S:1008 Distinction: Pleased vs. Proud

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


“What a good boy! I’m so proud of you.” “I know you did your best, honey. You should be proud.” These and countless other phrases are tools for teaching a child self-esteem. To develop a sense of pride is a useful step in our development. But, just like training wheels left on a bicycle, carried into adulthood, pride can be a hindrance to further growth.

When you experience pride you are automatically setting yourself apart, thus vulnerable to the opinions of others. It is that very vulnerability which is pride’s weakness, for any external reference is subject to being withdrawn. Defensiveness, denial, even arrogance, can result. How much do you enjoy being with someone who exudes excessive pride?

What resources are available as you grow beyond youthful pride? Being pleased is one. Notice the difference in how you feel when you are pleased with yourself versus how pride feels. Pleased is internal, satisfying, connecting while pride, perhaps uplifting in the moment, reverts to the need for external validation. The difference is subtle, but a polar opposite.

When pleased, you can still enjoy recognition and admiration, you just no longer need it. Pleased also has its running companions of gratitude and appreciation, maybe even a genuine humbleness, attracting more of what you want. Which will probably please you!

Pride sits atop a pedestal subject to toppling from without.

Pleased comes from within, life being lived according to internalized standards.


Coaching Point: What are you most pleased about, about yourself?


Copyright 2015 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.