Defining Proud and Pride with Empathy

Today it’s dangerously polarized in the United States.  Truth is, it’s always been that way, but we’ve been unconscious of how deep the divisions are.  Perhaps we’ve been in denial.  There’s certainly a lot of that going around.

What is Pride?

Pride is defined as “a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.” (  Also, a person can feel pride in accomplishments of their children for example.  And gay people talk about gay pride, which is a bit different definition of pride.

According to Wikipedia: Gay pride or LGBT pride is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as a social group. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements.

Pride is opposed to shame and social stigma, which gay people have to confront.  A way to counter those things is to generate feelings of pride, dignity, and equality, affirming the self, and promoting yourself as a social group.

Proud Boys

On my mind this evening are “Proud Boys”, the group of shameful and violent racists, who have killed a woman tonight in their attempted coup for Donald Trump.  Why might they need to affirm their Pride?  in being Boys?

Proud Boys in this instance seem to be the very bullies that promote shame and stigma in others, so that they can feel superior.  They also like activities that generate that feeling of being cherished by some father figure, Donald and his talk show minions, who keeps telling them “We love you”. “We appreciate you”, and manage to give each listener a sense that they’re privileged and special, holders of the “truth”.

Like Aladdin in the musical, they seek nothing more than making their mom and dad proud of their boy.  Perhaps the Proud Boys now are lacking in mom’s and dad’s who give them that validation.  Perhaps they are sorely in need of validation because their inner truth is: they feel like excrement.  They crave a sense of belonging, and a sense of pride, because they don’t have normal self-respect.

A Woman’s “Role” Reversal

The woman’s movement has liberated many women from the ego worship that men used to require.  It’s made them seek full partnership in the family, and it’s made men perhaps feel less superior, maybe even inferior to women sometimes.  Now, to be sure, the woman’s movement has also liberated men from the role of being the “head” of the family, from having to play a “masculine” role that wasn’t authentic.  But there is a backlash, and I believe that’s another origin of “Proud Boys”.

Suicide Rates

When someone commits suicide it’s because of profound lack of pride.  They experience deep emotional pain, hopelessness, and shame, very often.  The statistics on suicide also tell a story:

  • In 2018, men died by suicide 3.56x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 132 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2018.

Men are experiencing a crisis, and it’s not all PTSD.


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