Posted by: PD Warrior | September 26, 2007

Pride…

Once again, I am oh so very guilty… I have pride, and lots of it. I am proud of my wife. I am proud of my children. I am proud of my heritage, my job…I have even been known to be proud of myself from time to time.

Being proud of something, in and of itself, is not always something to be ashamed of. It all depends on what you are proud of, why you are proud of it, and more importantly what you do with that pride, that determines if it is good or bad.

Pride in oneself is necessary, it instills a sense of self worth, and confidence; two very necessary parts of the human psyche, without which depression and despair will rear their ugly heads.

Too much pride, however, is without a doubt, counter productive and potentially destructive. Street gangs area good, albeit extreme, example of destructive pride. Like almost every kind of organization, street gangs primarily rise out of necessity – the need for protection in a society, or locality where a group of people at some point find themselves victims with no apparent help from the outside. Eventually the need is so strong that vigilante gangs are formed. Their members need to have both physical strength and wisdom to be able to protect their turf, and they wear their colors with pride. The problems begin when the role of the gang is reversed from protector to attacker simply because pride has lead them astray.

Pride in individuals can be just as counterproductive as pride in gangs. Last year I had the honor of participating, along with my wife, in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk which took place in Central Park, NYC. I originally signed up for the event as a way to personally thumb my nose at the disease – “ha, ha, look at me, Parkinson’s, I won’t let you win.” The more I became involved, the more people told me how great it was that I was doing something like this, and the more inflated I became with pride until suddenly (ashamedly) my attitude shifted from one of “I won’t let you win,” to one of “look at me, see how great I am? I have PD and I am participating in this event…”

Luckily for me, the event was an eye-opener. Over 11,000 people showed up in Central Park that beautiful April morning 2007. A large portion of them had PD themselves. Countless numbers were affected by the disease far worse than myself, yet they showed up with just as much, if not more enthusiasm and determination as I did.

It seems that God had once again dropped the proverbial “brick” on my head. Oh, I participated with pride that day, but it was no longer pride in the pitiful effort put forth by myself. It was pride in having participated along side these wonderful people, a single drop of water in a vast sea of greatness. It was pride in having a family that is as supportive and understanding as mine. Most of all, it was pride in having my wife by my side, holding my hand, selflessly taking part in this journey with me.

Confronting life and all of its ups and downs is never easy. When confronted with PD, or MS, or any other life altering event, you need a strong sense of self worth and confidence to see you through. Put your best foot forward and hold your head high with every ounce of pride you have – you deserve it. Just don’t forget to take your blinders off so you can see the company you keep on either side.

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