To have a realistic sense of self and a healthy character, dignity and humility must be combined in your person. This can seem daunting because we often see pride people as being a bit conceited, feeling better than others, and we tend to see humble people as placing themselves equal or below others on the ladder of life.
The key to unifying these principles is to realise that we are all in this together and we are all in this alone. When you stop seeing it as a ladder of competition but instead see that each person is on his or her own road, you can accept that to raise yourself up, there is no need to kick another down. You are at this point of your road in this moment. If you see another do better than you, you are where you are. If you see another do worse than you, you are still where you are.
Now while every person has a road of his own, we do travel together because we interact. If I am better at something than my friend, for example I can make better cookies, I can help her out and reflect on the time I spent learning to bake. It gives me a feeling of pride, not because I am better, but because I am reminded of what I have overcome in myself. It also feels good to offer something of value to another. When my friend is better at something than me, for example painting, I can ask for her help and let her feel pride and generosity as I learn from her. I then realise how much I have yet to learn and can set new goals for myself.
So, sometimes we are in the role of the teacher, sometimes in the role of the student. Both help us grow. We all come from different starting points and walk different roads to different destinations. It would be silly to think that a person’s role at one moment says anything about his value as a person. Looking at the road behind me gives me perspective, but my perspective would not be complete without looking at the road ahead of me. It is only when we can do both, when we are proud, yet humble, that we can see ourselves for who we are.