Quick! When was the last time you were proud of yourself or an accomplishment? Maybe you hit a milestone for your work, or you made a great decision in life or perhaps you made a delicious cookie.
Struggling to recall the last moment of pride?
You’re not alone.
Being proud is an intensely difficult thing. We’ve been taught so often to be humble and not brag – but is being proud of your work and yourself bragging? Most of the time, we look at the things we haven’t done and feel disappointed in ourselves instead of looking at the things we HAVE done with pride.
When you take time out to feel proud of yourself, you’re motivated to accomplish more goals – which in the end, only makes you feel prouder and more content. So how can we up our feelings of pride and contentment?
Set a goal
If you don’t know what success looks like, how will you ever achieve it? Take some time to set some tangible and specific goals. When you look at a goal you set, be sure that you have control over it. This might be: I want to read one book this week. This isn’t: I want to make $1,000 this month in side jobs. The first is fully in your control. The second is not.
Make a list
And check it twice. Kidding, but not – take some time to create a list of the things you have accomplished. If you get nervous talking about yourself or “bragging” be sure to focus on things that, again, are tangible. Something like “Reading 30 books in a year” is an accomplishment. “Doing a good job” isn’t very specific and might not be solid enough on days when “good” is hard to define. Allow yourself to feel good about the things you’ve accomplished.
A lot of the time, we can’t be proud of ourselves because we are too focused on the things that we can’t do or the areas we are “lacking” – this mentality only hinders our ability to be proud of ourselves! Take a moment each day and think about something you can be a bit more gentle on yourself with. For me, for the longest time, it was administrative tasks – I was not great at following up or responding to things I needed to do. I would spend so much time just degrading myself about those things and not nearly enough time being proud of things I was good at, like helping other people and empathy. The moral of the story? Being aware of areas of improvement is good – understanding that you also have incredible qualities is best.
It’s the process
You are trying. I repeat, you are trying – and it’s ok to be proud of the effort and the “trying” that you’re doing if you feel like you don’t have anything tangible to be proud of. Effort is not something everyone has the perseverance to execute on. Write down times that you’ve tried, even those times that you wanted to give up, but you didn’t give up. Take some time to bask in those moments and get excited about your drive.
Happy dance and throw a party
Celebrate wins. If you simply let everything keep happening to you and you brush off those moments that could be celebrated, you’ll continue the same behavior of not taking time out to be proud of yourself. Do something nice for yourself when you feel proud! Maybe that is a dance party, or a bouquet, or a great cookie. Take the time and celebrate, so being proud isn’t a strange, out of place moment, but a normal part of your life.