Begin Again in 10: Week 10 – Pride
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
My head is uncomfortably empty when I think of the word “pride”. I got nothing. Not even an echo. Although, on second thought, I recoil. I associate it with something bad, spoiled, for the elites. I see it as one of those concepts that got bastardized, hollowed out. It’s a messy feeling. Hang on – is it really?
Recently, there have been a few occasions when I did something good (and well) and felt proud of myself. More than “just” feeling proud, I communicated my accomplishment clearly. I did not shout it from the rooftops, I did not climb up on a podium, I simply stated the fact. What I found was that the feel-good factor was much more long-lived. More solid, more conclusive, more informed. Compared to what, you would ask?
“Whiplash” is easily one of my favorite movies. Consciously, I do not subscribe to the participation trophy culture. If I miss a crunch in my workout, I don’t just do the one rep, I rewind the whole thing and start over. Still, if you are anything like me, you too would trade all this virtue for someone to tell you “you did well”. At least that’s the instinct. Everything else feels like constant catching up to a goal post that gets shifted further and further the closer you get to it.
I don’t want to focus too much on this budding sense of independence though. That’s just one piece of the puzzle. For me, what stands out even more is the realization that I can come through for myself. That I see my own progress. That I can distinguish between the times when I need to be my own harshest judge, my most indifferent passerby, and my biggest fan. That I can not lie to myself. That I am able to see things for what they are.
The reason it all feels so nourishing then is because there is more to pride than just me and my personal greatness. There is the sense of contributing towards something bigger, the sense of maturity, and the sense of making sense, really. It’s the totality of the experience that manifests as pride.
It is interesting how the introduction and this last paragraph are both about me. Both are true, both describe situations that have happened, feelings that I have felt. Somehow, I am more attracted towards the latter. It calls me more. I know the intro scenario by heart. It makes me think of a role in a kindergarten play your kid detests and recites off the top of their head with the most monotonous intonation ever. And gets two dead-fish claps for in return.
That other paragraph though… It smells of adventure. Of a secret. Of good, useful knowledge. Of something that I should follow, practice and learn more about. And that is something I can proud myself on today. That I see and choose the road less travelled. That I can identify the healthier option and go after it. That I recognize the growth it must have taken to even have an alternative to contemplate.
No shame then, no walking out the back door. Whether it’s getting out of bed or landing a new job: as far as I am concerned, both would make a good headline in a newspaper. Every story is worth telling, especially your own.