1. Feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities or possessions, or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.
2. Having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.
The two meanings of proud seem mutually incompatible. How can it be that the descriptive word for such a positive act (achieving self satisfaction) can also be the same word used for something so negative (describing arrogance)?
The unwritten rule in British society is that you’re generally OK to celebrate your achievements – but in strict moderation. There’s a fine line between a socially acceptable level of celebration and simply showing off. I wonder whether here in the UK the acceptable level of pride is far less than in other parts of the world. Our tipping point on the bragging/celebrating success scale seems unusually reserved.
We’re taught from an early age to play down our successes. “Don’t boast, it isn’t polite”, “Jessica won’t like you if you show off”. Feeling a sense of pride in our achievements isn’t part of our culture.
So, when applying for a job, writing a CV or generally carrying out any task which involves bigging ourselves up we struggle massively. We’ve lost the ability to outline our key successes and paint ourselves in the most positive of lights. It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives.
Maybe it’s time to turn things around. It’s time to be more positive. Maybe we could all be a bit more Heather Small and ask ourselves “what have I done today to make myself feel proud?”…
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