Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.-Jane Austen
Pride gets a bad rap. We’re taught that it comes before a fall. We’re taught that if we think highly of ourselves, we run the risk of appearing arrogant, selfish, and immature. Some even encourage self-deprecation as a sign of humility. And I used to take those thoughts very, very seriously.
Recently, however, I’ve realized that pride is not necessarily a bad word. If I set a goal and work through the sometimes tedious steps to get there, I have every right to feel proud of myself for doing so. For example, I’m proud of myself for not only starting this blog but writing posts frequently. Why should I deflect from my personal sense of triumph?
The issue isn’t with pride itself: It’s with how you express it. Taking pride in yourself does not mean exalting yourself above others, waiting for others to recognize you, or rambling on about how awesome you are all the time. It’s not about being full of yourself at others’ expense. Feeling personal pride does not make you a better person, nor does it exempt you from life’s difficulties, but it does help you take reasonable credit for the hard work you’ve done. There’s nothing wrong with saying:
“I did a pretty good job.”
“I’m proud of myself for ___.”
“I worked really hard on ____ and I deserve to congratulate myself.”
Taking pride in yourself and feeling proud of what you’ve accomplished is healthy. When you recognize and congratulate yourself for accomplishing personal goals, you strengthen your sense of self-efficacy, the belief in your own competence. Rethink the ancient aphorisms and old wives’ sayings you’ve heard about pride and give yourself credit where it’s due to you. You deserve it!