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What's the difference between self respect and pride?

Full question:

What's the difference between self respect and pride? If a woman tolerates oppression from her husband, does that show a lack of self-respect? And, since Krishna says the "self " is the atma, the spirit soul, does that change our definition of "self respect"?

Our reply:

The first question must be, "What is the self?" As you say, in the Bhagavad-gita, the self is defined as the atma, the spiritual being who inhabits the body. This body is the medium through which the soul functions, and specifically serves Krishna.

There are many ways the embodied soul must show tolerance in service to Krishna that would be classified as self-respect; for example, demanding no reward, serving selflessly, and accepting difficulty on behalf of serving the Lord. On the other hand, the embodied soul has a natural inclination for maintaining the body in a safe and healthy position. Hopefully, this is motivated by a desire to serve Krishna and guru, but even without such a service mentality the natural tendency of the embodied soul is to survive. When threatened, it is the natural inclination of the embodied soul to protect itself.

Often, those who tolerate oppression do so because they're more afraid of being abandoned, or afraid they won't be able to maintain themselves, or afraid they won't be able to escape the oppressor, or that more harm will come from trying to stop the oppression. In such cases, the person tolerates abuse; however, that tolerance is also self-respect manifesting as a desire to survive. This is not "pride."

Pride is when a person thinks, acts and is motivated by a desire to gratify their senses—just to enjoy—even at the expense of others. The spiritual and material motivations for things are not always black and white. Even within the material sphere, there are grey areas. Some have gross sense desire; they're anxious to be on top, or to be "best." Others, although materially motivated, just want to survive—perhaps to help others survive as well—and live peacefully within the material world; but they don't know how. As far as transcendentalists are concerned, some just want to serve Krishna, and some want to serve Krishna but also want Krishna to serve them by giving them material happiness, etc. So there are shades of grey on both sides of the spectrum.

Ultimately, the closer one is to just wanting to please Krishna, the less self-motivated one is, and the more real self-respect one has. The more one is motivated by material enjoyment, and thinks that enjoyment will come through the body, from material arrangements, the more prideful they are.

I hope this is helpful
Sincerely
Laxmimoni dasi