These days, there seems to be a taboo around pride. It’s associated with boasting, egotism, selfishness. We tend to wait for others to say they’re proud of us rather than claiming it for ourselves to make sure we don’t look big-headed.
Originally, being proud meant someone was arrogant, haughty and had a high opinion of their own merits – a bit of a git, really. In recent years, it’s transformed to mean feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements or qualities, but some of the original connotations have remained even if they’re not spoken about. I think it’s time that changed.
I’m not saying we should all start parading around shouting about every good thing we ever do, but there shouldn’t be a stigma around congratulating ourselves if we do something we’re happy with. The fear around being self-congratulatory can leave us deflated and full of self-doubt, and can ultimately mean we’re never satisfied with anything we do, leaving us excessively stressed or burnt out.
Pride is more than simply being satisfied with a job, an achievement or a grade – it’s an all-encompassing contentment and true satisfaction which is attributed to yourself rather than external circumstances. To be proud of yourself, you need to recognise that good things have happened because of your effort and abilities, not just things ‘falling into place’ or being ‘dealt a good hand’.
That being said, you don’t need to be in a good situation to be proud of yourself; you can feel proud of undergoing a really crappy time and coming out the other side, or for making small progress in something you find immensely difficult. Pride isn’t only accessible to geniuses and superstars – we’re all allowed to feel proud of ourselves, no matter the circumstances or scale of our achievements.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m preaching the obvious here. I’ve realised over time that pride is a lot more complicated than it sounds by definition, especially in this digital age where we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others. Truly genuine pride can only be reached when we stop comparing ourselves to others’ experiences, and accept that our pace and type of achievements will be different from everyone else’s, and are no less valid because of it.
Whilst it is hugely fulfilling to hear that others are proud, especially those closest to us, there’s nothing more powerful than pride in ourselves. There’s nothing more satisfying than feeling happy with your own achievements, and nothing more inspiring than wanting to emulate them again for yourself, not anyone else.