- Nancy Mendelson
The Good Side of Pride
“Guess what? I just fixed the washing machine… all by myself!” I shouted excitedly as I bounded up the stairs to tell my husband about my great accomplishment. If I sounded like a 3-year-old, it’s because I really felt like one, in the best possible way. Hell, I hadn’t experienced this level of pure unadulterated joy since I was a child. I was bursting with pride and couldn’t contain myself…so I didn’t! And let me tell you it was freakin’ exhilarating!
As the glow I was basking in began to fade, I thought about how, over the years, pride in oneself had somehow morphed into something negative…boastful, arrogant…but this wasn’t that! And I wondered how a feeling so pure, innocent and self-affirming could be considered one of the 7 deadly sins!
Psychologist Jessica Tracy, author of Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success, argues that “pride, like other human emotions, is part of our evolutionary heritage, helping us to survive and thrive in cooperative societies by inspiring us to be the best humans we can be.”
Whew…now we’re getting somewhere. And furthermore…“true pride is worlds apart from false or "hubristic" pride,” writes Leon F. Seltzer, PhD in his article for Psychology Today, 8 Crucial Differences Between Healthy and Unhealthy Pride “People with healthy pride genuinely feel good about themselves. And that explains why such pride is routinely associated with high (though not artificially high) self-esteem. Contrast this with the elevated self-regard of individuals with unhealthy pride, which finally is bogus in that it’s inflated and easily punctured by criticism—which, in turn, can lead to the powerfully overblown defense of anger or rage.”
Based on that description, we’re all too familiar with what unhealthy pride looks like! But I digress. If, like me, you struggle with giving yourself permission to feel genuine pride which, by the way, does little for your self-esteem, it’s time to reframe that nasty narrative, so start by checking out Susanna Newsonen’s piece for Psychology Today, 26 Reasons to Be Proud of Yourself. Or be resourceful and try something you never thought you could do, like fix your washing machine!