputation.

While you may think it is not big loss, it is also an invisible sword that hurts the people it affects. Like what they said on a TV commercial advocating society to accept ex-offenders, there is a second prison which separates people who fall outside the standards of what society deems as acceptable.  

We are humans, and we all make mistakes. In some cases, people who made mistakes may already realise it is impossible to rectify mistakes completely. But for them, life goes on too. If they show remorse and are eager to make a new start, there should be opportunities for them to do so. There is no need to continuously make someone suffer for something they have already paid a price to learn the lesson.

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