By Jimmy Warden
Have you ever accomplished something, but didn’t feel proud of yourself? You know, something that you put time and effort into. Perhaps, it’s even a goal you set. Despite this positive occurrence, you didn’t feel any positive emotion, and you’re not sure why. This is something that a lot of people have challenges with for a plethora of reasons, but let’s go through five, and then discuss why it’s okay to be proud of yourself.
1.) Comparing yourself to others
One of the reasons you don’t have the positive emotion you were anticipating is that you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people. You find people in your personal life that you know, or on social media, to compare lives with. Are they in better shape? Are they better looking? Are they smarter? These types of questions force you to figure out where you stand in the world and if you have value in it. This way of determining your self-worth is the opposite of self-help. It is self-sabotage. Instead, we should be comparing our current self to our past self. This is mark of true, individual growth. Not how you stack up against the elite. There’s a reason that a small percentage of people in the world are elite in anything. That’s what the word means. So if you’re always comparing ourselves to the elite, you’ll always fall short, until you become elite. But on the plus side, it could give you something to strive for.
2.) You don’t feel like you earned it.
Another reason you might find it hard to be proud of yourself after an accomplishment is that you don’t feel like you earned it. You didn’t work as hard as you could have, yet you still achieved. Maybe your talent has allowed you to be on cruise control, and you’ve never genuinely tried to fire on all cylinders of your life. Maybe you’ve never really stretched yourself to the fullest of your abilities. Maybe you feel guilty because other people need to work harder than you just to maintain the status quo. Despite the depressive nature of this idea, the good news about it is, there are places that your life has yet to take you, and those could be some of the most groundbreaking moments of your life.
3.) You don’t know how to accept praise
A third reason is that you’re not sure what to do. This sounds trivial, but hear me out. When people accomplish something and don’t really seem to have a reaction or demonstrate any positive emotion, there’s a high chance that they were not praised by others after accomplishing goals or taught how to react when accomplishing a goal.
This is a concept that starts when you’re very young and it is molded by those that are the ones praising you. Is the praise genuine? Did the praise make you feel special? Did it build your self-esteem? Did you receive praise frequently? If the answer to any of these questions is no, I can almost guarantee that you might have a hard time accepting praise. This is why it is so essential for parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and all other types of people who have an influence on young people to be authentic with their praise and be frequent with it.
4.) Humble pie
A fourth reason is you’re being overly humble. You don’t want to come across as arrogant or narcissistic, so you instead you try to fade into the background. Some of the ways you might do this is to attribute your success to someone else, say that it was a “team effort” when you shouldered the load, or brush it off as something that wasn’t too hard when it was.
5.) You’re an imposter!
A fifth reason. You have imposter syndrome and refuse to accept your high-level abilities. People with sharp skills do not always give themselves the credit they deserve because they’re letting perfect be the enemy of good or great. Because things aren’t perfect, the imposter is always scrutinizing themselves as a reminder that they’re still not good enough.
Why it’s okay to be proud of yourself
There are many reasons that it’s okay to be proud of yourself, but I’m going to stick with a few key ideas.
Number one, if you’re more proud of yourself, you improve a few facets of your life. These facets are your self-esteem, your frequency of positive emotion, and your ability to accomplish personal goals. Confidence is needed in order to complete goals and the completion of goals is needed to build confidence, so it is no wonder they go hand in hand. Goals are also married to positive emotion because in order to experience a positive emotion like joy, some type of goal needs to be completed.
Number two, these facets of your life are essential for living a good life. If you want to live a life that’s worth living, you have to nourish our self-esteem (in a healthy way), our emotions, and goal achievement. Nourishing your self-esteem is not stroking your ego, but rather taking pride in your goal achievement. It is the opposite of imposter syndrome because you accept your abilities, the effort it took to achieve your goals, and as a result, experience some joy for your accomplishments.
Number three, in order to live a good life, you have to love the life you live. If you don’t love yourself, you won’t be able to love others. If you can’t appropriately manage your emotions, you won’t be able to experience much positive emotion. If you don’t have and complete goals, you won’t have anything to be proud of. This life of scarcity is one that eventually becomes empty.
Now, I hope you do go out and start to take some more pride in yourself. I know that this is something that I’ve had a challenge with for a long time, and still have a challenge with to this day. But just know that the more pride you can have in you, the more enjoyable life will be.