How to Be Proud of Yourself (and Why It’s So Important)

Learn about the importance of self-worth and how you can build up your confidence
Published April 14, 2016

Being proud of yourself is just another way of saying you have a strong sense of self-worth. People who are proud of themselves tend to have a great passion for life, feel content and grateful, and are excellent at motivating others. Many women are blessed with this predisposed nature to be nurturing, caring and encouraging of our loved ones, but in a strange twist of irony, often sabotage their ability to feel proud of their own accomplishments.

“Women tend to be caretakers and focus more on other's happiness than their own,” says Nicole McCance, a Toronto psychotherapist. “This is usually something that is learned from childhood. Women tend to feel guilty when they are focusing on themselves. Some don’t think they deserve happiness. Once they realize that they are worthy of feeling good, and they learn how to be kinder to themselves, they notice that they are even better spouses and mothers because they have filled their own 'love tank' first.”

Feeling proud of yourself will only motivate you to move forward with your short-term and long-term goals, therefore increasing your feeling of contentment. Otherwise, ”You deprive yourself of feeling happy and proud, empowered and strong, and this can cause general dissatisfaction about yourself and life in general,” says McCance. “It can be a vicious cycle, one of striving to get somewhere but when you are there you don’t feel the happiness you expected.”

Do you feel proud of yourself? Try using these tips to help build your confidence.

Know your self-worth
When you’re struggling with changing a habit or comparing yourself to someone else on Facebook.

“It all comes down to self-worth,” says Caird Urquhart, president of New Road Coaching, a firm for one-on-one lifestyle coaching. “Do you feel worthy of losing weight and making yourself feel better? It's easy to look at someone and think they’re worthy of looking good and having a good life. You need to know that you are too. I think women have to start looking at themselves and say, ‘Yeah, I am worthy of being the best person I can be. I am reaching a high standard for myself. I am worthy of that.’”

Figure out your values
“I talk to clients a lot about values,” says Urquhart. “Really, what gets you up in the morning? What is truly yours and what do you believe in and value? If you value honesty and you truly believe you are an honest person and you tell a little fib one day, then immediately your sense of self-worth drops because you have broken one of your top values and you have strayed from who you are. So it is important to figure out what your values are.”

Urquhart recommends coming up with a top five list to keep it simple. “Once you make list of values and you begin to follow them, then that will help begin to build your sense of self-worth and the pride will follow because you will be able to say, ‘I stuck with them and I feel really good about that.’”

List the things you are already proud of
Maybe you haven’t completed a half-marathon or climbed Mount Everest, but chances are you definitely have things in your life that you can be proud of. “Accomplishments are idiosyncratic,” says McCance. “If you feel that you have accomplished a goal, then you have. Goals are different for everyone and how we get there is also different.”

Urquhart suggests making a list of things that you are already proud of, starting with what you have accomplished today. “People will say, ‘I came up with nothing.’ But, really, when you break it down, you can come up with ten things in a day that you are proud of. Look at things like: did you make your bed for the first time this week? Be proud of that. Did you eat strawberries instead of chips? Be proud of that. It’s the small things that start to add up and it starts to create momentum in the right direction.”

Make small, incremental goals
Having a sense of pride often comes from achieving a goal, but as Urquhart points out, a goal needn’t be monumental for you to feel good about it.

“What often happens is we set these grandiose goals and then when we don’t achieve them, that’s when we feel bad about ourselves and that’s what lowers our self esteem.” Urquhart recommends setting five small goals per day, max. “It doesn’t have to be two hours of cardio. It can be walking to the store. It can be wearing clothes that make you feel good. It can be simple things that are going towards the direction where you want to go.” 

The important thing is to create the types of goals that can get you excited about achieving them. “Every time you accomplish that goal, you think, ‘Yeah, I can do this. I can keep going.’ And that is important because it creates momentum,” says Urquhart. “The pride comes from building and achieving from that momentum.”