Pursue What Matters
Episode 120: Healthy Pride
Please excuse any typos, transcripts are generated by an automated service
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Most of us have been taught that pride is one of the deadly sins. But is this always true? So today I’m talking about healthy pride and how it is actually a foundation of well being and connection.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:12
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters Podcast, where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So is pride always a bad thing? Actually, no. Healthy pride is part of developing a secure identity, taking empowered action in your life and contributing at your highest level. So Carl Rogers, one of the greats in psychology, and in talking about the secure individual, and this is dated, so he’s talking he but of course, this applies to all of us. So according to Carl Rogers, “he is not trying to be more than he is, with the attendant feelings of insecurity or bombastic defensiveness, he is not trying to be less than he is, with the attendant feelings of guilt or self deprecation, he is increasingly listening to the deepest recesses of his physiological and emotional being, and finds himself increasingly willing to be with greater accuracy and depth, that self which he most truly is.”
Dr. Melissa Smith 1:44
So that’s, that’s a dense quote, but I really like it, because it speaks to the balance in pride, that there is a place for it, right, there is a space where that is appropriate, and actually helps us to grow to our purpose and our potential without shrinking away without puffing up. And we can be who we are. And the other thing I love about it, is it really highlights the importance of connection, right. So the deepest recesses of his physiological and emotional being, we must be connected. And of course, I’ve been talking about this with a couple of recent podcasts. And so let’s learn a little bit more about this. So when we think about healthy self esteem, right, self esteem can service and self esteem can undermine us. But when we think about cultivating healthy self esteem, it helps us to cultivate genuine relationships, skills and competencies so that you can have healthy pride in your accomplishments. There is a place for that. And that comes to us from Scott Barry Kaufman, in his great book transcend 2020 that came out in 2020. And so some of the things that I’m going to be sharing with you some of the research comes from this excellent book by Kauffman. And so of course, every week with the podcast, my goal is to help you pursue what matters by strengthening your confidence to lead in one of three areas, leading with clarity leading with curiosity, and leading and building a community. And today, primarily, we’re really focusing on leading with curiosity. So when we think about curiosity, we’re thinking about self awareness, self leadership, and self care. And cultivating healthy pride helps us to, to really live to purpose and to contribute. And so we’ve got to have awareness, we’ve got to see where we might get tripped up. And so we’re really focusing on curiosity.
Dr. Melissa Smith 3:52
So let’s take a look at what healthy pride is. So right, some forms of pride can absolutely be a productive force in our lives instead of the deadly sin. So when we think about healthy pride, it is a great motivating force for reaching personal goals. We want to feel good about our efforts, right? We want to be proud of our efforts and know that we’re doing good in the world. And it right healthy pride really helps us to make a positive difference in the world. The key though, is with how power is obtained, right? So when we think about hubristic pride, which is not helpful. The power is tends to be narcissistic. It’s all about self aggrandizement, right, so puffing ourselves up making ourselves better, and antagonism at the expense of others. So it’s hubristic pride. We will use others to meet our needs to to reach our goals right so we’re using people can feel manipulative, it’s certainly narcissistic, very self And we’re puffing ourselves up or making ourselves better. So that’s hubristic pride.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:06
But healthy pride, right? It’s balanced there’s healthy self esteem, and their genuine accomplishment. So there’s no need to puff ourselves up, there’s no need to draw attention to ourselves. And when we have healthy pride, we lose that need to puff ourselves up to make ourselves better than or less than that is a form of ego that is a form of narcissism. And so let’s now look at why cultivating healthy pride is good for you. Because it really, really is. So those who cultivate healthy pride in this comes from the research, they are friendly, they are social, they are agreeable, they’re calm, they’re resilient, they’re creative, they’re popular, and they have higher social status. And they are genuinely respected, admired, and liked by others. So this is this is good, right? Like people who cultivate healthy pride really are. They’re treasured by other people. They’re respected by other people. And you know, I had this experience recently, so I shared something to my stories. And it was a quote from charity major, so shout out to charity majors. And this was her message. She said, one time someone told me I was intimidating. My friend looked at them and said, Is she intimidating? Or are you intimidated? And from that moment on, I refuse to take responsibility for how others react to my presence. Wow, that’s powerful. And I think for many of us, so if you’re high achieving, if you’re ambitious, this can be something you really run into, I think, particularly for successful ambitious women, in order to connect with other women, sometimes we feel like we need to shy away from our accomplishments, or we need to disavow them, or we need to be self deprecating. And I love this message from charity majors. Because actually, you don’t, and you shouldn’t, you should not you should not shrink. It doesn’t mean you need to puff yourself up. We’re not we’re never talking about being better than another. But you know, when I shared that message, in my stories on Instagram, I got a DM from a good friend of mine, who’s a very successful, accomplished and ambitious woman, which I mean, as the highest compliment. And she said, I love this, I get that comment all the time. Now I have a comeback. And at that, I hope so. I hope so. And so, you know, I think what’s true is that people, people will try and project their issues on you. And you can be generous of spirit without shrinking. There’s no need to self aggrandize. But there’s also no need to hide your accomplishments to hide, to hide your passion and your ambition. And so what we find right with the research is that those who cultivate healthy pride really are very well liked, admired and respected.
Dr. Melissa Smith 8:34
So now let’s talk about healthy pride and life satisfaction. Because right, like we all want to be happy in life, we all want to be, you know, content, and at peace. And when we cultivate healthy pride, we are more satisfied with life. So in a study asking, What do you need for a satisfying life results clustered in three groups? So I think this is a really interesting study. So when we when, when people were asked the question, like what will help you to be satisfied with life, what will help you to be happy? There were three groups, the first group was identified as the status driven life. So you can imagine what these folks said that they needed for a satisfying life. So social status, money, power, high performance, achievement, impact on the world, creativity, right. So just think about the status driven, it’s like really like on the pedestal on the stage, being seen being applauded, being recognized, in all the ways that our society recognizes these things, right? social status, money, power, achievement, and so that was the first group said they need, they need status in order to be satisfied with life. The second group was identified as the security driven life and so these folks He said that in order to be satisfied with life, they need security. They need happiness. They need close relationships. Sometimes I think about this group as the introverts, though, of course, that’s not necessarily true. But they’re right. Like they’re not on the stage, they don’t need a stage. And in fact, they would probably shy away from the stage, they’re much more comfortable in the seats, right, where they have security where they have a little anonymity, where they have happiness in close relationships.
Dr. Melissa Smith 10:29
So these are the folks in the corner having a quiet conversation, a deep, lovely connecting conversation with someone, and that this, these are the things that they seek out for a satisfying life. And I think it’s important to recognize, like, no judgment around that, right like that can be absolutely a beautiful life. And then there was a third group, and this was the growth driven life. And these folks, when asked the question, what do you need for a satisfying life, they identified the following high performance, achievement, creativity, wanting to make an impact, meaning growth, close relationships, and desires to make a positive impact on the world, right. So you can be notorious and make an impact on the world, but they wanted to make a positive impact on the world. And so you can see how there is some overlap here in these groups. But they they clustered enough that they were able to identify these three groups. So if we think about the status driven life and the growth driven life, they both cared about performance, high performance, they both cared about achievement, they both cared about creativity, and impact on the world, right?
Dr. Melissa Smith 11:50
When we think about growth driven, we add to that a positive impact on the world. So there was some overlap there. And then with the security driven life and the growth driven life, there was also a little bit of overlap. So if we think about security, happiness and close relationships for the security driven folks, what overlaps with the growth driven life is meaning growth and close relationships, right. So when we can pair achievement, with connection and meaning. Let’s see what happens for wellbeing. So when they looked at these results, and these three different groups, what they found is that self actualization, so that is a term that comes from Abraham Maslow, incredible psychologists back in the day, and what he meant by self actualization is reaching your potential and being satisfied with life. So not only are you satisfied with life, but you’re moving in purpose, and you’re reaching your potential. So you’re growing, right? So self actualization was most strongly correlated most strongly related to the growth driven life. And here’s the other thing, it was totally unrelated to the status driven life. And so those who seek after status for life satisfaction, don’t tend to reach their potential, right.
Dr. Melissa Smith 13:20
So if we think about achievement, power, high performance, all of that they don’t tend to reach their potential, and they don’t tend to be satisfied with life. So the things that they think will bring them happiness actually don’t result in happiness or life satisfaction. And so I think that’s really interesting. So the individuals who reach their potential and are most satisfied with life are the growth driven individuals. So we think about meaning and contribution, we think about purpose found in service, we think about growth, they’re being growth driven, right? So self actualization and the happy life. And these things go hand in hand. And so ambition is not a problem, right? I’ve done a podcast on that not too long ago. ambition is not a problem. being proud of your efforts is not a problem. But what we want to pay attention to, and this is my invitation to you is that when we can focus on the growth driven life, then we’ll keep that pride in check. And we’ll keep it focused in the right direction. So the key is that it’s not about your selfish needs and desires. It’s not about being on the stage. It’s not about adulation, it’s not about adoration, but it’s about service. It’s about contributing and making others better. And so you might be on the stage that could be true part of making your impact could mean you’re on the stage, but it’s not about you, right. If you’re on the stage, that light is shining on you, you are reflecting that light back towards others, right towards service towards contribution. And so you know, we all have power, we all have energy, and we want to pay attention to where we are directing that. So the key really is around your intention. Is it about you? Or is it about service? Is it about selfishness, or selflessness, and when we do things, right, so this desire to achieve and to be creative and to want to make a positive impact it, those things don’t have to be totally selfless, right? Like there can be gifts for you in that process. But the key is that it’s not all about you. It’s not about you needing to be in the limelight. And so my invitation to you is to first of all, embrace healthy pride. Don’t be afraid of high performance, don’t be afraid of achievement, embrace your desires for creativity. And it’s okay to want to make an impact, right? It’s okay to, to feel like you have gifts for others, pair that pair all of those great desires with meaning and with growth and with connection. And that will really keep you in the right in the right lane as you think about growing to your potential. And so right is it about you? Or is it about service, and that’s really the key.
Dr. Melissa Smith 16:38
And so, if you want to learn more about this episode, and some of the background of the resources and research that I shared, you can head on over to my website to check out the show notes at www.drmelissasmith.com/healthypride one more time. That’s www.drmelissasmith.com/healthypride. I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work in love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai