Feeling good about yourself
We become proud when we have good reason to think of ourselves as special.
Pride is the emotion reflecting an increase in
stature, while shame reflects a
decrease in stature. Because stature is often confused with status and is often
considered competitive and relative, expressing our pride carelessly or
unjustifiably may offend others.
- Feeling good about yourself.
- Satisfaction from our assessment of an increase in stature
- Approving of your own actions or accomplishments.
- A sense of accomplishment.
- Expression of competence.
Old English prūd, from Old French prou, prud, brave, virtuous.
Pride reflects an increase in stature, not necessarily a
high level of stature. As a result, pride is inherently temporary.
Many mental states are often confused with authentic pride. The confusion is
generally related to a mismatch in a subjective appraisal or projection of stature with an
objective evaluation of stature. The mismatches are based on discrepancies in the
- Authentic stature—An
actual, authentic, and objective appraisal of stature
based on representative evidence.
you believe about your stature,
others believe about your stature.
We have many words that describe a variety of misalignments between authentic
stature, your estimate of your own stature, and what others believe about your
stature. These represent counterfeit forms of pride. Several words are defined here in terms of these stature appraisals.
- Hubris: Unrealistically high self-esteem; self-esteem exceeds
authentic stature. You appraise your stature to be unrealistically high and
reject evidence-based comparisons to authentic
stature. It is a failure to recognize your own defects. Synonyms include
arrogance, conceit, egotism, narcissism, and vanity. It can be caused by your
- Bluster: Projecting your stature as higher than you believe it to
be. Attempting to create an image that exceeds your self-esteem. Synonyms
include false pride, immodesty, boasting, bragging, showing off, and know it
- Stubborn Pride: You are unsure of your actual stature, so you hold
fast to your position as an attempt to show strength. It can be manifest as a
reluctance to apologize or take responsibility for
your own actions. The likely cause is that your self-esteem is fragile or
variable; you are insecure about your stature because you are not confident
your authentic stature is high. Synonyms include smug??,
- Humiliation: An image change reflecting a decrease in what others
believe about your stature. A public humiliation is the result of an insult and
is generally painful enough to
provoke anger. If you believe the insult is justified,
then the humiliation may result in shame rather than
anger. Synonyms include losing face, feeling foolish, hurt, and
- Humility: A quiet and sincere confidence that comes from a
realistic appraisal of your stature that recognizes you are doing well, while
recognizing your shortcomings. It is an incentive to continue to learn,
improve, and do more. Self esteem is aligned with authentic stature and is
judged to be satisfactory and with room for improvement within a humble
person. Humility reduces our need for
self-justification and allows us to admit to and learn from our
- False Modesty: An insincere attempt to project an image of stature lower than your self esteem or authentic stature.
- Contempt: Feeling superior to others. Our self-esteem exceeds the
image we hold of another.
These terms and their relationship to stature appraisals are summarized in the
||Self Esteem - What I believe
||Image - What others believe
||Unsure or low
||I deserve better
||Unrealistically and disingenuously low
||My self esteem exceeds my image of another.
Harmful mental states related to pride can be extinguished by appreciating
the achievements of others, becoming aware of our own shortcomings, and working
to increase our genuine stature.
Benefits and Dangers of Pride
Pride is an intrinsic reward for being good and doing well. It provides an
incentive for working to increase stature. People seek challenges to increase
pride. Because stature is so valuable, many
counterfeit versions of pride have developed. These are discussed above.
The Paradox of Pride
Humility is essential for learning and learning is essential for continued
personal growth. But pride is the result of that growth. Well adjusted people
learn to move quickly and skillfully from pride to humility to continue their
progress. Pride is considered one of the
seven deadly sins,
probably because of confusion with hubris, arrogance, vanity, narcissism,
bluster, stubborn pride, or boasting. While we admire people with high stature,
we dislike braggarts.
Display rules guide us in making the distinction between what we are feeling
and what we are sharing. Most of us learn not to express pride too effusively
when others may be offended or challenged by it, or if we are expected to remain
Beaming; a form of prolonged smiling, often expresses pride.
Pride sends the primal messages of:
pleased, dominant, strong, approach, helpful
- “Wisdom manifests in humility rather than arrogance.” ~ Peter Senge
Passion and Reason: Making Sense of Our Emotions,
by Richard S.
Lazarus, Bernice N. Lazarus
Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life, by Paul Ekman
The Cognitive Structure of Emotions, by Andrew Ortony, Gerald L. Clore, Allan Collins
Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, by Daniel Goleman
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values, by
Marshall B. Rosenberg, Arun Gandhi
Fear, Sadness, Anger, Joy, Surprise, Disgust, Contempt,
Anger, Envy, Jealousy, Fright, Anxiety, Guilt, Shame, Relief, Hope, Sadness, Depression, Happiness,
Pride, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Aesthetic Experience,
Joy, Distress, Happy-for, Sorry-for, Resentment, Gloating, Pride, Shame, Admiration, Reproach,
Love, Hate, Hope, Fear, Satisfaction, Relief, Fears-confirmed, Disappointment, Gratification,
Gratitude, Anger, Remorse,
power, dominance, stature, relationships