pride in one’s abilities, status, possessions, etc.; self-esteem.
We often think of pride as being a bad thing. People can be vain and egotistical, but our self-pride is woven into out self-esteem, and is important to our mental health. We’ve talked about the value of self-esteem here many times before!
Too often, when we think of pride, we think of vanity and hubris.
The word pride comes from the Old English ‘prut’ and the Old French ‘prud’, coming from the Late Latin term ‘prodis’, which actually means useful. It’s compared to the Latin ‘prodesse‘, meaning ‘to be of use.’
Philosophers such as Aristotle believed pride and hubris to be very different things, and he wrote: “Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them more powerful, and it is not found without them. Therefore it is hard to be truly proud; for it is impossible without nobility and goodness of character.” He writes about hubris: “As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: naive men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.”
Pride is, of course, a balance. We don’t like it when people are overly proud of themselves, but neither should have no pride for yourself. Pride and respect and esteem all work together to give us a rounded, positive opinion of ourselves. An awareness of both our faults and virtues.
Self Pride and Self Esteem
I have a habit of comparing myself to other people and their accomplishments and wishing I could be more like them. It’s easy. When surrounded by so many successful people, to feel as if you don’t measure up, like you haven’t done anything to be proud of. It’s very easy to let all of your own accomplishments slide under the radar and get lost in the fog. It’s even more easy to brush them off. Sometimes, we lose our sense of self-pride. One of the opposites of pride, other than humility and all those things, is shame.
What happens then is we end up in something of a cycle. We think poorly of ourselves and start thinking negative thoughts about ourselves. But we’ve all done things we should be proud of. Even if it is just making a tough phone call or going to that job interview. Small things are, in themselves, accomplishments. It’s reminding ourselves of all the things we’ve done and should be proud of that can be a challenge.
I, for one, am terrible at this. I forget about these things or don’t think they’re actually any good. But recently, when I fall down that rabbit hole of self-doubt, I try to remember all the things I’ve done to be proud of.
Make a list
Sit yourself down and list everything you’ve done that makes you proud, however little and even if you’re the only one who knows about it. Things I’m proud of? I went to America for a summer and made my way home on my own. I get myself to and from London with relative ease. I’ve driven to Cornwall and Brighton when driving is not my favourite thing to do. I write articles for you lovely people. I taught my dog to high five.
Small things, large accomplishments or even just things about who you are. Are you smart, funny, kind, compassionate? Be proud of yourself for your taste in music, for your ability to quote poems or how everything in your garden grows beautifully. Do you make really good cake or brew excellent cups of tea? Are you the one people call with problems or do you give amazing hugs?
Write it down and keep it. Add to it. It’s not narcissism, it’s a reminder. You are allowed to feel proud, and so you should.
“A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” – Jane Austen
Being proud of yourself is less about singing all of your praises from the rooftops and thinking yourself king of the world, so much as it is about recognising your value and your growth. Everyday we change a little. We learn and evolve and the person we were tow years ago is not the person we are now. Three years ago, I never would upped and offed to America for the summer but last year I did. I would have had a panic attack and maybe thrown up at the thought of getting myself to an airport, on a plane and then several trains, but I did.
Be proud of you who are and what you bring to this world. Be proud of how you’ve grown and what you’ve accomplished.
“Laugh and dare to try to love somebody, starting with yourself. You must love yourself first, of course, and you must protect yourself so that nobody overrides you, overrules you, or steps on you. Just say, ‘Just a minute. I’m worth everything, dear.’” – Maya Angelou