Sunday, March 16, 2014

When Can You Be Proud of Yourself?

It's not easy to be proud of yourself. That's not because you haven't done or are aren't doing things that you're proud of---it's actually the opposite.

We live in a world where enough is never enough and this mindset is contagious on an individual level as well. Often, we don't let ourselves feel like anything's good enough. We commonly overlook what we're proud of in favor of holding a magnifying glass to our perceived faults, shortcomings, mistakes, and unreached ideals. Is this fair?

Denying ourselves pride for who we are and what we do can become a vicious cycle. Instead of facing a challenge, job, project, or other task with a sense of satisfaction, we can become addicted to criticizing ourselves for what we're doing wrong. We may actually invent or search for things that we're doing "wrong" in order to perpetuate this cycle.

Being proud of what you do can even bring up feelings of guilt or fear. It's okay for someone else to be proud of you, or for you to be proud of someone else. What's wrong, then, with feeling proud of yourself?

The truth is, there's nothing wrong with it and you deserve it. You can bring the satisfaction to your own life that comes from enjoying who you are and what you do. You don't have to wait for that feeling to come from the outside first in the form of praise, recognition, or a promotion.

You can breathe even more life into what you do by acknowledging what you've already done. The credit you give to yourself is not false or illegal, even though it can feel that way sometimes. It's natural to feel proud of yourself because you have real and first-hand experience of knowing yourself and your work.

There will never be a perfect point in time when it's finally okay for you to be proud of yourself. You can do it anytime you want to. Next time you do something you're excited about and then start to feel that queasy "No--I didn't do it right" feeling: Stop. Ask yourself honestly whether you're really doing everything wrong. Could it be that you're proud of yourself and withholding that feeling?

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