I didn’t grow up learning what the word “prideful” met, but I sure heard it a lot in Ocala. People didn’t want to be prideful. It was a bad thing. It was also a thing that nobody in the know wanted to define for me, and you can’t just go to dictionary.com and get the big picture of this concept.
Dictionary.com defines prideful as: “a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether ascherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.”
How you come about seeming prideful, though, is another thing.
You can be seen as prideful by stating that you have extensive experience or knowledge of a subject. You can be prideful by thinking well of yourself, even when everyone else in town doesn’t like you. You can be prideful by having a successful career or business.
Monitoring one’s pridefulness seems contrary to the natural tendency of some to achieve their personal best. I wonder what Jesus would think about that.
My boyfriend, who grew up in the deep south and is now in recovery out West, explained some of this to me. According to him, it’s a fine line to walk. On the one hand, Southerners think that you are being punished by God if you don’t have enough money; but if you have more than enough and enjoy your life, you are prideful, and God will probably punish you for that too. If something bad happens to a person who is seen as prideful, well, they had it coming.
When I received high marks in elementary school for taking pride in my work, I was, well, proud. I thought it was a good thing. I thought that maintaining a clean home and vehicle and self was normal, but maybe some think I’m showing off. I don’t know. It does shed some light on why I didn’t fit in there in Ocala, and I’ve got to say, I’m still perplexed by what prideful means. And completely amazed that people go around using it as a measuring stick to judge others. Doesn’t the bible say, “Judge not, lest ye be judged?”