The Vetitude

Passion. Leadership. Empathy.

Pride: The Seven Deadly Sins Series

Which of the seven deadly sins is your downfall?

Envy?  Sloth?  Greed? If you walked into a confessional today, to which of the capital vices would you confess? If you’re a man, chances are good that you would be saying your Hail Mary’s to atone for Lust. If you’re a woman, however, Pride, is likely to top your list of transgressions. At least that’s what a Catholic survey from 2009 found.


And, if you ask the religious scholars, they’ll tell you that Pride is the mother of all sins. “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride.” C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity.  Pride is the sin that leads to every other sin.

That’s right—the “worst” sin is the woman’s sin.

(Lust, by the way, is at the top of Dante’s Mountain of Purgatory; the least of the seven deadly sins.)

So, are we, of the female persuasion, more proud then men?  Is it our vanity that corrupts our souls?  Too much makeup?  Too selfie obsessed?


It’s certainly not because we’re out there with over inflated egos asking our bosses or potential bosses for more than we’re worth. Most woman feel guilty just negotiating  for what they ARE worth; and society makes sure to put us in our place when we do.

And it’s not because we think we got to where we are because of our innate awesomeness.  In fact, we spend an awful lot of time thinking that we’re not good enough and that we’re just fooling people into thinking we belong amongst our successful colleagues.

Now, I’m not saying that that men are arrogant assess or that women are all humble and self-sacrificing.  There are plenty of men out there that struggle with confidence and fail to see how awesome they are.  And there are plenty of women who have put aside the guilt and shame associated with acting like the boss ladies they are.


But the question remains…

Why do women, as a group, feel more guilty than men about taking a little pride in themselves? Why do we tend to have such a hard time accepting compliments, basking in our successes and acknowledging our kick-assery?

Because women have been taught by society that we’re not supposed to put ourselves first!  Feeling proud feels wrong to us because we’re supposed to sit quietly in the background and be the strong woman behind a successful man. We’re supposed to be the doting mother to our children.  We’re just here to lift other people up. Wanting success of our own is selfish.


Now, gender differences aside, I get why Pride is so frowned upon.

It can drive us to some pretty crappy behavior.  Pride is what makes us stick a patient for blood four times and refuse to hand the needle off to someone else who might have better luck.  Pride is what makes us go on the defensive when a client complains instead of stopping to ask if there is an opportunity for us to improve our care.  Pride is what leads us to judge someone when they can’t bear to stay in the room as we euthanize their dog, or they waited three days to bring in their cat who’s been vomiting because they hoped it was just a stomach bug that would pass.

But Pride doesn’t just have to be about thinking we’re better than somebody else.  It doesn’t have to be about judgement or lack of humility.   We can own our accomplishments and admit to and work on our weaknesses.

We can accept that fact that we’re smarter, or faster, or a better surgeon than someone else without thinking we’re a better person then they are. And we can accept our worthiness of success while acknowledging the roll that luck, and privilege, and other people played in helping us get there.

In fact, when you accept that you’re awesome at something and take pride in it, you can pass that skill on to the world.  You can use it to make a difference.  And you can mentor someone who can make a difference in the world too.  The people I most admire have stood tall and proud and taught me that it’s okay to do the same.


(Listen to NPH people)

So dare to be proud.

Because if you don’t toot your own horn, who will? And really, what fun is a hornless world?



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