Hate, anger, jealousy need to be expressed. They do not, however, command such respect. They definitely do not need to be heeded. They want justification to exist. Well they have it! What more could they possibly want, why are they so insatiable? What could satisfy them? I imagine, not much.
I wonder: What if the whole world felt my pain, your pain? Felt sorry? Would that placate hate and anger? What if half the world felt it? A quarter? A single country? Your community? My street? A neighbour? Simply just you? Just me? Where does it begin, where does it end?
What do hate and anger want? To hurt? To hurt others? Me? You? To dine at the table of vengeance? And then what? Reduce the target of their existence to a heap of guilt, of ridicule and tears. Vengeance smells sweet, looks pleasing, but how does it taste? Bitter? Take the pain and inflict it a hundred fold. Would that act, that behaviour, lead to anything good, respectable, positive, forward thinking, upward looking?
Oh, I believe the act itself could feel good, cathartic, for a fraction of a moment. The consequences, not as much. I do not want to be enslaved by these emotions. Quite frankly, they do not become me, and they are tedious companions, exhausting. The desires whispered in my ear by hate and anger, the goals they think they would achieve, would never come to pass. They appear only to want to salvage pride, the ego.
Egoistic pride isn’t worth the effort. Egoistic pride can be hurt. But there is a type of pride to nurture, a positive, illuminating, motivating pride. Beneficial pride is progressive, not regressive, a spring of confidence and optimism, not a blanket for insecurity and doubt.
Beneficial pride cannot be hurt, does not bend to the whims of negativity. Deep abiding pride heeds not insults, nor affronts. Positive pride belongs to a confident soul; it is the engine of the motivation to do well, to do good for oneself and one’s community.
Positive pride is a monument to just deeds and deserved recognition, a stopping point on one’s life path, a sign-post, forever accessible on one’s journey, pointing forward, ever forward.
Positive pride says ‘saddle up, there is the way, you’ve made it this far, there is your way…onward! Onward, life traveler.’
Is it not said that ‘pride commeth before the fall’? This is the pride protecting the ego, leading to hubris, to overconfidence. This is the pride that can be vengeful, because it can be hurt, can become resentful and hateful. The good pride of which I speak is related to the feeling one has of good deeds attempted and desirable outcomes achieved, of the fleeting yet reinforcing admiration of others, by doing and achieving deeds and outcomes deemed worthy by yourself and the community. It is not pride that inflates the ego, that feeds off selfishness, that feeds selfishness in turn; it is the pride that indicates, that signals, that one is on the right path, a good direction. It is a road-mark, a checkpoint, a milestone. Beneficial pride is but a shadow cast by good deeds, an after-glow, an impression of great things on one’s emotional fabric.
To have a sense of pride is not a bad thing. Positive pride cannot possibly be dirtied or defiled or hurt in any way. It is but a corollary of good actions attempted and good outcomes achieved. It does not hang around, seeking undue admiration. It is not a garb to be worn defensively by one’s ego. It is not even a thing, in and of itself, for it cannot exist without the actions and results in whose presence it is cast. Beneficial pride is utterly dependent. It has to be earned, continually, through deeds confidently taken, outcomes deliciously obtained.
Positive pride is a shadow, and a shadow cannot be harmed.
Hatred and anger need a foil for their existence, they need a target for their justification. They are vengeful, spiteful emotions that want to inflict pain. Hatred does not point anywhere positive. Anger is all consuming, fueled by the positive essence of one’s being. Anger will burn until that essence is all used up. The only benefit of these emotions is to draw attention to potential and actual threats to oneself and one’s community. Many things are not okay. There is much vice and immorality in the world- Hatred and anger can draw attention to morally suspect realities, can motivate the identification, combating, and remediation of bad things. If bad things go unchallenged, the world is worse off. Hatred and anger are two emotions that motivate the challenge of bad things.
But hatred, anger, jealousy, can so easily lead to ruin, for oneself and others. The outcomes they effect may very well be out of all proportion to their cause. And what kind of outcome should one wish to effect, if not a positive one? What kind of outcome, that cannot possibly be positive, is desirable at all? We are no longer members of wandering bands of proto-humans. Anger and hatred have little reason to exist today, as our survival no longer depends on them. But our egos do! Our egos, if weak, dine on hatred, drink of pain.
Am I hurting? Are you? Yes. We all are, or will be, or have been. Would reducing the source of your pain, the target of our hatred, to an emotional mess, disgracing it in the eyes of the community, serve any positive end? No.
It is extremely selfish to think my pain, the motivation behind any form of vengeance, is more valuable, more worthy, than the pain and suffering my vengeance would create. What actually would I be avenging? My sense of egoistic pride? But that is not worth fighting for.
A strong sense of ego cannot be dismantled nor destroyed by anything external. A strong ego is forward thinking, upward looking, impervious to wrongs committed, yet not naive. A strong ego knows life brings many challenges, but that striving for good for oneself and one’s community is the highest, the most noble path. Take pride in leaving sign-posts and monuments along your path, provided they teach valuable lessons, distill wisdom, and point forward, ever forward.