As many of us probably did, I grew up being taught that pride is sinful. In fact, I was even taught that having any positive self-esteem at all was sinful, but I suspect that’s a bit more extreme that what most people were raised with.
Still, for many of us (particularly those of us who are female), showing any kind of pride in ourselves feels uncomfortable. There’s always the worry that we will seem arrogant or boastful. At least that’s my experience.
For me, even publicly acknowledging that I am good at something makes me feel horribly ashamed, which makes that whole positive self-esteem thing rather challenging (to say the least). I spend a lot of time trying to hide the parts of myself that would stand out in any way. It’s never successful, of course, but I still keep trying to be as bland as it is possible for me to be to better fade into the woodwork.
After all, I’m much less likely to be criticized if no one even knows I’m there, right? And invisibility is a way to make sure I never do anything that would even remotely look like pride!
So when a friend on Facebook linked to Danielle LaPorte’s recent post called The Positivity of Pride, I had to go take a look. What could possibly be positive about pride? This post is only three paragraphs long (just six sentences), but it really made me think. And think hard. (Take a moment to go read it, if you haven’t already seen it. It’ll only take a minute to read the whole thing.)
What if true pride is really about being so comfortable in my own skin that I never again feel the need to apologize for who I am? I can’t even begin to imagine how much energy it would free up for me to let go of trying to squelch and apologize for my “controversial hallmark characteristics.”
What if healthy pride in who I am is what is needed to learn to love myself? Could I finally stop trying to please everyone around me and just be me? Just the thought of that sounds freeing!
What if authentic pride in myself is what is preventing me from being able to find my edge where I am called to minister to the world around me (“controversial hallmark characteristics” and all)? What if those quirks that I’m trying so hard to suppress are the missing pieces to the puzzle of figuring out the work that I need to do? What if I need embrace those things and let them stay instead of trying to “fix” them?
What if being ashamed of myself is the real sin?
There’s really no “what if” about it, is there?
I still have no idea how to get from where I am to the place of being proud of myself (in a healthy way), of being able to embrace all of my quirks (even those controversial ones), of allowing myself to shine even when people don’t like it or feel threatened by it. But I am convinced that this is the next step on the journey, and I suspect I am going to stay stuck right where I am until I figure out how to start shifting this.
I have decided to instate a new practice as my first step toward this. Starting today, when I do my gratitude journaling before bed, I will add one thing from the day for which I am proud of myself. It doesn’t have to huge, but it has to be something that I am genuinely proud of. I’m hoping that this new practice will help me start to notice things that I can be proud of a little more often.
What about you? What are you proud of about yourself?
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.