Don’t Let Pride Get in the Way

I could have reheated leftover broccoli for lunch, but instead I chose a Dove candy. Milk chocolate and caramel. Inside the Dove wrapper was this message:

(I didn’t know Dove wrappers were fortune cookies, and now I’m hungry for Chinese takeout.)

My food choices lately have run hot and cold, like my mood, although my Seasonal Affective Disorder is half of what it normally is because of the above-average temperatures here in western Pennsylvania. That our yard is muddy and not frozen, and the reason it rains instead of snows is due to climate change, I feel bad that I don’t feel bad like I usually do this time of year, but I digress. This post isn’t about climate or even food.

It’s about pride.

Pride is one of the “seven deadly sins,” but I don’t think that, in general, we understand pride the same way ancient philosophers, Christian theologians, or Dante did. I think pride is fine, as long as it’s not hurting anyone (especially ourselves).

But should pride be a goal? That seems like a lot of pressure to put on ourselves.

I’ve been proud of things I’ve accomplished, but to be proud is never my goal. Like yesterday, I made a loaf of bread that turned out really well. I had tweaked the recipe a bit and was proud of myself for successfully applying what I’ve learned about making bread, but if I’d said, “I won’t stop making bread until I’m proud,” I’d probably not make any bread at all.

I’m more of a “good enough” kind of gal anyway. I (usually) give myself permission to stop when I get to the point that I can live with what I’ve already done. Life’s too short to be caught up in perfection.

So what do you think? Do you not stop until you’re proud? Is pride how you gauge your successes? Do you find wisdom in Dove candy wrappers? There are no wrong answers! Leave a comment!

I just ate another Dove (for which I’m neither proud or feeling guilty), and this message made me smile:

Thanks for being part of my tribe!

12 thoughts on “Don’t Let Pride Get in the Way

  1. Pride has never been a goal of mine. Heck, I’m just learning how to be nice to myself, which makes being proud of something a place I can’t even see from here. At least I do not let perfection get in the way of trying things; I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself, depending on the situation. I think what I work toward more often is satisfaction. I will work at something and work at it until I feel satisfied with my effort. That’s different, don’t you think? Interesting topic to ponder, Lynn, thanks!

    1. ((emmaclaire)) You’re one of the nicest people I know, and I’m glad you’re turning that kindness on yourself. I like the word “satisfied.” It’s different than “good enough” and definitely different from “pride.” I think that’s how I feel about my memoir. I’m not proud of it, not at all. I’m proud of myself for finishing it, definitely, but I’m satisfied with the writing. It’s knowing I did my best that makes me feel that way. If I worked toward being proud of it, I’d never have written it or at least finished it.

  2. Admittedly, I’m a perfectionist . . . but not in anything of consequence to anyone but myself. Pride or aspiring to be proud of myself isn’t the end goal and never would have occurred to me. For me, it’s being pleased with the result of my efforts, almost all of which are related to crafting (or baking bread!). If I screw up but can hide the booboo, I’m still pleased in the end. If I can’t hide the booboo, I either toss it and start over, or use it as a mock-up guide for making the next iteration. This past Christmas, I managed to royally screw up an ethnic family bread recipe. I learned how to make it at my mother’s knee in childhood, and have made it every Christmas since then as an adult. The screw-up was disappointing, but wasn’t the first time I’ve had less than stellar results. I’m more puzzled how it happened than anything else. Though it looked really peculiar, the bread still tasted just as good as always, and the family loved it just the same. That’s good enough for me!

    1. I find aging interesting in that I don’t worry as much as I used to about perfectionism. I want to be more like you, however, and see those situations when I screw up more like puzzles than personal indictments.

  3. There are two quotes I like that I tell my kids. “The perfect is the enemy of the good” and “anything worth doing is worth doing badly”. So I guess it depends on ones definition of pride and what you need to do to be proud of something. I did a half marathon and while I was not last I was at the bottom of the finishers. I was really proud of myself , but had I needed to do well to be proud I would have been really disappointed. I think I was raised with the idea that if you aren’t good at something than why do it, and you certainly have no reason to be proud of it. I had to overcome that and am so happy I did.

    1. Love those quotes, Jill! So glad you were proud of yourself for running a half marathon. That’s a long freaking run!! Go you! (And I should have added in my post how being proud of others and telling them is important, too!)

  4. I love this take. I would argue that the threshold to reach “proud” doesn’t have to mean “best you can ever do”, but that may be the teacher in me. So your “good enough” might be your proud moment: you put in the effort to get to that stage.
    But, I do know that “proud” in our society usually does come with much higher expectations and I have to agree that Dove may not have nailed it in messaging (although we can all agree they are 100% in the chocolating, yes?)

    1. Thanks, Janet. Yes, there are times when “good enough” has made me proud, especially when it relates to my body, and let me explain. Due to chronic pain, it’s not always easy for me to complete normal chores or even walk very far. If I push myself because I tell myself I’m being a wimp, I pay the price. But if I do what I can and tell myself that’s good enough, I’m actually pretty proud of myself for being kind to myself. TMI, sorry! 100% agree about Dove! Chocolate makes everything better 🙂

  5. I agree with you about pride. It’s like so many things–it’s best done in moderation. A woman I know wrote a short story about a character who decides to live her life following the messages inside a Dove candy wrapper. The story is called “Nothing to Lose.” It’s a good short story. I also believe it’s okay to feel proud if you’ve nailed something–like your loaf of bread. But I don’t let pride be my only motivator. I sometimes think women are discouraged from being openly proud about accomplishments, and I don’t like that. And your essay was a thoughtful piece that I enjoyed with my cup of coffee this morning!

    1. Thanks, Victoria. And I enjoyed your piece about (and photos of) ice sculptures this morning as part of my “pre-rising” reading 🙂 I agree that showing pride as a woman is judged way more harshly than men or children. We encourage children to be proud, right? I didn’t include in this post that the last time I was proud of myself was when I graduated from grad school in 2018 and was named outstanding volunteer that year for my work teaching in prison. I didn’t do that work with pride in mind, but being recognized by my peers and professors was really something. Something I’d never felt before.

  6. I think striving to do well is better than don’t stop till you’re proud. I always told my students it was the trying or striving that counts, not that it has to be perfect. So maybe there are gray areas in the area of pride. Sure, I’d like to be proud of what I do, but I’m not going to beat myself over the head making it my end goal. I want to enjoy life along the way, the journey in what I’m doing. So, I can’t follow or let the motto- Don’t stop till you’re proud- control me.

    1. That’s exactly it, pride shouldn’t be the goal. Wanting to do well, yes, of course. But if you fall short of your own expectation (or that of others), it doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you can’t be proud of your efforts. (This took me a whole minute to type because I’m getting used to a new keyboard. I’m NOT PROUD of my efforts so far LOL)

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