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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

More by this author

Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on October 30, 2019

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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