For some reason, it’s often seen as selfish or arrogant to be proud of yourself. If you say “I’m proud of this accomplishment” you run the risk of other’s thinking you’re conceited.
There is merit in modesty humility, though. It’s probably not a good idea to wear a shirt that says “I’m the best” everyday or force your friends to throw you a party every time you make an A or B on a test, but if an accomplishment is a large, unusual, and meaningful one, then it’s 100% okay to be proud of yourself. If you just made an A on your MCAT, then you should have a party. Yeah, modesty is a virtue but that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to voice your own excitement at your achievements.
And it definitely doesn’t mean you should constantly be self-depricating. By talking down about yourself daily, you’ll present yourself as someone who needs constant affirmation and compliments. Degrading yourself and being humble are not synonyms and should not be treated as such. Similarly, being proud of yourself and having a constant prideful attitude are not the same.
On Friday, I finished the first draft of my novel currently titled The Run. While I’ve written novels before, none of them have been as long, as important, or as good as this one. This novel has meant a lot to me for a while and I’ve worked extremely hard on it. I finished more or less happy with the final product. I still have a long road ahead filled with brutal editing and probably a lot of rejection, but I wasn’t going to let that diminish my accomplishment. I was proud of what I had done.
So, I celebrated. I texted my friends and family, called my grandma, and posted on Facebook and Twitter. I had achieved something I’d been working on for months and wanted to share my excitement with others. My friends congratulated me and my parents bought me dessert and drinks (from afar). My roommate got me flowers and spent the night celebrating with me. It was one of the best days ever.
In the past I would have accused myself of arrogance and selfishness. I would have told myself others have done more or I shouldn’t be forcing my accomplishment down people’s throats. I would have listened to lies about my own pride. “You don’t deserve this” or “You just want to be loved/celebrated/envied/complimented”. I would have even thought “This doesn’t mean anything because you’ll never be a real writer.”
Friday, though, I had none of these thoughts and a big reason for that is the people I’ve surrounded myself with, the people who truly love me, want the best for me. They want to celebrate with me. They are truly happy for me.
That’s something I believe everyone needs and should have.
I’m not going to exclaim to everyone that I wrote a novel and I probably won’t even celebrate again until the editing process is done, but for that one moment I was proud, and that’s okay. Allow yourself to be celebrated.
And, I hope, you’ll have someone there to celebrate with you.
Because you’re worth it.