Tuesday, December 29, 2015

You should be proud! But not too proud.

I broke my ankle on November 15th, and got a piece of paper to go to the DMV to get my temporary disabled parking pass that same day. For whatever reason, I didn't think I'd need it. Until the day I went Christmas shopping three weeks later and had to park forever away and had bruised armpits and no oxygen left by the time I had crutched to the doors. (And I still had to go shopping!)

And I thought to myself: Self, you're a dope. Swallow your pride and go get the disabled parking pass.

So I did. And it is really, really nice.

Pride, in this specific instance, was bad.

This life event got me to thinking a lot about pride and so I googled 'quotes about pride' for this blogpost. I'd say 99% of them were negative. And I must admit, I was pretty surprised. Isn't it good sometimes to be proud of oneself? So then I decided to find out what the dictionary tells us is the 
definition of pride:

1.a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
2. the state or feeling of being proud.
3. a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one's position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

It's good to have high self-esteem right? 

At least, I thought so.

And I know one of the biggest issues writers have is keeping up their self-esteem or their pride in their work. The belief in themselves. We spend hours, days, years, convincing ourselves over and over and over again that we are good enough. That we should be proud of our work and our accomplishments.

So, in this case, isn't having a bit of pride a good thing? And needed? 

Then I think about those times I get critiques and edits and my defenses immediately go up. When my first reaction, in some cases, is to think they just don't understand what I'm trying to do here. Or hmm, perhaps they don't have the same vision for the character as I do. I have to remind myself to give the critique or edit some time to settle, mull over it a bit, and then see what I think about it at a later time. And nine times out of ten, when I return to the critique, I see what my partners in crime are saying.

And I agree.

In this case, pride, if not tempered, can have a negative effect on our work. It can prevent us from growing as writers and having our story turn into the best version of itself.

So I guess what I have concluded from my limited study and time of pondering, is that pride in oneself and ones work is needed. We should be proud of our accomplishments and share and rejoice in those with others. 

But we have to make sure that pride doesn't stand in the way from bettering ourselves and our craft.

It's a tough balance, and I think the best way to ensure we keep it in check is to surround ourselves with supportive, honest people. Those who will rejoice and celebrate in our successes, and let us know the areas we have to work on.

What are your thoughts about pride? Do you need to be more proud about what you've accomplished? Less? I'd be very curious of your thoughts.

Happy New Year everyone!

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