On the one hand, pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Pride goeth before the fall and all that.
On the other hand, in American society today you're expected to be able to talk up your positive attributes, highlight your accomplishments, and generally make it clear that you're the best one for the job, the elected position, the starring role in a reality TV show, hell, even the best potential spouse on The Bachelor.
Somewhere between the extreme conformism of the Amish and the uber-hype of celebrities there has to be a middle ground, an area in which it's okay to talk about your accomplishments without being considered a braggart.
I've mentioned before that my little family seems to be heavily influenced by our Puritanical societal ancestors. If you're idle, you're being lazy and wasting time, for one thing. There seems to be a similar bent with regards to pride. I've really noticed that tendency over the past year as I've pushed those limits a bit more than some are comfortable with.
Yesterday afternoon I went for a run. I really didn't want to - it was cold and I was tired. I forced myself out the door figuring I could just walk if necessary and ended up having one of my best runs ever. I went five miles, and for the first time I averaged under 11 minutes per mile, a goal I've had for a long time. I was so excited when I got home that I announced my accomplishment to all (Hubby, Mom, and Mom's friend). A bit later, I quietly commented to Hubby that I was very proud of myself. His response? An acerbic, "Yes, you've certainly made that abundantly clear."
I've noticed over the past year or so that although Hubby may be equally proud of me or impressed with what I've accomplished, he seems to disapprove of my saying that I'm proud of myself. Now, I admit, I've been quite proud of a number of my physical accomplishments over the past year, and I haven't been shy about sharing my excitement, especially at home. I further admit that I partly do so because I'd like some overt "atta girls" from my spouse, approbation that is otherwise seldom expressed. My intention is not to brag.
So where is that middle ground? When and where is it okay to be excited about your accomplishments and talk about them? Or maybe the correct question is: how much can you talk about your accomplishments without sounding like a braggart?
"They" say that one problem girls and women have in trying to get ahead in the business world is that we're trained from a very young age not to brag or express pride in ourselves. Consider how most women react to a compliment, whether on their appearance or accomplishments. We tend to brush it off saying, "Oh, it's nothing," when really, it was something. Sometimes we work very hard to deserve those compliments. If we can't talk about what we do well, who will?
Now, it's probably not important to brag about talk up every five miles I run, but what about a new piece of art I create or a story I get published? If I don't announce such things to the world, who will? And for my creative endeavors to ever be monetarily successful, people have to know about them. Ditto for acknowledging my work accomplishments if I want to get ahead in my career. Somehow we all have to be able to present our best selves to the world, to be able to say, "hey, I worked hard and I really did something great."
What do you think? How do you walk that fine line between pride and braggadocio?