What is pride?
October 26, 2019 9:03 PM   Subscribe

Someone I love dearly, and who loves me, and who's opinions I hold in high regard says that I don't have enough pride. Assuming we're not talking hubris and ego, what does pride feel like, or look like?

When asked to clarify, like what do I have to be proud of? She mentioned things like all I've been through and overcome, and I can't say I'm *not* proud of that, but I'm not really sure what being proud of that would look or feel like.

I always tell her how much I'd like to take her out and proudly show her off. She says she wants me to be proud of me and show myself off? I told her that I honestly don't know how. She hadn't considered that a possibility and struggled to articulate further.

What am I missing? I mean, I don't think I project a lack of confidence, but that's apparently not what she meant. So I turn to you, humans of the internet. What does pride mean to you? What does it feel like? What does it look like, without being a pretentious, egotistic jerk?
posted by MuChao to Human Relations (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you a dude and are you guys dating? I’m smelling a sexist “be a strong man” buried in there.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:34 PM on October 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


For me, it's taking time to take care of the details - be it for my health, by eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, (ultimately taking care of myself)... which then translates to presenting myself in a clean and positive manner.

Pride can also be in noticing all the little things around the house or with my vehicle that could use cleaning, fixing, or upgrading, and just doing them without complaining about how hard it is to do it, or how much it costs, (or just plain procrastinating) - I choose to do it because I like it better to have everything maintained properly, and aestheticly pleasing (aesthetics can also make a person feel better because it's less clutter in the thoughts about simply having to maneuver around a mess) - it's less expensive to be proactive, and it feels good to be on top of it.

I can't always be on top of everything like I was a couple of decades ago, but for the most part, I do what I can, and I am proud of that. I could be discouraged with how much less I'm able to do, but instead, I work towards regaining my strength and stamina so that I can manage well enough - and be gentle with myself. I hope this helps to round out a perspective of 'pride' that doesn't equate with 'ego'...
posted by itsflyable at 9:44 PM on October 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


When I say I am proud of myself, it is when I able to own my accomplishments and share them. It is a joyful feeling. So, it is not just confident that I can do something but more about be willing to show the good feeling when I have done it. It also is more genuine, not insecure or mean or egotistical, not comparing or trying to put anyone else down.

No idea if this is the same thing that you significant other means - just my personal take on it.
posted by metahawk at 9:45 PM on October 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


What did you mean by taking her out and showing her off? Is that specifically what she might have been responding to, saying whatever you wanted to do there you shouldn't need her for?
posted by Lady Li at 11:04 PM on October 26, 2019 [18 favorites]


Pride is knowing that you have a place in the universe, and knowing something about what that place is. (Not everything -- were humans after all, not lions.)

Pride is like confidence, but resting on your history and accomplishments: knowing that you have helped make this this and it's good that happened.

Pride is the willingness to make choices and take responsibility for them.

Pride is understanding that you have a responsibility to uphold your corner of the world, and understanding you have had the strength to do that in the past.

Pride is acknowledging that you are loved, not because you are better or more or have this or that, but just because you are you, the only one of you in the world, and the world needs you (as it needs everyone).
posted by Winnie the Proust at 11:13 PM on October 26, 2019 [10 favorites]


I always tell her how much I'd like to take her out and proudly show her off.
You know this is kind of toxic, don't you? Other people are not trophies to represent your success in getting them to date you. Think deeply about what you mean by this statement. Show them off to whom? Who are you trying to impress? If you think through this, you might get a better idea of things a person might be proud of about themselves.
posted by Thella at 12:07 AM on October 27, 2019 [32 favorites]


The friend might see you as someone who lets other people take advantage of you where as you dont feel put out by the perceived affront. Someone who doesnt have "pride" would be someone who doesnt hold any particular work involved for friends or time spent in doing said work in high regard so would be made a fool of in most circles. The comment may have been made after seeing someone lack proper reciprocation or appreciation.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 1:51 AM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


I always tell her how much I'd like to take her out and proudly show her off.

Hmm that’s a bit ick, particularly if you’re a guy. That’s not pride, it’s vanity and it’s tacky.

When you say you want to show her off, you are deriving self confidence from an external possession. Whatever qualities she has that makes you think you can show her off actually have nothing to do with you. That’s all her.

Pride is deriving self confidence and self respect from your own accomplishments and qualities. It doesn’t mean you think you are better than anyone else. Other people actually have little to do with pride. It’s about how you feel about yourself. And how you feel about yourself will then impact how you carry yourself, how you talk to others, and how you behave with others.

I like a quote from Pride and Prejudice on this matter and why I described your statement as vanity. It’s from the character Mary who is usually an insufferable stick in the mud but I think she says something pretty spot on here:

A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.
posted by like_neon at 2:54 AM on October 27, 2019 [15 favorites]


I agree with those above that it's important to read this person's suggestion to "be proud of yourself" as a counterpoint to your stated desire to "show them off."

Even if you think of yourself as confident, wanting to "show off" anything is generally interpreted as a mark of insecurity. When we try to show off, it says we're so fundamentally unsure of our own status/value that we're anxious to win affirmation from other people.

When you try to "show off" a person, it's worse. Now, not only are you insecure and using them as a kind of ego-boosting mechanism for yourself; you're also implying that you value the relationship at least partly for its ability to add to your own status (gross) and that you value the person mostly for whatever superficial quality you're positing as show-off-able about them (generally, their appearance or social standing-- also gross).

If this is a romantic relationship, many people respond better to the idea of being wanted by an already secure, high-status partner (on whatever status ladder-- could include "moral fiber" or "resilience") than needed by a low-status one. If your partner wants you to show more "pride," they might be suggesting it'd be sexy if you were more secure in your own achievements and worth, more at peace with yourself as a person, so that you'd be at liberty to attend fully to them as a separate person in their own right.
posted by Bardolph at 3:28 AM on October 27, 2019 [13 favorites]


She mentioned things like all I've been through and overcome, and I can't say I'm *not* proud of that, but I'm not really sure what being proud of that would look or feel like.

Without knowing specifically what those things are, my guess is she might want you to be more open about what those things are.

Guessing based on your question history, it might have something to do with not coming from a rich family. Someone who has self-confidence but isn't proud of their background might be charming on dates in the city but hesitate to bring a date home to meet the family. Having more pride in that background might look inviting a friend or partner to Mom's house, someone you can trust not to judge the home or the food, or if they do get judgy you proudly stand up for Mom and family and background.

If you have a marginalized identity or disability, she may be suggesting that you make less of an effort to hide it. You might want to consider very carefully whether she is in a position to understand how unsafe that can be, and whether you can trust her judgment in that regard.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 4:11 AM on October 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


Ask her for examples of pride in other people. Then ask her what the kind of pride she's talking about would look like if you exhibited it.

Not so you can just start doing it, but so you can understand what she's talking about, and then decide if that's what you want to do.
posted by bunderful at 6:30 AM on October 27, 2019


I would add that pride is recognizing your own value and behaving as though you have that value. In conversation, that can mean behaving as though your opinion is as valid as anyone else's. Physically, it can mean taking care of yourself (toward your own goals--I wear jeans and sneakers every day and no makeup, but I am neat and smiling).

It might mean treating people like your peers rather than your superiors when you meet them socially. It's hard to tell, not knowing you, but it's a basic kind of confidence that who you are is good enough, even when you're working to improve yourself.
posted by gideonfrog at 6:32 AM on October 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


I’m proud of what I’ve done in life (well, a lot of it) but culturally I was trained to be very self-effacing. It’s what polite people do.

You may be the same way and what she is reacting to is what she hears as you denigrating your own accomplishments. What she may be asking for is for you to stop being self-effacing about what you’ve achieved.

(I know, yuck, right?)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:08 AM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think the concept of pride can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, but I'm gonna go with the vibe I'm getting related to the idea of "be proud and show yourself off" and the fact that this is seemingly a romantic relationship situation. Did you come from a poor or working class background and have moved up in wealth/class or status? Maybe a situation where you're now middle or upper class but still driving an economy car or living in a cheap place or wearing cheap clothes, that kind of thing? Again, I could be totally off-base and I don't want to make your friend sound materialistic, but that's the vibe I got based on what you described.
posted by primalux at 7:51 AM on October 27, 2019


You really have to talk to her about what she means. There will not be any helpful consensus among internet strangers.

I have had "pride" invoked as the reason I should get a buzz cut, wear more white-yuppie clothes, and shine my shoes. I've also had "pride" invoked as the reason I should flout the above dress code. The concrete manifestation of pride depends entirely on the situation at hand and on the speaker's agenda within that situation.

In case your username reflects any Asian heritage, and you are a man dating a white woman, I will say that the traditional performance of masculinity in Chinese and many Sinosphere cultures include elements that read as weak, effeminate, and submissive by Western standards, especially in the teens to twenties crowd. For example, valuing academic studies over athletics and dating, caring for family members, deferring to one's elders. So, yes, this could well be a "be a man (by my standards)" sort of situation.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:29 AM on October 27, 2019


Just to show how varying the idea of pride can be, in Christianity, it’s one of the seven deadly sins, right up there with sloth, envy, and wrath.

I’ve also never understood how people can be proud of something they had no influence over, e.g., proud to be Irish, Italian, American, though in marginalized groups, it can make sense as meaning not being ashamed of something others think you should be ashamed of.

So it’s a tricky word and yes, you need to ask. Maybe she can clarify it more after having time to think a bit.
posted by FencingGal at 8:53 AM on October 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


As always, Metafilter comes through with good insight and gives me a lot to think about.

For those wondering about the gender dynamic, she's trans; I'm afab, masc-of-center enby. When I say I want to "show her off", I did not consider how toxic that could sound, and I appreciate you pointing it out to me. What I really meant by it is that I see how far she's come, and how amazing she is, and I think her beauty should be shared with the world. But I get it, that's not for me to decide, it's not for me to share.

As for "pride'... some of it may be that she's more extroverted, whereas I'm a major introvert?

Winnie the Proust : "Pride is knowing that you have a place in the universe, and knowing something about what that place is. (Not everything -- were humans after all, not lions.)"
I have been struggling with this a lot lately.

like_neon: A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.
LOVE this quote!

Tell Me No Lies I’m proud of what I’ve done in life (well, a lot of it) but culturally I was trained to be very self-effacing. It’s what polite people do.
I think you hit a nail on the head here. I do have a tendency to downplay my accomplishments and deflect compliments.

FencingGal I’ve also never understood how people can be proud of something they had no influence over, e.g., proud to be Irish, Italian, American
Just wanna say, I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Thank you ALL for such insight and helping direct my thoughts in productive directions. I come from a pretty dysfunctional background, and I'm not sure I've ever had a healthy role model for pride. You have given me a better foundation for thinking about this and eventually revisiting this discussion with my girlfriend.

I will continue to watch, and re-read this thread for some time, I'm sure. Thank you again!
posted by MuChao at 9:20 AM on October 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


This is a fascinating discussion.

As a datapoint, I have an older male relative who often says, "Have some pride in yourself."

This was almost always in the context of a man who drank too much, ate too much, wasted their money, lived off relatives without contributing, let relatives live off them (and take advantage of them), let a mid-life crisis get out of control, that sort of thing. In his case, pride is not vain or boastful, but comes from the protestant work ethic and those values.

I'm not saying that the person in your life is accusing you of these things specifically; but that pride means different things to different people. Who knows, maybe they have their own subjective or specific idea of pride.

And I'll second what FencingGal said
>So it’s a tricky word and yes, you need to ask.
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:21 AM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


« Older Should I bother reapplying?   |   Seeking L'Occitane Almond Milk Veil Body Lotion... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments