Last Updated on November 22, 2023
Positive pride is not selfish
Have you ever loved everything about a person?
I don’t mean that new fantasy-based love in first few weeks of a new relationship.
I mean someone you’ve known for years.
You know they are imperfect and flawed.
But somehow you still love everything about them.
Not everyone has experienced this, and it’s OK if you haven’t.
But we generally consider this a positive and wonderful thing.
Self-Centered or Self-Love?
When it comes to ourselves though, it would be weird to say, “I love everything about myself.”
If someone said that, we’d wonder if they were a narcissist!
But there is a big difference between narcissism and positive pride.
A narcissist cannot receive negative feedback about their behavior.
And thus they cannot learn.
This is because of a deep shame, a deep insecurity driving their experience.
We all experience shame sometimes, there’s no shame in feeling shame!
And the cure for shame is — you guessed it — love!
We could call it self-compassion, forgiveness, kindness, or even positive pride.
When we can really see the good in ourselves, we can transform shame.
Then we can also more easily take feedback that helps us improve and grow.
Because it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being open to learning.
Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken
One of the key differences between narcissism and truly loving yourself is that loving yourself is not a competition.
It’s not about me being better or worse than anyone else.
Loving myself doesn’t take away from loving other people.
I can love what is unique and wonderful about myself and what is unique and wonderful about someone else.
There is no standard we are comparing to.
No expectations to meet or not meet.
So it’s really saying, “You are OK just the way you are.”
When we really get this, we feel secure in ourselves.
Paradoxically we can both accept negative feedback, and we can also reject criticism, judgements, and blame.
Because we know our worth, our values, what matters to us.
And we also know that we are capable of improvement.
Many neurodivergent people struggle to “put themselves out there.”
In the past maybe we have been bullied, misunderstood, judged, or told to be quiet.
When we’ve expressed positive pride, we’ve been told we are full of ourselves.
So perhaps we’ve become “people pleasers” or developed a false humility.
These are survival strategies to avoid being punished for being different.
But the truth is, we are different.
And different is good!
The different are the ones who can make a difference.
The world needs us to do our weird thing.
By focusing on our strengths, gifts, and positive qualities, we can gain the confidence to get “out there” and do our work.
Your voice matters.
Your unique way of seeing the world is important.
What would change if you were to really take that in?
Until next time,