How to Be Proud of Who You Are

Two Methods:Challenging Negative ThoughtsBuilding Yourself Up

Pride and self-confidence come from healthy self-esteem, the positive beliefs that you hold about yourself, your talents, and your accomplishments. Low self-esteem can cause you to feel bad about yourself. Low self-esteem can also make it hard to feel proud of yourself, and may even cause serious mental health issues.[1] To improve your ability to feel proud of yourself, you can use some simple strategies to challenge negative thoughts and build up your confidence.

Method 1
Challenging Negative Thoughts

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    Identify something that you are grateful for. Comparing yourself to others is a common type of negative thinking. This practice can make it hard to feel any pride in yourself. If you notice that you are comparing yourself to others, it might help you to stop for a moment and identify something that you are grateful for.[2]
    • For example, when searching for something to feel grateful for, you might identify your good health or a loyal friend. Focus on this thing or person for a few minutes to get yourself into a more positive mindset. Consider why you so are grateful for this thing or person.
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    Move away from the source of your negative thoughts. Sometimes a simple change of scenery might help you to stop thinking negative thoughts. If you have been stuck in a negative rut for a while, get up and go somewhere else.
    • For example, you could try taking a walk outside or sitting in a different room of your house for a while.[3]
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    Remind yourself that everyone has flaws. Sometimes negative thoughts may stem from a belief that you have flaws and no one else does. Try to remind yourself that everyone has flaws, even if you cannot see them.[4]
    • For example, an office mate might seem like she has it all, but that person might be dealing with some serious personal issues that you know nothing about.
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    Stand up for yourself. No one has the right to hurt, insult, or intimidate you. If you are being bullied or criticized in a way that is interfering with your pride, then you may need to reach out to someone such as a teacher, counselor, or human resources manager to stand up for yourself.
    • Remember that people who bully and criticize others often do so because they are insecure about themselves. Realizing that someone who is picking on you may be lashing out because of their own person pain and problems may help you to cope with it a bit better.[5] The criticism is not so much about you, then, as it is about their own feelings of inadequacy.
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    Learn to accept constructive criticism. Although you should defend yourself against insults, it is important to be open to constructive criticism. Criticism can be hard to hear, even when it is constructive. Learning how to accept and respond to constructive criticism can help you to improve yourself and this can be a great source of pride.[6]
    • Try to suppress your first reaction when getting criticism. Thank the person. Then, face what they have said head on. Spend some time over one or two days considering the criticism. Ask yourself what you can learn from the criticism?
    • Say that you get an essay back from a professor. You are hurt to find that your grade is a C- and that the instructor says your “ideas are hard to follow.” Rather than becoming angry, reread the paper with a fresh mind. It seemed clear enough when you wrote it. Is it still clear on a second read? Try to understand the criticism rather than pushing it away.
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    Turn negative thoughts into productive questions. Black and white, worst case scenario thinking is not rational or good for you. But you can make negative thoughts into productive questions that will help you to grow and succeed. The next time that you have a negative thought, try turning it into a question that will help you to work towards a goal.
    • For example, if you find yourself thinking, “I’ll never find a new job,” stop and challenge that thought. It's not a fact, and it is coming from an unreliable source (your anxiety). Instead of accepting this negative thought, turn it into a question, such as, “What can I do to give myself the best chance of getting an interview?”[7]
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    Stay away from negative people. Put space between yourself and people who are often critical or negative about you. If possible, try to avoid these people and surround yourself with positive people instead. Sometimes it might not be possible to avoid a negative person, such as your boss or a close family member. In those cases, you may need to build yourself up before or after an encounter with the person.[8]
    • Try positive self-talk. Before or after an encounter with a difficult person, it might help you to look yourself in the mirror and give yourself a compliment. For example, you could say something like, “You are smart, capable, and hard-working!”
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    Seek the help of a therapist. If you find that overcoming negative thoughts is a constant struggle, talk to a licensed mental health professional. You might need some guidance to help you work through problems and to feel better about yourself. A therapist can help you to overcome negative thinking and may also help you to determine if you are depressed or struggling with a different mental health issue.

Method 2
Building Yourself Up

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    Visualize yourself succeeding. Visualizing yourself succeeding at something may also help to boost your confidence. Try to think of a time when you did feel confident and self-assured and recreate that moment in your head. Or, imagine yourself succeeding at something that you hope to achieve. You can repeat this process any time that you need a boost of confidence.
    • Make sure that you imagine yourself succeeding with as much detail as possible. How do you look? Who else is there? How do you feel? What do you say?[9]
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    Stand up straight and walk with confidence. The way that you carry yourself can make a big difference in how confident you feel.[10] Try to stand up as straight as you can and maintain good posture when you walk as well. To maintain good posture, it might help you to imagine that you are balancing something on your head as you walk.
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    Dress up. The way you feel about how you look can affect your confidence, so dress in clothes that make you feel good about your appearance.[11] Choose clothes that fit well, flatter your body, and are of good quality.
    • Try to dress in clothes that suit the occasion as well. For example, if you are going to a job interview, then a suit or wear-to-work dress would make you feel more confident than a t-shirt and jeans.
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    Keep a success journal. Focusing on the good parts of your life can help you to feel more confident and happy as well. Take a few minutes each day to write down something that went well for you. For example, you might write down a recent accomplishment and the skills that you’ve used to deal with hard situations.[12]
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    Make a list of your strengths and achievements. It might help you to make a list of all of your achievements, even ones that you may consider minor. People who lack self-confidence often focus more on failures than accomplishments, so it might be helpful to force yourself to look at the positives sometimes.[13]
    • Think about why you are proud of these accomplishments as well. Identifying the reasons why some things make you feel proud may help you to feel proud when you have other similar accomplishments.[14]
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    Share your accomplishments now and then. Telling others about something that you did that made you feel proud is a healthy way to show your pride and gain support from others as well. Taking a moment to share your accomplishments now and then will make you feel better about yourself and may help to take your mind off of what other people might think of you.[15]
    • For example, you could post a photo of yourself holding an award that you received for your grades or tell your friends at the gym that you improved your mile time.
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    Use hopeful statements to build yourself up. Try to treat yourself with kindness rather than beating yourself up all of the time. For example, if you have a presentation coming up that has you worried, don’t tell yourself things like “I am going fail.” Instead, tell yourself something like, “This is going to be difficult, but I know that I can handle it.”[16]
    • Also, remember that you are probably much tougher on yourself than you need to be. For example, you may beat yourself up for losing your place during a presentation, but your peers won’t care and may not even have noticed.[17]
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    Forgive yourself. Remember that it is important to forgive yourself when you make a mistake. Refusing to forgive yourself can interfere with your ability to be proud of yourself, so try to forgive yourself as soon as possible.[18]
    • For example, rather than blaming yourself, try to tell yourself something like, “I made a mistake, but that’s okay. I am still a smart, capable person.”
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    Encourage yourself to do better. To stay proud of yourself even when things do not go your way, you will need to get into the habit of encouraging yourself. If something does not go the way that you had planned, try to readjust your expectations and encourage yourself to do better next time.
    • For example, if a school project does not get the grade that you hoped for, you might tell yourself something like, “My project wasn’t perfect but the other students still seemed interested and asked questions. That means that I met my basic goal.”[19]

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Categories: Emotional Health