As children, we did not know how to praise ourselves. We were little creatures who needed to develop the concept of praise and being proud of ourselves from those around us. So, when we were being potty-trained, there was a reward for each success we had on that potty. In school, we received rewards for our hard work – good grades. If we were involved in sports and other activities, there were also rewards for our achievements. All of this praise and these rewards were external, that is, they came from outside of ourselves. At some point, we need to make the transition from looking for external praise to the ability to praise ourselves and to develop self-pride. If we have never made the transition, we are stuck. If we have made that transition, we need to help others make it too, and here’s why.
Pride in Oneself Motivates
A pay-check is a great motivator. It gets us up in the morning and to our jobs. At the end of the week or month, we collect that paycheck as a type of a reward for having put in our 40 hours each week. But that paycheck does not motivate us to do any more than what we are currently doing. When we have self-pride, however, we want to go beyond just the required, so that we can say to ourselves, “well done.” We keep looking for what we can do to praise ourselves for, and that moves us forward toward setting new goals and going after new accomplishments.
Self-Pride Replaces the Need for External Praise and Rewards
In the real world, we don’t have moms and dads to praise us for everything we do well. We have bosses who are not concerned with our self-esteem, only what we can produce. If we have never made that transition to internal praise and reward, then we cannot find a reason to take on any new challenge or to become more productive. Because no one will notice, we find no value in accomplishing anything more. When we have self-pride, we want to do everything well whether anyone else notices or not.
Self-Pride = Self-Esteem = Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is defined by psychologists as how effective you believe you are in what you do. When you are really good at what you do, you praise yourself, improve your self-esteem, and then accept that you are really effective. This is a cycle that keeps repeating itself. The more you like yourself, the more willing you are to set goals and work toward them; the more you do that, the more effective you feel. And the more effective you feel, the more you like yourself. It just keeps building, as you achieve more and more of your goals. Your whole life just keeps getting better.
Self-Pride Means Independence
When we do not depend upon others for praise and encouragement, we become independent operators of our own lives. We can set our own goals based upon our own desires, not those of others around us, like family, friends and bosses. It is such a liberating way to live our lives. We do not have to look for approval from anyone else, can chart our own courses, and take on challenges that we determine are right for us. Perhaps we decide to drop out of college and pursue a vision we have for a business. Self-pride allows us to do this, even though others around us do not approve.
Self-Pride Means We Don’t Blame Others
When we can make our own choices independently of the approval of others, we take full responsibility for our successes. We also take full responsibility for our failures. This is a key factor in becoming fully self-actualized. When we take ownership for our failures, we can then see them as learning experiences that will help us move forward. When we blame others, we do not see any reason to reflect and to change – we are stuck.
Self-Pride Means You Don’t Have to Make Comparisons
One of the loveliest side benefits of being proud of oneself is that you no longer have to compare yourself to others and their accomplishments. You know who you are, have your own path, and are comfortable in your own skin. What a great feeling!
If you have friends or co-workers who have not developed the ability to praise and reward themselves, you can help them grow. When they accomplish something, ask them, “Are you proud of yourself?” “What about this makes your proud?” “How are you going to reward yourself for this accomplishment?” You can help them get into a mindset of independent self-praise so that they too can learn the beauty of charting their own courses.
Ben Brychta is a MBA student from San Jose, CA. He is big a movie classics fan and loves to share his opinion on different things happening in the spheres of the film industry, blogging and lifestyle. You can get in touch with Ben via his Twitter or Facebook.