The Importance of Feeling Proud of Yourself

Feeling proud of yourself is an important element of good mental and emotional health. Today, we'll talk about why that is, and how to cultivate it.
The Importance of Feeling Proud of Yourself

Last update: 26 December, 2020

Do you feel proud of who you are? If the answer is no, do you at least think that it would be positive if you did? Some people believe that feeling proud is just vanity; something that only egocentric and selfish people do. However, they’d be surprised to know that it’s actually one of the key habits for maintaining good emotional health. I say “habit” because feeling proud of yourself is often a question of perseverance.

It’s healthy and natural for people to feel happy and satisfied with who they are. Unfortunately, our world is far from ideal. We live in individualistic and competitive societies that supposedly foster empowerment. The truth is, however, that most of us end up weighed down by other people’s expectations, making it impossible to genuinely accept and value ourselves.

That’s why it’s your job to recover your unconditional self-love and never give up on becoming who you really want to be.

When you know that feeling proud of yourself has multiple benefits, you’ll stop considering it a negative thing. Remember that the greatest project of your life has to be your own growth and development.

A happy, curly-haired woman.

Why is it so important to feel proud of yourself?

Feeling proud of yourself doesn’t mean becoming vain or narcissistic. Nor does it involve disparaging others so that you seem superior. On the contrary, being happy with yourself allows you to establish healthier, more satisfying relationships with other people. And that isn’t the only benefit. Here are some other reasons to cultivate this habit:

  • When you’re proud of yourself, you don’t need others to feel proud as well. This way, you don’t rely on external approval. That leaves you free to choose your path and not sacrifice your needs and desires to please others.
  • If you feel proud of yourself, you won’t tolerate other people’s lack of respect or aggression. Personal pride is closely related to self-esteem. When you know your worth, it’s a lot easier to set boundaries and you’ll be less afraid of rejection or abandonment.
  • Personal pride also motivates people to persevere, even when they know they’ll face obstacles and challenges in the short-term.
  • Those who are truly content with who they are gain access to a feeling of fulfillment that could never come from any external source. No amount of praise or love can fill the emptiness of not liking who you are.

How to cultivate self-pride

Some people come by this skill naturally, usually due to the way they were raised. For others, however, it isn’t a simple task, as it requires personal work and daily effort. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, these straightforward guidelines will help you on the path to self-fulfillment:

  • Identify your virtues and qualities, appreciate them, and get used to thinking about them often. Then, take it one step further by fearlessly celebrating them and sharing them with others. Don’t fall into the trap of false humility; celebrate your achievements and talents. Recognizing and appreciating your gifts is a healthy practice.
  • Accept your flaws, mistakes, and aspects you can improve on. If you want to feel genuinely proud of yourself, you have to truly know yourself. Face your shadows. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address your dysfunctional attitudes or behaviors. On the contrary, once you know yourself well, you can invest in your personal growth from a place of unconditional love instead of fearing your dark side.
  • Practice as often as you can. You have to start prioritizing yourself. Listen to your opinions, needs, and goals even if you’ve never done it before and you’re afraid that other people won’t like it. Being faithful to yourself is worth the effort.
A happy woman leaning on a tree.

You don’t have to be perfect to be proud of yourself. All you need to do is watch yourself progress every day towards your goals, on your terms. When you aren’t sure what decision to make, go for the path you’ll be most proud of, the one that will help you become the person you want to be. Your life project, after all, is you.

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  • Etxebarria, I. (2009). Las emociones autoconscientes positivas: el orgullo. Emociones positivas, 167-180.
  • Williams, L. A., & DeSteno, D. (2008). Pride and perseverance: The motivational role of pride. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(6), 1007–1017. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.94.6.1007