Can Pride Make a Difference in Your Life?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Self-pride is the ability to see your own personal value and worth and serves as a gauge for how much you like, accept, approve, and respect yourself. Self-pride influences every aspect of your life because how you feel about yourself comes through in what you say and do. When you make decisions with an unfavorable view of yourself, you are more likely to demean you efforts, body, talents and abilities. As days, months, and years go by, that ongoing negative dialogue can result in feelings of anxiety, irritability, or resentment. Over time, those feelings can also lead to loneliness or depression.

Many of us spend a great deal of time trying to improve what we see as flawed and imperfect with a low sense of pride in ourselves. We remember who we were in a different time in our life and somehow expect that the person from back then can still exist in a new set of conditions, roles, and responsibilities. Although on paper we realize this is unrealistic, we continue to measure ourselves with an unrealistic measuring stick and as time goes by, we lose more and more pride in ourselves. The negative self-talk plays in our heads more than the positive and one day we realize we are in a cycle we never intended to be in or learned how to deal with.

One of the 5 things I talked about in my Giving Thanks – 5 Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude blog a while back was giving up negative self-talk. Developing self-pride can help you get rid of those ongoing negative scripts that are playing in your head. Here are some ways to help you get started developing a stronger sense of self-pride.

  • Put yourself on the list for 10 minutes each day - In Spark founder Chris Downey's new book The Spark coming out December 29th, he shares about how 10 minutes a day changed his life. His 10 minutes focused on exercise and it ultimately changed how he saw himself. For you, beginning to see yourself more positively requires first putting yourself on the list and providing yourself the opportunity to get to know you better. You might take a gentle walk (without a focus of exercise) without any music and simply spend time with yourself. You might find space to be still, breathe deeply, and spend time with yourself. Or, you might simply stay in bed after waking in the quiet of the morning and spend this peaceful time of your day with yourself. However you can fit in 10 minutes of designated time and space everyday for you to spend time quietly with yourself is good and is a positive way to get to know yourself better. Hopefully after doing it consistently you will find that the 10 minutes you spend with yourself each day are the most peace-filled and happy moments of your entire day.

  • Focus less on what you should do and more on what you did - If your life is anything like mine, it is full of all the things we should do. The calorie level I should eat, the amount of time I should exercise, the work in my inbox that I should get to, the chores at home that should be done and the time I should spend with my family and friends. Of course, there are only so many hours in the day and my list of shoulds is far larger than the number of hours I have to accomplish them. So, many days are ended counting how many things are left undone, focusing more on what wasn't accomplished than what was. One of the best ways we can love ourselves more is to take pride in what we accomplish, period. Dr Phil often says that when you say "but", everything you say after that cancels out what you said before. So, if we say to ourselves at the end of the day things like "I did great getting up at 5 AM to exercise but I really blew it with the lunch at the restaurant", what is internalized is, we blew it. We all too often dismiss all the things we did well and only focus on what we see that doesn't measure up or isn't enough, perfect, super-human etc. etc. etc. Get rid of the but in your sentences and focus on what you accomplished and leave it at that.

  • Accept the responsibility and consequences of your choices and actions - In our home, we have spent many years teaching our teen children that choices and actions have consequences and that they have a say in whether those consequences are positive or negative by the choices they make. I am happy to see small glimpses that our teens seem to be getting it. Are you? Do you take responsibility for the choices and outcomes in your life or do you spend a lot of time blaming others. It isn't your fault there were treats at the office, you wouldn't have eaten them if someone hadn't brought them in. It isn't your fault that you stayed up too late and couldn't get up to exercise in the morning, if SNL or Sunday Night Football hadn't been hyped all week, you wouldn't have stayed up to watch them. I think you get the point. You are an adult that is capable of making choices and accepting the consequences of those choices and moving on. Accept the choices you make, learn from the experience of the outcome and use it to make a wise and self-supportive decision the next time.

  • Accept that mistakes and set backs are where personal growth is found - Everyone makes mistakes. Haven't we all heard that throughout our life? We tell children they should learn from their mistakes but do we? Problems, conflicts, failures, set-backs are all part of life and provide great opportunity for personal growth if we choose to look at them that way. The old Frank Sinatra song "Pick Yourself Up" expresses it well with these important words, "Will you remember the famous men, Who had to fall to rise again? So take a deep breath, Pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, Start all over again." Each choice that didn't work out, each intentional action that ended badly, each unconscious decision that wasn't thought out and brought on unwanted outcomes are all learning opportunities that can bring personal growth when we choose to use them that way. So, the next mistake you make don't sit there in self pity, self loathing or self denial, instead remember the Sinatra song. Take a deep breath (admit the mistake or error of decision or indecision), pick yourself up (decide what you will do differently the next time), dust yourself off (get right back into your preferred routines or lifestyle choices) and start all over again (tomorrow the sun will rise and you will have a whole new day of opportunities and choices) so you can rise again.
What positive actions will you take to improve your self-pride through ending negative self-talk so you can move toward your goals in 2010?

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I've changed my outlook from one of being mostly negative to one of being mostly positive. I recognize that I usually meet all of my goals so, when I slip, it's not such a big deal. I also look at things now as learning experiences instead of failures. Report
Great blog. I need to take more responsibility for my own consequences -negative or positive. Report
A very thought - provoking article! Report
Words to live by Report
since Pride can be a down fall we have to take care. Report
Something occurred to me while reading this blog. Why not "turn the buts around". For instance instead of saying "I did great getting up at 5 AM to exercise but I really blew it with the lunch at the restaurant" why not switch it to say "I really blew it with the lunch at the restaurant but I did great getting up at 5 AM to exercise". That way if the but cancels out the first part then it is canceling out the negative. Report
I think this is so useful! I have noticed that positive self-talk or thinking definitely boosts your ego in a good way! It's so much easier to be motivated when you think you are doing well! Keep up the great work everyone! Report
Forgiving oneself is one of the best but hardest things we can do. After all if God can forgive us and we are made in his image, all it takes is practice. Report
I really need to do these things. I spend so much time beating myself up. If beating myself up burned calories, I would be a very skinny guy. Report
This is a great reminder to be kinder to yourself. Sometimes I do think well I only did this or did that but are right those words "only" and "but" make your true efforts and accomplishments seem less. I'm going to concentrate on not thinking of the things that I do as "onlys" and "buts" , just simply as they were done! Report
Thank you for a great blog! Report
Thank You Report
Thanks, Tanya, for reminding me that 10 minutes is a powerful amount of time to change my view, be renewed, initiate a change.
Kate Report
I think it is a great reminder that we see our worth -- I wish we could avoid the use of the word "pride" since it is a negative word associated with conceit. Report
I actually came back here again today, to read this to myself again, and I pretty much intend to keep doing the same thing for as long as I have to, to keep my focus where it needs to be! Until I am committed to these ideas, and no longer have to read it~ I need this to be in my heart. :) Report
This is just what I needed at this time. I am consciously trying to make changes in not just eating, but my thinking too. Report
I have made steps towards many of these suggestions but still beat myself up pretty bad. I am going to look more at my accomplishments and less at the road yet untraveled!
Ruth Report
These are already my habits, but in 2010 I will keep a detailed list of my accomplishments to read if I start feeling negatively about myself.

Sinatra’s song says it all. I think Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” does too.
Focusing on what I actually accomplished instead of the "shoulds" has helped me so much!! Thanks for the other great ideas in this blog-- I'd never thought of the "but" idea before and it's so true!! Report
Well said- words to live by in everday situations. Report
This is a great blog and targets exactly where I am in my journey. I am very guilty of negative self-talk and discounting my small (and large) victories. I'll often tell myself things like, "I'm proud of myself for going to the Y today, BUT I probably won't make it every day this week." The fact is, I went to the Y yesterday and got in a good workout! Yay for me!

I also think that taking 10 minutes a day to focus on myself is a very good idea. I've been toying with the idea of meditation for a while now, and this blog has inspired me to start today. I think that taking 10 minutes to be quiet, focus on my breathing, and where I am right now will be very calming and beneficial to my overall well-being.

Thank you for this blog, it's been saved to my favorites! Report
Tanya, you - and your heartening words! - are so inspiring! I feel a renewed sense of hope...and the Frank Sinatra clip was calorie-free frosting for the ears :) Thank you! Report
Great article - I shared with several others - Thanks! Report
What a wonderful inspiring blog. I have been meaning to write some blogs my self but am always saying I cant do it as I am not as good as other people yet I am in my second year of a degree. I will write some God willing (inshallah) Report
I am my worst enemy as well. I did great all day yesterday with my food and exercise. When I got home from work, not so much. It wrecked all my efforts from the day. I need to keep my focus! Report
Excellent blog. One of the reasons I have been so successful and the Sparkjourney has seemed so effortless to me is the enormous pride I have in myself for all the incredible things I have accomplished. Every day, I want to do more!!! Some people see being proud as a negative trait; I don't see that it's any different than the pride you feel when your child accomplishes something they've worked for. I also recognize that if it hadn't been for my wonderful Sparkfriends cheering me on, I wouldn't have gotten so far along in the journey. Report
I enjoyed this piece. I especially need these tips for i am my worst enemy. And I must agree with another member that since I joined a week ago, my mood on eating healthy and exercise has improved and I look forward to the new me. Report
Interesting blog...I would prefer to use the term acceptance versus "self-pride". Pride can also be a negative when it gets in the way of acknowledging that change needs to and can happen. I think a lot of the negativity expressed in life is due to our society telling us that who we are and how our body is shaped is NOT good enough, that we must look like someone else. I KNOW there are certain things I will never change about my body - for example, my DNA determined that I would have large thighs and shorter legs but you know, I love my thighs and legs- they help me run, walk, enjoy life and knowing that motivates me to make them the healthiest and strongest legs I possible can so I can keep doing those things but I'm not going to change their shape very much. Life is much easier when I accept that and stop lamenting that they aren't sticks like some anorexic model I'm told I must look like. Report
Excellent it was written just for me....THANKS! Report
Great Blog! I really needed to here this. Thank you. Report
Advice I always give to other people but never follow. Your article made me stop and think. Thank you! Report
Thank you! Report
Thanks for the great advice. This was right on target. Report
Oh I SO needed the "but" lecture! I do that ALL of the time!

On Thursday I will be making my final mortgage payment and will be debt free at 46. Time to celebrate!? Oh, of course not, because of the "buts". Yes I will be debt free for the first time in my adult life,
BUT - I used all of my savings to pay off my debt and so have very little reserve.
BUT - I have no pension and have saved very little for retirement.
BUT - my truck is 5 years old and will need to be replaced in a few years.
BUT - my house is old and my plan all along has been to build a new house on this property and so I now have to save for that.

Well - ya know what? I'm kicking the "buts" out. I have worked very hard to get to this point and I'm going to pat myself on the back - at least for a little while. ;) Report
Awesome blog! I plan to get rid of the "but" whenever I accomplish something. I have a terrible habit of doing that. I like the statement, "Focus less on what you should do and more on what you did." It will do much to disspell the notion that ALL I do is screw up.

I'm saving this blog and pulling it out from time to time to reinforce a positive attitude. Thank you! Report
It really IS a matter of re-training yourself to think not even just positively, but fairly. Expecially when it comes to YOU! Report
Thank you x 3 for this wonderful advice! I also like MrsCarlene's tactic of blurting "cancel, cancel" when someone starts in on the negative self-talk. I always want to be and to seem humble. I'm learning that there must be balance in the self-deprecation. Does anyone else feel that women are sort of trained that too much confidence is arrogance, so we tend to overcorrect? Report
Thanks for a great blog! I love the "Focus less on what you should do and more on what you did" I know everything I need to to get in shape and stay healthy yet I don't follow through as often as I should. Instead of making a list of what I plan to do that day maybe I should write the list as I do the things!! THANKS! Report
I plan to focus on the POSITIVE things that I do, and about me and leave the rest alone! Thanks for a great blog! Report
great blog Report
Exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks! Report
Great blog!!1 Report
THANKS GREAT !!!! Report
Awesome blog : ) Report
Great blog. If everyone would do this think how much more peaceful and happy the world would be. Report
Every year I resolve to be better than I was the previous year. This year I'm resolving to actually writing down what my goals are so I can hold myself accountable.

In preparation for it, I'm going to read "QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life" by John G. Miller.

This book came highly recommeded to me by a friend who knows I am no good at following through. I see it as a blessing at just the right time as New Year's is a time of renewal. Report
Another really good blog! Thank you. Report
This was great. Where I used to work, we would have seminars on ways to elimate negative thinking. So, if one of us would say something negative about ourselves, the other would shout out, "cancel, cancel.". It was funny at first, but boy, it made you stop and think of what you said. We do need to take more time and tell ourselves how wonderful we are every day. Report
This is exactly what I'm dealing with right now! Thank you for this blog. I too have saved this to consult with when I'm feeling down and out (hopefully those will be farther in between!) Report
saved to my favorits so I can consult it from time to time Report
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