Growing up how many times did you hear stuff like, “Who do you think you are?” or “Pride is a sin. Be humble.” It could have been well intentioned people, like our parents, who thought they were giving us good advice or it could have come from people who for whatever reason wanted us to keep our light under a rock.
There’s such a thing as the kind of pride that goes before a fall. I get that. Another word for that kind of pride is hubris; the excessive, empty pride that maybe a some people on Wall Street had way back in 2008.
Pride can also be a good thing. It can nurture our self worth. Too often we don’t allow ourselves to bask in that warm glow of prideful accomplishment when we’ve done something well. Those old voices keep us from being completely OK with it.
If you are feeling low, try this simple exercise. Close your eyes and think of things you’ve done in the past that made you even the tiniest bit proud. It could be something like learning to ride a bike for the first time or singing in the church choir. It may be “bigger” like closing a lucrative deal at work or climbing a mountain. If we allow it, the feeling of pride is the same no matter what value others may choose to put on it, like big or small. For once, size is not important.
My mother-in-law was the first in her family to earn a high school diploma. Her pride in that accomplishment is just as great, just as genuine, as mine in earning my PhD.
Getting back to the exercise. Stay with the sense of accomplishment that’s in your memory. Breathe it in and let it rejuvenate your spirit in the present. No matter what is going on, you did that one thing, whatever it was. Be proud because no one can take that away from you.
Photo courtesy of Marktrash