Friday, December 30, 2011

Pride and Other Emotions

People are always telling me that I should feel proud about things that I don't feel proud of at all.  I only feel proud of achieving something that I wanted to achieve, something that I enjoyed the process of.  For me, pride must be linked to another positive emotion.

Back in high school, I was in a state theatre competition each year. There were three rounds of competition, and at each level, three schools were selected to advance to the next competition. Most of us had a high stake in the competition and were disappointed about not advancing. But to me, advancing was never about winning - it was about making the competition last longer. In addition to the competition play, my high school had a play from September to December and another play from January to March. But after that, there were three months of school without any theatre, just waiting for summer vacation.  Our first round of the theatre competition was at the beginning of March, but if we had ever made it to the third round, the competition would have lasted through April.  It would have been the most fun year ever.

That was why I wanted to advance. Not because of the achievement, but because it meant more theatre.  That was the award for me.  I liked the idea of winning, but if there was only one round of competition and the play ended there whether we won or lost, I would not have cared as much as I did about winning. And if the rehearsal period was stressful rather than fun, then a part of me would have been happy that we didn't advance.

Here is a personality quiz question I found that explains it perfectly:

If you got accepted into a very special all-girls school, you would feel:
a. Nervous
b. Bummed
c. Proud
d. Excited

My answer was "bummed" because I didn't want to go to an exclusive all-girls school. But if I had wanted to go, my answer would have been "excited." I never would have answered "proud" because my reaction would be based on how much fun I expected to have at the new school. I would only feel proud if I also felt excited; if I didn't want to go to the school, I wouldn't care very much about the achievement of getting in.

Pride is something that I experience if it is linked with another positive emotion.  I don't feel proud about achieving something if the process wasn't fun.  I don't feel proud about getting into to programs that aren't going to be fun.  And I don't feel proud when I hear something positive about a school or program I was in unless I enjoyed my experience. I do feel proud of things that I wanted to do, things I enjoyed working for, things that I would go back and do again. It doesn't work that way for everyone, but this is how it works for me.


  1. The other side of being proud is when people are proud of you. Your right it doesn't stand for you having a good time or enjoying in any way what you did. But the people your talking with are happy about what You accomplished/completed. They may want to show their support to encourage you what you did was worth the effort and not a waste of time. It really comes down to showing your support for a person. You can say your happy with their job or happy about what they did, but it seems in our current society when you are proud is more of a accomplishment.

    On a different note I personally feel proud when I have completed a project, done what I feel is a good job and made something other people can use or enjoy.

    1. I appreciate being supported in things that I *want* to do, but support for things that I don't want to do comes down to pressuring me to stick with things that I shouldn't stick with. All I care about in life is personal pleasure and having fun, and if I am constantly talking about something being stressful rather than fun, the best advice I could get from anyone would be to quit that thing. Pushing me to feel proud of something I regret putting myself through is not okay at all. It's not for anyone else to decide that it was worth it. Most things that I have "accomplished" were not worth it because I did not enjoy them one bit, and I only want to do things I enjoy.