The word proud means so many things to so many people. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, proud is defined as feeling or showing pride; much pleased; having or showing excessive self-esteem. Pride is defined as the quality or state of being proud; inordinate self-esteem; a reasonable or justifiable self-respect.
I feel a bit of whiplash from reading both of those definitions. One says there is excessive self-esteem, while the other says there is reasonable self-respect. So…you can have pride in yourself but you cannot show too much self-esteem? What defines too much? Who defines too much? What and/or who defines what is reasonable?
I could look up the definition of reasonable, but it wouldn’t have a quantifiable number or level to tell us how much pride we can have or how proud we can be. It wouldn’t tell us what is reasonable to expect to see out of others, either.
Most of us grow up with our own expectation of what it means to have pride and be proud. Of ourselves. Of others. Of anything. We also grow up with an expectation of how much we want to hear others tell us how proud of us they are. Or that once so-and-so says they are proud, then success has been accomplished.
That last one, that is me. That has been me for as long as I can remember. It isn’t until recently as I’ve put in some serious work, that I am learning to be okay with being proud of myself.
One of the only benchmarks I can remember ever being told someone expected from me, is my mom saying as long as I graduate high school before getting pregnant she will be happy. That’s it. BUT, I put so many other expectations on other people telling me that they are proud of me. I wanted to hear from my aunts and uncles, my cousins, and most importantly, my grandmother, that they are proud of me. And over the recent years, I have heard it from an aunt, uncles, and cousins. I’ve heard it from my husband. From some friends. But, I haven’t heard it from my grandmother.
I didn’t ever care if my parents were proud of me. I wanted to be better than them. I wanted to do more than just graduate high school before getting pregnant.
But my grandmother. She is the one person that I kept trying to make proud. And then I got married. I’ve been trying to make my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law proud of me. Somehow I connected them being proud of me to them accepting me into the family. Like I would finally be one of them.
I negated ALL of the people who were proud of me for a few. I negated ever being proud of myself for a few.
But that is not how it works. We can’t expect others to be proud of us if we can’t even be proud of ourselves. We have to figure out what it means to be proud of ourselves. I need to be proud of myself.
AND, you don’t have to wait for ANYTHING to be proud of yourself. Be proud right this minute. You might be thinking, I have nothing to be proud of. Oh but you do. Darling, you got up this morning. You are moving through yet another day, even if barely.
Just as with gratitude, if you just stop and think for a minute, you have something to be proud of.
Here are a few things that I am proud of right now, as I write this: I am writing this post instead of scrolling the feed, I accomplished everything on my work to-do list for the day, I am another day into being me for me, I am taking care of my body and it’s needs today rather than pushing because I feel like I’m just being lazy, I am proud that I am here on this earth getting to enjoy this rainy day and talk to you.
Be proud of yourself. Nobody, I mean NOBODY can be proud for you.