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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

How A Little Bit of Pride Can Bring A Positive Force To Your Life

How A Little Bit of Pride Can Bring A Positive Force To Your Life

Nobody likes a show off. Pride is a double-edged sword. When you aren’t proud enough, you have trouble feeling successful. If you’re too proud, people mistake you for a narcissist. Are there ever times when pride is a good thing?

Today, we’ll take a look at the different types of pride and how it manifests itself. Pride is more than meets the eye, and you may discover some ways that pride is beneficial for us.

When pride goes wrong

Nothing in excess is ever a good thing–even a sense of pride. Pride is often negative because it puts emphasis on the ego and self at the expense of the group.

Too much praise can inflate a person’s ego and create a drive for external validation. If you rely solely on external praise for motivation, you’ll have a hard time with self-motivation. Enjoying undeserved praise can also get you into the bad habit of bragging to elicit praise.

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People with too much pride develop a sense of superiority over others. When an individual is too proud, they may also be unwilling to ask for help, which can make their lives miserable. For these reasons, we generally don’t like to be around people who are too proud.

Pride doesn’t have to be all bad, though. It’s healthy to give and receive praise when it’s been earned. It’s important to offer appreciation when someone does something well, and it’s equally crucial to be appreciated.[1] As long as people accept praise with a balance of pride and humility, there’s nothing wrong with being recognized for doing a good job.

5 reasons to enjoy the positive side of pride

1. You’ll hold high standards

Individuals who take pride in their work are more likely to have higher-quality outputs.[2]

2. You can push back against negativity

When something doesn’t work out the way you want it to, you need some pride to keep going. Pride makes you resilient.[3]

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3. It’s a sign that you care

If you don’t take pride in what you’re doing, you probably don’t care about it.

4. Pride spurs leadership

When you really care about something, you’re willing to fight for it. If a project, organization, or place is in jeopardy, a proud person will become a leader to protect it.[4]

5. Proud people look after their families

When you’re proud of your family, you go to bat for them. You try to give them the best things in life, and you won’t allow them to suffer in poor conditions.

How to use pride to your advantage

As long as you nurture the positive aspects of pride and keep your ego in check, pride can be a real asset. Remember, pride is about setting high standards, living up to them, and avoiding narcissism.

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Hang with the right crowd

There are many ways to nurture pride and avoid selfishness. Surrounding yourself with the right kinds of people can go a long way to putting you on the right path. It’s been said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, after all.

The right kind of people are the ones who will provide support and encouragement, but they’ll be honest with you. People who dole out praise when it isn’t deserved can over-inflate your ego. If you spend time with individuals who offer appreciation when you’ve done something well, they can help you build up a healthy sense of self.

Stay humble

You can feel a sense of pride and still show humility. Just because you do something well, doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way to brag or seek praise. Be comfortable with knowing that you are doing your best work without having to have validation from outside sources.

Try new things

When you try something new, you give yourself permission to not be the best at something. Whether you’re setting out on a new creative endeavor or developing a fresh skill set, pick something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. This will remind you what it’s like to be a beginner, and when you do master that skill, you will feel the pride of having achieved something new.

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Do what you love

People need more external validation when they are unsatisfied with their work. For example, if you despise your job, you might develop an inflated ego to protect yourself from negative feelings. Work doesn’t always have to be fun, but you should derive some satisfaction from it without having to brag and seek rewards all the time.

Take time for self-reflection

Stopping to think about who you are, what you value, and how you’re feeling about life should be ongoing practices. Build in some time to think about how you feel. Are you noticing tendencies that suggest that your level of pride has become selfish?

By monitoring your feelings, you can adjust before extreme pridefulness damages your life. Create a plan of action for when you feel that you have developed an unhealthy ego. If you have trouble recognizing these things in yourself, look to a trusted friend or loved one to steer you in the right direction. The people you have the closest relationships with will have no problem telling you if you’re full of yourself.

Do something outside of yourself

Use your skills to help others. This could mean taking a new co-worker under your wing or volunteering your time in the service of those who need it. Serving others keeps you grounded, and it gives your life meaning. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can make the world a better place in small ways.

It’s okay to feel accomplished

There’s nothing wrong with believing in your ability and feeling good when you’ve done something well. Even as you advance, remember to stay grounded.

Reference

[1]Wholistic Fit Living: When pride is good
[2]Changing Minds: Pride
[3]Debate.org: Is Pride a Bad Thing?
[4]Lifestyle Magazine: 19 Reasons pride is important in a man

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Anna Chui

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Published on July 13, 2018

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

What is attachment theory?

Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

How attachment develops

Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

Different types of attachments

In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

  • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
  • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
  • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
  • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

What attachments mean to adults

So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

  • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
  • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
  • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
  • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

Here’s where it gets really interesting:

Move towards secure attachment

The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

How to restructure your thoughts

Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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For the Avoidant Style

As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

For the Anxious Style

For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

For the Secure Style

Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

Strive towards Secure Attachment

As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

  • Positive self esteem and self image
  • Close and well adjusted relationships
  • Sense of security in self and the world
  • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
  • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
  • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
  • Trust in self and others
  • Close, intimate relationships
  • Strong determination and problem solving skills

If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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