"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Do you take pride in what you've done?

You know a couple weeks ago when I turned...when I had my birthday, I put together a list of things that make me happy. Some of these are people. Some are material items. Some are more abstract. And some are accomplishments I'm proud of.

They say pride is one of the seven deadly sins, so is it okay to take pride in your accomplishments? Or should we live a life of humility and never tout ourselves or anything we've done? Or is it only a matter of taking pride a bit too far.


Take Odysseus for example. When he defeated the Cyclops and managed to sail himself and his men away from the island, he couldn't resist the opportunity to be proud of himself and proclaim his victory to the world (including the Cyclops who then called upon his dad for revenge). This didn't work out so great for Odysseus, and as part of his journey, he had to learn to curb his pride. So at what point did he cross the line? Was it when his pride overcame his sensibility? Did he just not know when to keep quiet?

As for what I'm proud of, well there's my family, my engineering career, my writing career, all the handy things I do around the house... Really, the list could go on. And on. And even on. (Watch the video again if you don't believe me.)

So what are your thoughts on pride, and what are you proud of? Because in my opinion, you should be proud of yourself and what you accomplish.

30 comments:

lotusgirl said...

In french there are actually 2 words for pride one the good kind of pride like when we are proud of our children and the other is a haughty kind of pride. It's easier to make the distinction there. I think if we are rubbing it in other people's faces, we've crossed the line.

Becky Levine said...

Yay for you--I think we have to recognize the things we think we've done well, or we'd go nuts!

I'm proud of my book. I was pretty sure of that when I finished writing it, but as I hear that people (other than me!) like it, yes, that pride's increasing. I'm pretty sure that's okay.

I'm proud of the persistence I'm showing these days on sticking to working on my WIP, while I also try to find writing & other gigs that will bring in income and connections--that AREN'T about fiction.

And I'm proud of my son, incredibly so--he's so himself, it's hard to claim much credit, but I'll take a little, I guess. :)

And yay for you--you have some huge reasons to be proud of yourself!

Kelly said...

I think pride is okay to have. It must help with one's confidence.
But I also think it can go too far if all that one talks about is his accomplishments. Though as a former teacher, I've noticed some of the little braggart may be trying to boost their esteem by one upping each other. But it's also okay to be a little competitive like that.
So, to sum up my ramblings. Be proud, but be other things, too! :) Which thankfully most people to abide by.

Marcia said...

I think pride crosses a line when we try to push ourselves into a position we haven't earned or just can't qualify for. You might hear reference to Lucifer's "five I wills," (from Isaiah). Basically he says he'll become God, but he simply can't do it, and this pride is literally what made him the devil. I also think pride crosses a line when it becomes conceited, as if we think we're so good and can't make a mistake. Or when it turns to boasting. This is the "pride before a fall" thing. But to be glad or happy about our achievements and families, of course this is good. I think to be proud of our achievements is to be able to recommend them to others, put our product out, etc., in full confidence. Think if we WEREN'T proud of our achievements; it would mean we either didn't do our best or had a self-esteem problem.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think it's okay to take pride in your accomplishments as long as you don't overboard with it like everyone else said.

Christina Farley said...

I love how you are focusing on the positives. Sometimes I get caught up in what I'm not good at that I forget to think I'm really good at something. I'm proud of my family and my job and my teaching and I can make really good cheesecake!

Miriam S. Forster said...

I've heard that to be humble is not to think of yourself as good or bad, but not to think of yourself at all, to take pleasure in your accomplishments with the same appreciation that you would show if they were done by anyone else.

Jim Danielson said...

I think pride when refered to as one of the deadly sins has a totally different conotation than taking pride in what you've done -- and then strive to be even better -- at nobody else's expense.

I like Miriam's perspective on the subject a lot, by the way.

PJ Hoover said...

I love that there are two French words for pride, Lois. This makes such sense. Thanks for sharing!

Your book rocks, and you have every right to be proud of it, Becky! And I'm so glad you recognize all the wonderful things you have to be proud of!

Be proud and be other things, too...love that, Kelly! That sums it up beautifully!

PJ Hoover said...

Great points, Marcia! And in the case of Odysseus, he hadn't yet cleared the water and should have waiting to be prideful. Thank you for such a thoughtful response!

I so agree, Natalie. And I think it's important to take pride in those accomplishments!

You have my mouth watering, Christina! We do get so caught up in things we haven't done/aren't good at, but looking at the reverse is so important!

PJ Hoover said...

Oooh, great way to look at it, Miriam! And it emphasizes how important it is for us to celebrate the achievements of others.

I like Miriam's perspective, too, Jim! They're all great, as is yours. I'm glad you don't see it as one of the seven deadly sins, either!
Hope all is going great!

Rena said...

Pride has always confused me, especially from what I've read in the Bible regarding it. I just don't understand it. I'm like any other parent and feel a great sense of pride for my children and what they accomplish. But when it comes to me, I don't know if that's how I should feel.

laurapauling said...

I think lotus girl hit it. The pride that gives someone a cocky, know-it-all attitude isn't helpful for anyone. But it is possible to be proud of your accomplishments and humble at the same time.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

I think the kind of pride you're talking about PJ is a good pride--being happy and taking joy in the wonderful things you've done. But there is another kind of pride that happens when people believe themselves to be 'better' than others because of things they've done or things they have. That kind of pride is hurtful to everyone.

PJ Hoover said...

Rena, I think what Lois says about the French having two words for pride makes a lot of sense. It does seem like two entirely different things.

I hope I do the good pride justice, Laura! It seems important to acknowledge one's accomplishments.

Totally agree, Amy. It does hurt other people to be boastful, and this seems to be where the line is crossed.

Keri Mikulski said...

What a great post!! I don't think we spend enough time feeling proud. :) It's good for the soul. :)

Hmm.. I'm proud of everything I've worked hard for - my daughter, my family, my life, my career. :)

Happy Wednesday!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Blogger ate both my deep and philosophical comments. I'm going to try again with less depth.

Way to go for acknowledging your successes! It paves the way to your next goals.

PJ Hoover said...

You have tons to be proud of, Keri! And you're right that we don't spend enough time doing it!

Thanks, Terry! I think blogger was hungry. Congrats to you to for all you've done!

Indigo said...

I should take more pride in my accomplishments. I tend to have a linear view and see what I haven't accomplished versus what I have.

Whenever I get that way my husband reminds me of the hurdles I've managed to jump over with my deafness.

I think the trick is to find a balance. Give yourself credit were credit is due with a side of humility. (Hugs)Indigo

Okie said...

I think pride has enough nuances that there is such a thing as "good" or "humble" pride and "bad" or "haughty" pride.

I don't recall the exact language, but I vaguely recall a conversation between Darcy and Elizabeth on this subject from P&P...and that pride is generally good so long as it doesn't extend into vanity or otherwise aggrandizing one's self at the expense of others.

It's good and natural to be proud of successful accomplishments...so long as that pride doesn't extend to a situation for putting one's self above another as a result, it's acceptable.

I'm not generally one to toot my own horn, but I do get a sense of pride when I accomplish something great. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

PJ Hoover said...

Indigo, it's worth it to list out all that has been overcome and accomplished. I think this is one of the reasons I like making lists so much!

I think that's an excellent attitude, Okie. You should be proud! And does this mean I should read P&P?????

Elana Johnson said...

I think pride can be used for good or for bad. I think if we think too highly of ourselves, we begin to look down on others. And that's not okay.

But if we feel a sense of self-accomplishment and use it to teach our children and ourselves that we can do hard things, then I think it's useful.

Kelly H-Y said...

I happened to see Lois's comment when I came to the Comment page, and completely agree with what she wrote ... you bet, it's OK to be proud of your accomplishments, your family, etc. ... but, then there are those who take it too far, who brag about it ... then it's too much!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

PJ--Thanks for stopping by my blog and offering your kind words.

I think it's okay to be proud of your accomplishments and things you have worked for (yes, stuff) as long as you aren't using them to put anyone else down. What's the point of working hard if you can't feel good about it?

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

im proud of my family....

PJ Hoover said...

You nailed it when you mention how we need to teach our kids, Elana. That is the most important part.

Totally too much, Kelly. It's finding that right balance.

You're welcome, Sharon. And you're right. What would be the point if we can take pride in our accomplishments?

And your blog rocks, too, Shelli!

Danyelle said...

Great post. I think there's a difference between being proud and being pleased. Pride is what gets one in trouble, because it acts like blinders, whereas being pleased recognizes a job well done. :)

PJ Hoover said...

So it's good to be please, right, Danyelle? Thanks!

Lisa and Laura said...

I don't think all pride is bad. I'm proud of my children, my husband and the life we've all created together. I'm proud that Laura and I have come as far as we have in publishing together. I'm proud that we still recognize how far we have to go. Sometimes I think a little pride is a good thing.

PJ Hoover said...

It's a great think, LiLa! Thanks for visiting! And you gals have a ton of stuff to be proud of :)