Reclaiming Pride

Many years ago on a counselling course, I remember the tutor saying that while it was a good thing to be proud of ourselves and our achievements, it wasn’t on to be proud of other people, for example our children.

Now, I have two observations on this: a) he wasn’t a father himself, and b) I think it would be hard to stop!

I am blessed with two brilliant and talented sons, who often play in public (one as a magician and street performer, one as a singer and musician).  So it’s not uncommon to  find myself in the front row, bursting with pride and graciously receiving compliments on their behalf from the audience.

Now, thinking about it, perhaps my old tutor had a point – after all, my boys’ accomplishments are sadly not due to any entertainer’s genes inherited from me, but rather down to personal motivation and long hours hidden away in their bedrooms honing their skills (at least, I think that’s what they were doing).

But what about all those other moments that mothers and fathers have, as children grow up?  When people notice their good manners, or kindness, or confidence – surely that’s something to do with the values that we as parents try to model and instil.  Can’t we take some credit for the rush of pride we feel on those occasions?

Perhaps the issue for us self-effacing Brits is the national unease we seem to have around being proud of ourselves, and that’s why it might be easier to direct that pride onto our kids.  We often confuse pride with boastfulness, and the messages from childhood frown on ‘blowing our own trumpet’ or warn that ‘tall poppies get cut down’.  The Duchess of Devonshire (one of the legendary Mitford family) recalled in her memoirs that their beloved Nanny would nip any signs of vanity in the bud by sharply rebuking the sisters with ‘nobody’s going to be looking at you’ – even on their wedding days!

On top of all these cultural warnings, we might have a vague memory that pride is one of the seven deadly sins . . . I’ve just googled it and was surprised to find that in medieval times it was considered to be the most serious one of all, being the sin of Lucifer, the rebellious angel  – hence ‘pride coming before a fall’.

I guess pride does have its negative side – being too proud to ask for help, or too proud to back down from an argument.   All the same I think it’s time to reclaim pride as an important part of self-esteem, and recognise that the ability to feel proud of our work, our achievements – and our selves – can have a positive effect on our wellbeing and motivation.  So why not lay aside false modesty and give yourself a pat on the back?  Even reaching a small goal could be worth celebrating – as a non-technical person I’m quite proud of getting to grips with widgets and plug-ins to create this blogsite!

Let’s hear it for positive pride – what are you most proud of? Leave a comment and share your achievements, big or small!

Poem of the week 

It’s good to leave each day behind,
like flowing water, free of sadness.
Yesterday is gone and its tale told.
Today new seeds are growing.

Rumi

5 thoughts on “Reclaiming Pride

  1. I really like this – not recognising acheivements is something I’m familiar with, coming from a Yorkshire methodist family! It’s also endemic in organisations where the focus is relentlessly on problem solving rather than recognising what’s done well. It’s one reason I like the solutions focused approach to coaching.

    • Thanks Sara – I couldn’t agree more, and think that simply shifting the focus from what’s going wrong to what’s going right can have a big impact, whether personally or professionally.

      Incidentally my home village’s most famous son was John Wesley so we had a lot of Methodist influences too!!

  2. …hence ‘pride coming before a fall’……The Good Book says: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”….(and a warm smug glow goeth before being told: Get out of my blog, pedant!)

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