Nobody likes a show off. Pride is a double-edged sword. When you aren’t proud enough, you have trouble feeling successful. If you’re too proud, people mistake you for a narcissist. Are there ever times when pride is a good thing?
Today, we’ll take a look at the different types of pride and how it manifests itself. Pride is more than meets the eye, and you may discover some ways that pride is beneficial for us.
When pride goes wrong
Nothing in excess is ever a good thing–even a sense of pride. Pride is often negative because it puts emphasis on the ego and self at the expense of the group.
Too much praise can inflate a person’s ego and create a drive for external validation. If you rely solely on external praise for motivation, you’ll have a hard time with self-motivation. Enjoying undeserved praise can also get you into the bad habit of bragging to elicit praise.
People with too much pride develop a sense of superiority over others. When an individual is too proud, they may also be unwilling to ask for help, which can make their lives miserable. For these reasons, we generally don’t like to be around people who are too proud.
Pride doesn’t have to be all bad, though. It’s healthy to give and receive praise when it’s been earned. It’s important to offer appreciation when someone does something well, and it’s equally crucial to be appreciated. As long as people accept praise with a balance of pride and humility, there’s nothing wrong with being recognized for doing a good job.
5 reasons to enjoy the positive side of pride
1. You’ll hold high standards
Individuals who take pride in their work are more likely to have higher-quality outputs.
2. You can push back against negativity
When something doesn’t work out the way you want it to, you need some pride to keep going. Pride makes you resilient.
3. It’s a sign that you care
If you don’t take pride in what you’re doing, you probably don’t care about it.
4. Pride spurs leadership
When you really care about something, you’re willing to fight for it. If a project, organization, or place is in jeopardy, a proud person will become a leader to protect it.
5. Proud people look after their families
When you’re proud of your family, you go to bat for them. You try to give them the best things in life, and you won’t allow them to suffer in poor conditions.
How to use pride to your advantage
As long as you nurture the positive aspects of pride and keep your ego in check, pride can be a real asset. Remember, pride is about setting high standards, living up to them, and avoiding narcissism.
Hang with the right crowd
There are many ways to nurture pride and avoid selfishness. Surrounding yourself with the right kinds of people can go a long way to putting you on the right path. It’s been said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, after all.
The right kind of people are the ones who will provide support and encouragement, but they’ll be honest with you. People who dole out praise when it isn’t deserved can over-inflate your ego. If you spend time with individuals who offer appreciation when you’ve done something well, they can help you build up a healthy sense of self.
You can feel a sense of pride and still show humility. Just because you do something well, doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way to brag or seek praise. Be comfortable with knowing that you are doing your best work without having to have validation from outside sources.
Try new things
When you try something new, you give yourself permission to not be the best at something. Whether you’re setting out on a new creative endeavor or developing a fresh skill set, pick something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. This will remind you what it’s like to be a beginner, and when you do master that skill, you will feel the pride of having achieved something new.
Do what you love
People need more external validation when they are unsatisfied with their work. For example, if you despise your job, you might develop an inflated ego to protect yourself from negative feelings. Work doesn’t always have to be fun, but you should derive some satisfaction from it without having to brag and seek rewards all the time.
Take time for self-reflection
Stopping to think about who you are, what you value, and how you’re feeling about life should be ongoing practices. Build in some time to think about how you feel. Are you noticing tendencies that suggest that your level of pride has become selfish?
By monitoring your feelings, you can adjust before extreme pridefulness damages your life. Create a plan of action for when you feel that you have developed an unhealthy ego. If you have trouble recognizing these things in yourself, look to a trusted friend or loved one to steer you in the right direction. The people you have the closest relationships with will have no problem telling you if you’re full of yourself.
Do something outside of yourself
Use your skills to help others. This could mean taking a new co-worker under your wing or volunteering your time in the service of those who need it. Serving others keeps you grounded, and it gives your life meaning. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can make the world a better place in small ways.
It’s okay to feel accomplished
There’s nothing wrong with believing in your ability and feeling good when you’ve done something well. Even as you advance, remember to stay grounded.
No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.
People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.
But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.
If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.
Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.
Pain Is Our Guardian
Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.
In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.
Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.
While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.
Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.
No Pain, No Happiness
You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.
In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy
In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.
This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.
Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering
Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.
This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.
Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.
Allow Room for the Inevitable
Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.
Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,
“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”
Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.
The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?
While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).
Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse
Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.
To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.
You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!