The Mental Health Value of Being Proud of Yourself

Mental Health Value of being proud of yourself

Being proud of yourself may not come naturally, especially if you live with a mental illness. It’s much easier to look around and feel like everyone is doing better than you and to forget to celebrate the wins in your life. Additionally, some people may worry that if they take the time to recognize their personal growth and progress, they’ll become lax and unmotivated to continue pushing forward. Others feel that they don’t deserve to feel good about themselves, and they owe it to their loved ones to punish themselves through negative self-talk.

Many people struggle to accept positive feedback from others and have an even harder time recognizing their own achievements. However, learning to be proud of yourself and having a strong sense of self-worth is key to feeling in control of your destiny and moving yourself toward future accomplishments.

Understanding Self-Pride

Being proud of yourself simply means feeling confidence and satisfaction in yourself and your accomplishments. This is a key part of leading a healthy, happy life. People who report a strong sense of self-pride and find reasons to be proud of themselves often feel more content with where they are in life and find the motivation to continue working toward bettering themselves.

Focusing on things that you’re proud of isn’t about claiming to be perfect or suggesting that you aren’t still working toward the quality of life you want; it’s about acknowledging and celebrating everything you’ve accomplished, what you contribute to the lives of those around you, and the inherent value of your unique personality. Self-pride also involves embracing your challenges and vulnerabilities and accepting them as part of your journey through life.

Benefits of Being Proud of Yourself

Beyond simply making you feel less uncomfortable in your own skin, finding reasons to be proud of yourself brings a host of benefits, including boosting your confidence and self-esteem and creating a strong foundation for your mental health. By recognizing something you are proud of, you reinforce a positive self-image, which encourages a healthier relationship with yourself as well as with others.

The benefits of being proud of yourself include:

  • Increased confidence: Finding reasons to be proud of your accomplishments enhances your self-confidence, making you more willing to take on new challenges.
  • Motivation: Taking pride in your personal growth and achievements can motivate you to continue working toward your goals.
  • Resilience: Self-pride is a key component to building resilience. By taking the time to acknowledge reasons to be proud, you recognize the obstacles you’ve already overcome, whether that’s addressing an addiction or seeking treatment for a debilitating mental illness such as depression. This can help you foster the confidence you need to continue moving forward.
  • Improved relationships: Oftentimes, how we treat others reflects how we feel about ourselves. Being proud of yourself and learning to give yourself grace when you haven’t handled something perfectly can help you remember to empathize with others who are on their own journeys of self-improvement.
  • Positive self-image: While it may be counterintuitive, negative self-talk and a poor self-image don’t motivate us toward improvement. Instead, when we see ourselves in a better, more positive light, we remind ourselves that we’re worth the effort we put forth to better ourselves.
  • Mental wellness: Feeling proud of yourself contributes to your emotional well-being by counteracting negative self-talk.

Building Self-Pride: Tips and Strategies

Seeing our own self-worth doesn’t always come naturally, but we can retrain our brains to see our accomplishments and good qualities. Here are a few simple ways to build a sense of pride.

Pay Attention to Self-Talk

Too many people say things to and about themselves that they would never say about someone they didn’t know, much less a friend. Fortunately, we can train ourselves to have a more positive perspective. For example, instead of thinking, “I failed,” try, “I’m learning to do better.”

Reflect on What You’ve Accomplished

When it comes to addressing a mental illness such as a substance use disorder or depression, setting small, attainable goals for yourself can help you measure progress. As you meet your goals, it’s important to recognize the improvements you’ve made toward achieving the life you want.

Identify Your Strengths

It’s easy to focus on our weaknesses, but being fully self-aware means also acknowledging our strengths. Whether it’s your empathy, sense of humor or ability to approach challenges analytically, you can build self-pride by recognizing what you’re good at.

Consider Your Efforts, Not Just the Outcomes

When it comes to personal growth and achievements, the process is just as important as the outcome. Even if you feel as though you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s important to build your self-confidence and resilience by acknowledging and respecting the effort you’re putting forth.

Focus on Growth

By fostering a growth mindset, you’re giving yourself permission to be imperfect while looking ahead to see how you can continue to improve. It’s recognizing that you’re working hard toward your goals and that you’ll continue to get better at something with time and effort.

Overcoming Barriers to Self-Pride

If it were as simple as flipping the mental switch from “negative” to “positive,” we’d all have an easier time finding reasons to be proud. Fortunately, by being mindful of what keeps us from experiencing self-pride, we can re-train our brains.

Feeling Shame

Perhaps the biggest barrier to fully appreciating our accomplishments is a sense of shame. This could come from negative things we were told by people close to us that we internalized, disappointment in how we have or haven’t met expected milestones, or frustration over mental health issues. You can overcome this by reframing negative thoughts, focusing on what you’ve achieved despite obstacles, and recognizing that what others have said to or about you may or may not be true.

Believing You Owe It to Others to Feel Inferior

Particularly if you’ve lived with a substance use disorder or disruptive mental illness that has had a negative impact on how you interact with others, you may feel that it’s your duty to feel bad about yourself. It’s important to remember that you can work on building trust and fostering healthy relationships while still feeling pride in the changes you’ve made.

Misunderstanding Self-Pride

Self-pride isn’t blind optimism regarding your achievements and character traits, and it’s not the belief that you don’t have areas that need improvement. It’s simply an acknowledgment of your strengths and attributes. You can have a healthy sense of self-pride while still recognizing the growth opportunities you have.

Celebrating Achievements and Progress

Recognizing and celebrating achievements and progress in mental health is vital for developing self-pride. Some ways to acknowledge your journey include:

  • Reflecting on small victories, such as completing a dreaded task or practicing self-care
  • Set measurable goals, and then celebrate when you accomplish them by treating yourself to a special meal or taking a break from your usual schedule to enjoy a favorite hobby
  • Practice self-compassion, recognizing that setbacks are part of the journey
  • Share your journey and accomplishments with others
  • Practice gratitude

Cultivating a Positive Self-Image

If you’ve normalized negative self-talk, it can take extra effort to work on cultivating a positive self-image. However, looking at your attributes and accomplishments through a positive lens can help you create a happier and more fulfilling life. Some strategies that can help you include:

  • Repeating positive affirmations, such as “I am capable of achieving my goals” and “I am worthy of success.”
  • Set realistic, measurable goals so that you can easily see your progress
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others; instead, recognize that everyone has their own journey toward self-improvement
  • Surround yourself with positive people who support your mental health instead of challenging your positivity
  • Celebrate small wins
  • Seek positive feedback from trusted friends and family members


Building self-pride and learning to honor your hard work and achievements is key to improving your mental health, especially if you’re recovering from a mental illness. By learning to reframe negative thoughts, celebrate your victories, and set measurable goals for yourself, you can improve your self-esteem and support your mental health journey.