Have you ever had that sense of accomplishment that you felt like you deserved an award or, at least, a pat on the back? Invigorating, isn’t it? Being proud of yourself can give meaning to what you do and how you live your life, which is why it’s so important to celebrate yourself whenever you’ve achieved something, no matter how big or small it is.
However, pride in oneself doesn’t always come naturally. It can be a struggle, especially if we have low self-esteem or we’re constantly comparing our progress to other people. But, we must not forget that noticing the tiny steps that we take can actually make our hardships worthwhile.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the significance of being proud of ourselves and how to do it in five simple but purposeful ways!
This article is part of a much bigger guide on learning how to become happy that I’m sure is the biggest freely available guide on the internet right now. This article contains some great tips, but you’ll find a lot more actionable tips in the section Happiness Tips!
Why we can’t take pride in ourselves
Did you ever feel like your accomplishments don’t really matter so you’d rather just keep them to yourself? Sometimes, you don’t even consider your “accomplishments” as big successes, so why celebrate them at all? If you can relate to this, well, you and I are of the same species.
Personally, I’m not one to brag on the internet for all the world to see. But, as I got older and have gotten a closer look at myself, I’ve realized that it’s not just my meekness that keeps me from celebrating my achievements. More often, it’s about discounting my accomplishments and feeling like my experiences aren’t significant as opposed to others or on a bigger scale.
If you’re having a hard time being proud of yourself, perhaps, these scripts that I used to subscribe to may also sound familiar to you:
- No one cares about what goes on in my life.
- Other people are more successful than I am.
- This is not the best that I can do.
- I’m still not where I want to be, so there’s nothing to be proud of.
If you recognize this kind of thinking whenever you are trying to reach a goal or have already reached it, then it’s a sign that you should start shifting your mindset to a more positive one.
Pride as a positive emotion
When we think of “pride,” it’s not always without a negative connotation. We may be reminded of being arrogant, boastful, or conceited. In a certain context, pride manifests when we feel superior to others and refuse to accept, forgive, or level with them.
But, when we’re talking about pride as a positive emotion, it becomes a source of confidence, self-respect, fulfillment, and motivation. According to the Handbook of Emotions, pride is a positive feeling that follows after personal achievement. We may also have the urge to celebrate the achievement and share the news with others and feel even more motivated to improve on our future endeavors.
If we look at the brighter side of pride, it’s actually rewarding and nourishing; it’s the kind of feeling that we should fill ourselves with more!
Being proud of yourself is not selfish
Taking pride in oneself does not necessarily equate to being egoistic. It doesn’t mean that we are looking down on others in order to feel like we’re on the top of the world.
Studies on the implications of pride
A study published in Cognition and Emotion explored how psychology students experience emotions such as pride, joy, and envy. When it comes to pride and joy, most students have reported that they feel a sense of self-inflation.
However, this self-inflation does not mean that they devalue others by experiencing such emotions. On the other hand, it’s the ones who are envious who feel that there’s a distance between them and others and that others are less worthy than them.
Being proud of ourselves is also more associated with our accomplishments that involve doing something good for others. Another study found that parents take more pride in themselves when they are able to care for their children or contribute at work than when they achieve something for themselves.
So, if you’ve been suppressing that bubbling pride in you just because you don’t want to come off as boastful or inconsiderate, now, you can finally let it out, knowing that this emotion is actually coming from a good place!
How to be proud of yourself
Now that we’ve learned that being proud of ourselves does more good than harm, it’s time to start practicing it in our daily lives. Whether you’ve achieved something big or small, whether someone is watching or not, you should give yourselves those pats in the back!
Here are five steps to feel better about taking pride in yourself:
1. Feed your passion
Generally, it’s easier to feel proud of something that you love. You feel a richer sense of fulfillment when your accomplishment aligns with your passion.
In my case, I feel prouder about the things that I achieve when they’re related to my career or geared towards becoming the person who I want to be.
If something sparks a flame within you, follow and cultivate it because these things will give you the reasons to feel even better about what you are capable to achieve.
2. Give your best effort
Imagine spending a whole day on a project, giving all your focus and energy to it, and finally finishing it exactly the way you’re supposed to. When you’ve given your best effort on something, it feels even more exhilarating once you’ve reached the finish line.
There are times when I would feel burnt out or exhausted working on something, but, at the end of the day, just knowing that I have put my 100% in it (regardless of the output) already makes me proud of what I’ve done.
3. Acknowledge every win
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned about accomplishments is that success can come from even the littlest of things. Whether it’s being able to get up in the morning or being resilient about something small, no progress is too small to notice.
Just because we have not arrived at our supposed destination yet, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be proud of how far we’ve already gone. Just because we haven’t reached our fullest potential doesn’t mean that we can’t acknowledge how much we’ve already improved.
During my daily morning meetings at work, my team always mentions one win from yesterday and we all celebrate it together – whether it’s tackling a daunting task or simply being able to wake up to an 8 AM alarm.
In my experience, the more wins we count, the more we enrich our soul!
4. Celebrate, but don’t gloat
There’s nothing quite like that feeling of invincibility, and sharing our wins with others is a significant part of this experience. It can make our achievement even more meaningful. However, don’t let yourself indulge too much to the point that your “celebration” comes off as being inconsiderate to others or devaluing them.
For example, if you’re boasting your success just to make someone else at work look bad, then that’s not the way to go. If your friend just lost her job, it’s probably not the best time to ask her to go out for drinks to celebrate your promotion.
Make sure that there is still a level of humility and authenticity when you’re sharing your wins with others.
5. Be proud of others, too
It’s always a great feeling when you find joy in celebrating other people’s accomplishments, too. It’s a way of taking a different perspective and removing yourself from the egoistic side of pride.
When we’re proud of others, we extend that energy which encourages everyone involved to honor those bits of success that some might be too insecure to share. Think of it as spreading the good vibes around!
This is how positive feelings such as happiness can actually become contagious and spread to others!
Being proud of yourself isn’t about bragging or being arrogant. When you look at in a self-enriching way, it’s actually a great tool to up our confidence and be more grateful of how far we’ve come. Just do what you love, celebrate the little wins, and make sure that you’re not stepping on other people’s toes. Cheers to you, amazing human!
What did I miss? Is there a tip that you would personally like to share? Or something that you’re proud of that you want to share with the rest? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Writer and counseling psychology student. Firm believer of validating one’s feelings, prioritizing the inner-self, and finding happiness in a plate of chicken curry.