Humility and Pride
They are polar opposites. They cannot co-exist at the same time, yet most of us have given ourselves to both. Let's start with the obvious one, pride. Some may have acheived something great, and are proud of their accomplishment. Another may be proud of their children, or their nationality, or their heritage. Should we not be proud of some things? If you feel you have a right to feel proud about something, there is a good chance that feeling is coming from ego. A sense of joy and satisfaction about something is very different and likely coming from your authentic self, a higher place within. But they are easy to confuse. One puffs us up, while the other encourages gratitude, yet they look alike. If we don't want to feed our ego, we must be careful, but that's the easy one!
Pride can disguise itself as humility and this one is harder to find. True humility doesn't need to be seen, recognized, or awknowledged in any way. It is basically an absense of any need to be right, or kind, or giving, or any other quality. Some may feel proud about how humble they can be, but this is not humility at all. Some are proud to give to others, proud to be a volunteer or do some good in the world, or proud to donate to worthy causes. Giving, volunteering and doing good all seem to be humbling experiences, yet they may be pursued out of pride. We must always ask ourselves why. Why do I want to offer help to this person or give my time to that cause? Chances are it is a mixture of some generosity and kindness and a little pride. So what's the harm in feeling a little proud of what I've done? Don't I have the right to it? Didn't I earn it by doing a kind act? All three of these questions were asked by ego, because they all demand recognition and therefore were motivated by pride.
The difference would be to feel happy that I could help someone, happy for THEM, happy that a kindness was given, not that WE gave it. Happy to have been used as a way to bring about something positive in someone's life, but more happy that the positive thing happened. The ego is not evil, it is our personality and learned behavior. But when we feed it too much, it can derail our intentions for a positive and fulfilling life. All we need to do is keep an eye out for it, and our ego's power will be kept in check.