Pride & Prowess (an in-between-blogs blog)

April 1, 2010

I recently had a conversation with someone who said I couldn’t be proud of myself for my accomplishments because it was a sin.  So setting aside my distaste for the judgement, and the religious connotation, I had a conversation about it with her.  I wanted to bring some of the talking points here.  Because if she could think that way, certainly others can too and I want to clear up the muck around the misuse of the word.

First, I want to make a distinction. The kind of pride to which I will be referring in this article is the positive kind, not the negative, boastful or arrogant kind of pride. I know that many of us grew up with the teaching that to take pride in anything to do with ourselves was bad, sinful or evil. I’m going to push against that a little bit in this post and tell you, if you haven’t already figured out the difference for yourself, that there are different kinds of pride and they’re not all bad, sinful or evil. Some are beneficial.  Here are definitions I found from various sources like Webster, Cambridge and my ever faithful Macbook dictionary…

Pride:

  • a form of dignity (as in swallowing one’s pride)
  • a form of self-respect (as in taking pride in one’s appearance or protecting oneself from indecent behavior)
  • a form of deep pleasure or satisfaction in something (as in being proud of an accomplishment)
  • a form of arrogance, self-importance, high opinion of oneself, holding oneself as better than others (not the one I am discussing here)

Exactly what is prowess? I think most of us have heard of prowess when watching a show on Discovery and they talk about the agility and hunting ability of animals in the wild.  But the word isn’t locked in to describing just lions and tigers and bears.

Prowess:

  • expertise or ability
  • courage or bravery

Everyone has prowess in the form of expertise of some kind or another. We all have wisdom and in-depth knowledge about something, are very good at something and are uniquely qualified for something.  This is our prowess.  It could be your job, your hobby, your parenting skills, your ability to talk to people in a way that makes them feel good.  It’s not necessarily an obvious thing for everyone, but every single one of us is an expert at something!

Everyone should be able to be proud of something they have accomplished.  Anything at all.  It doesn’t have to be big; it can be a little.  This is the good pride.  Did you help someone?  Were you great on an interview?  Did you get a good grade on a test you thought you might fail?  Did you get a promotion, get a great client, or accomplish a goal?

If we have accomplished something, especially relating to our prowess, and cannot be proud of it, what would make us want to do it again?  Money? Sure, but this isn’t everything, and I don’t know how successful we can be if we aren’t proud of our accomplishments and able to market our prowess.  Recognition?  Maybe, but if we aren’t proud of ourselves, who is going to give us recognition for our prowess?  How far would we get without a little pride?  On the flipside, we won’t get too far at all if we’re full of ourselves either.  It’s pride minus the arrogance.

So I shed some light on the topic of pride.  It is helpful in the right dosage.  And I hope I shared something new with you about prowess too – we all have it in one area or another.

If you aren’t settled with what your expertise/prowess is, sift through your life, and all the things you do from the little day to day things to the big things.  And see what you might come up with.  You might have an expertise in more than one area!  You might be wise in all things law related, but you might be an expert at knitting too!

And perhaps you’ll find comfort in being proud of your accomplishments, knowing it isn’t wrong.

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On Air
April 26, 2010 at 1:22 PM

{ 3 comments }

Giovanna April 18, 2010 at 7:26 PM

Comments are always welcome!

jjMichael April 21, 2010 at 1:14 PM

I shouldn’t be surprizing so hard at that.

Giovanna April 24, 2010 at 9:08 AM

@jjMichael- Thank you for reading and commenting.

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