Embracing a Healthy Sense of Pride

Barbara A. Bernard

Barbara A. Bernard


Recently a friend of mine stepped out of her comfort zone to put her voice out into the world by publishing her writing. When she shared her news with me, it was a reciprocal celebration because I absolutely knew the project had been challenging for her. It represented a huge achievement which ultimately shifted her view of herself and added to her confidence


High FiveThat she was able to share her authentic voice with the world surprised and delighted her. There was nothing arrogant, egotistical, conceited or boastful in her news. Rather, she was soft and sweet as she told me about it, while “shout it from the rooftops” excited at the same time. She displayed a healthy sense of pride in telling me of her accomplishment, and I felt honored that she shared it with me. It was definitely a “high five” moment.

Cultures, gender, and generations all influence how we speak about ourselves and our accomplishments in public. Many of us have been taught not to publicly acknowledge our achievements. We were discouraged from standing out as special, elevating ourselves, or being seen as bragging.

By contrast, some people feel encouraged to regularly promote a version of themselves, taking endless selfies, or posting a newsreel version of their lives using social media. If the focus is all about “me,” when my self is defined by the possessions or designer brands I own, or by the important people I associate with, I’m really only highlighting what is external about me. I’m not sharing my authentic self.

Both of these ends of the continuum represent wonky versions of pride. Living in discovery  supports us in developing a balanced, healthy, inspired sense of pride in ourselves and our contributions to the world. What we seek is the enchantingly lovely sense of self and unfolding that comes from understanding who we are and appreciating our gifts and talents.

Celebrating ourselves and our becoming is a part of our evolution as human beings. Our tendency is to compare ourselves and our efforts to others. This level of comparison often gets in the way of trying something new and stepping outside our comfort zone. When we make the choice to prioritize self-knowledge, we learn to compare our efforts with our own prior attempts. We allow ourselves to recognize and honor our current growth and embrace our  learning.

With a healthy sense of pride, we can comfortably say:

  • I am important in the world.
  • Who I am and what I bring are necessary contributions to creating the whole.
  • I am a unique piece that completes the puzzle on this planet called Earth.
  • I have a responsibility to be my authentic self; no one else can be me.

This balanced sense of pride, long missing for many of us, allows us to experience the satisfaction, delight, and gratification that come with each step we take in our growth. We can confidently celebrate with people who are aware of the significance of these steps in our journey. Healthy pride comes when we recognize what we bring to the world and when we contribute with clarity, peace, and joy.