By Laura Kohler
What have you done recently that you’re really proud of? And who have you told? When people ask you about your job, your home, your hobbies, do you qualify your statements somehow? Do you take pride in these things? Do you take pride in yourself?
When I was a teenager, my parents made the long drive to take me to university. Starting with the customs person, every person who asked what we were doing in the UK was met with the same response from my father: my daughter’s going to Oxford. I squirmed as I felt he was bragging about my achievement. But he wasn’t bragging: he was proud. His daughter. My accomplishment reflected back on his parenting.
Today, when someone asks me where I went to university, I’m evasive. “The UK. It was free for me to study back then because the EU paid my fees.” I have to be careful, because it’s not always seen as an accomplishment. An honest response on my part has been met with, “Well, you don’t have to brag about it.” More than once.
So when did an accomplishment, something I was proud of, something I worked hard for, become something I have to hide? Why do I feel the need to bury an inoffensive truth under layers of evasion?
Modesty, humbleness is the goal; it’s something to be valued. Pride cometh before the fall. And yet, why shouldn’t we be proud of our accomplishments? There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging what we’ve wrought. The homes we’ve made, the families we’ve raised, the businesses we’ve started, the PRs we’ve broken: these are all things we should be proud of. We have worked hard to be successful. We’ve fought; we’ve built; we’ve sacrificed. Like my father, we are proud of our children and have no trouble extolling their virtues (often to excess), but we struggle when it comes to being proud of ourselves.
There is a distinction, somewhere, between bragging and pride. Pride is the acknowledgement of a job well done, whereas implicit in bragging is a comparison: look at what I have that you don’t. When we are proud of ourselves, we complete the circuit internally; we don’t need outside validation. We can be proud side by side: look at the business I have grown; look at the business you have grown; they are both amazing. When we brag, we put ourselves above others. My house is bigger. My car is nicer. I am faster, I am stronger, I am smarter, I am richer than you. There is a community in being proud, but there is none in bragging.
We are proud of what we have created here at Über Moms. You need look no further than our members to know why. Look at these amazing women, look at what they have accomplished. If we have created something that they want to be a part of, then we have created something amazing that we should be proud of.
Laura Kohler is the resident Über Moms editor, comma wrangler and secretary. She has two little girls and recently founded her own copy editing business.