It can be so easy to compromise ourselves. It happens in just a moment, with the smallest action.
You skip a class because you know you can get away with it. You claim sickness and avoid a tough day, even though you know you could have made it. You turn a blind eye towards someone’s self destructive behavior because you don’t want the conflict if you tell them you think they’re wrong. You give in to a friend’s request, even though you are tired and really need to take care of yourself. You don’t stand up for yourself because you’re afraid the other person will belittle you.
Sometimes we do things that get us what we want or need, like lying or acting helpless, or giving in to someone else so we don’t create an argument. In the short run lies and giving in work to avoid problems or get us what we need, but in the long run, they make us feel worse about ourselves.
That little white lie every now and then isn’t going to have a big an effect on how you feel about yourself. But if you compromise your values and use those little white lies often, you just might find you’re feeling more shame and regret than pride and pleasure.
Pride comes from respecting your own values and beliefs, while getting what you want and need in the world. It involves
- acting in ways that fit your values and
- acting in ways that make you feel competent and capable.
In order to lead a life that makes you proud, be fair to yourself and the people around you. Don’t overly apologize for yourself for making requests, saying no or having an opinion. Stick to your own values. Be clear that what you believe is the moral way of thinking and acting and stick to it. Be truthful. Don’t lie, act helpless, exaggerate or make up excuses.