Praising the self has kind of a bad rap. It smacks – or so insist many – of pride, egotism, perhaps even selfishness. And so we often learn – and possibly at a very young age – to abstain from praising the self. Or if we do, we feel guilty. And of course if we don’t praise the self, how can we possibly love the self?
Let’s focus for a moment on a young mother or father. Their 11-month-old baby is just barely beginning to attempt the move from his hands and knees to his pudgy little legs. He grabs on to the furniture, to his mother’s dress, to his father’s trousers, all in an attempt to raise himself to his feet. And what happens? He is given praise. His parents are beside themselves with pride and joy about his accomplishment. The baby feels good about himself. And in part because of all the applause and the inner feeling of confidence that comes with it, as well as with his own inner feeling good about himself, he soon succeeds in his endeavour and before you know it, he’s running, then he’s on a tricycle, and then on a bike off to school.
Simple analogy, but something for you to consider deeply. Praising the self is not selfish, nor is it about an unhealthy or bad pride. Praising the self comes from love of the self. Love of the self is not something that should be eradicated from the character. Quite the contrary: love of the self is one of the most, if not the most life-giving and health-supporting thing you can do for yourself.
So go ahead: look at your past and make a list of all those things you have done that make you proud. Perhaps not something that will appear in the Wall Street Journal, or even the local paper. But things that have given you pride in yourself and that have caused you to like and love that one that you are just a bit more. Look at that list often. It is so infinitely more important to examine the list at length than it is to examine your problems. Healthy self-love and pride of self are furthermore the gateways to compassion and love for all others.
What are you proud about today? And how are you loving yourself today?
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