Pride, virtue or sin in love?

In love relationships, you show the most vulnerable side of you – most loving, sensitive, gentle, and passionate than you could ever imagine you could be. The same vulnerability can intensify the pride in you. The problem is that excessive pride can be reflected into negative behaviours. Therefore, if you want to have a happy relationship, you can choose to use the positive side of pride.

Pride is a human emotion with many definitions based on how proud people behave. When pride is “the feeling that you respect yourself and you deserve to be respected by other people” or “a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good or difficult“, the consequences are positive. You are confident, hard-working and an example for others.

Maybe this is the type of pride that ancient Greeks had in mind when they classified pride as “the crown of virtues“. A proud man was worthy of great things.

At the same time, pride can be “a feeling that you are more important or better than other people“, in which case it is associated with conceit, vanity and disdain. This type of pride is considered in Christianity, “the deadliest of the Seven deadly sins!“.

I believe it’s good to have pride – provided you are able to moderate it and use it for the purpose of your personal growth. Pride in moderation can make you feel good about who you are, fuel your self-esteem and confidence. It can motivate you to achieve and to create while maintaining your sense of modesty. The mix of pride and modesty results in accomplishments reached because you want to live a meaningful life, and not because you want to show off.

For the sake of the happiness in love relationship, it’s important to be aware of your pride – when to unleash it and when to muffle it. Most of the times, putting each other down and replying to insults with other insults is a short-term solution, spun in the heat of the debate. But, in the long run, the love can disappear.

I’ve experienced such romances where I forgave harsh words, I gave yet another chance until the drop of pride left in me shouted, “Move on with your life!”. I’ve been saved by the feeling, “Because you’re worth it!”, just like they say in the L’Oreal ads.

The time came for good romance as well when patience was needed to let the relationship breathe. Yet, my pride shattered the joy of feeling pure love. My pride compelled me to push the relationship where I thought I wanted it to be. This of course caused a lot of conflicts.

After sleepless nights, heartaches and red, puffy eyes in the mornings, it dawned on me that it would be a big loss to reject the love just because I had a schedule in mind.

With patience from the loved one, I’ve understood that humility is a more desirable virtue, which can help to discover the true nature of the partner. Humility makes you have one wish only – to be with your sweetheart whenever, wherever. Then love unfolds naturally.

I feel that the type of pride that would benefit in love relationships, it’s that one that manifests itself under the form of acts of love, such as saying wholeheartedly, “I am sorry!” or “You are right!”.

In a healthy love relationship, the pride can become a feel-good emotion about having a loved one in your life who helps you grow as a person!


I Dream of Seeing More Compassion

What Do Religions Teach us?

Compassion, the feeling of concern for other person’s wellbeing, is one the main teachings of buddhism. In his book, Becoming Enlightened, His Holiness Dalai Lama talks about engendering great compassion on way to enlightenment. He describes seven steps to committing yourself to help others, which revolve around the idea of teaching your mind to find everyone dear and cultivate love for human beings, such as the poor and vulnerable.

Christianity talks also about the compassion in the parable of the good Samaritan, told by Jesus in the New Testament. The Samaritan helps a traveller which had been beaten and left almost dead on the side of the road, whereas the priest who had first passed by avoided the injured man.

My Experiences

My mother has always told me to help people who are in need. She repeated this message so many times throughout my childhood that it became one of my fundamental believes.

At my grandfather’s funeral, a friend of his told me a story about grandfather. One night, the two of them were walking home. They met a stranger who was going to walk all the way to the next village. It was a cold night and grandfather offered his jacket to the stranger. He was quite close to his home and the stranger needed the jacket more than he did. I was very close to my late grandfather but he had never mentioned this story to me. I would have never known it if it hadn’t been for his friend.

Ever since I’ve been a mother, I became more aware about how people behave towards my baby and I. For example, for one year, I have been walking around pushing the pram and carrying the baby bag in my back. When entering the stores, I keep the door open with one hand and with the other hand, I hold onto the pram. People come in and out as if I were hired to be the doorwoman or as if I were invisible. Rarely, someone notices me and keeps the door open so that I can enter as well.

Other times, it happens that I have to stand in line for buying a train ticket, for example. With a 11kg baby in the arms, fighting to escape, I decide to go in front and ask for permission to buy the ticket. Most of the times, people look at me as if I were a strange creature, talking a language they don’t understand. Their facial expression says, “Why don’t you stand in line like the rest of us?”. There is usually one person in the line who shouts, “Let her pass, she has a baby, can’t you see?”

What Do Scientists Tell Us?

I’ve been wondering why do I see so few reflections of compassion in my every day life? Do people feel compassion at all? Or is compassion but a virtue set as an example – never to be attained by humans – in spiritual and religious books? Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher, thought of compassion as a “soft-heartedness and should not occur at all among human beings.” (

However, recent studies done by psychologists and neuroscientists show that Kant was not right in his judgement. Both the body and the brain seem to be wired so that we respond to other people suffering. Yet, feeling compassion is different from acting as a result of feeling.

Social researcher David DeSteno did an experiment which showed that people have the tendency to help others if they perceive some commonality with the person they decide to help ( He concludes that compassion can be cultivated by changing the way we perceive the people around us: in terms of similarities. DeSteno’s finding confirms the first step to practising compassion recommended by Buddhist teachings:

“I have difficulty seeing any person in the long past who has not been your father, mother, uncle, aunt, sister, master, abbot, guru or guiding figure.” (Dalai Lama, Becoming Enlightened, pp. 166)

My Conclusion

In conclusion, compassion lives in all of us. It is a matter of being aware that it is in us, and to be willing to practice it and cultivate it. Next time when I keep the door open so that people can come in and out of the store, I will be saying out loud, “You’re welcome!”