One of those commodities that is impossible to measure, difficult to anticipate and powerfully valuable is that of pride. Try as I might, I can’t remember hearing the expression, “I’m so proud of you” from my dad. There’s a good possibility that I did hear it from my mom but far too many years have elapsed since it would have been stated.

When we overlook or underemphasize the importance of saying this to our children, grandchildren or students, we miss extraordinary opportunities to enrich their lives. Pride is one of those unusual emotions that have positive impact on both parties who are involved. When you feel pride, you are enhanced by having some part of the pride-recipient’s accomplishment. Hearing, “I am proud of you” from someone important leaves an indelible positive impression.

Some religious doctrine would suggest that it’s sinful or inappropriate to be prideful. The downside of pride includes definitions such as a conflict with the truth, self-idolatry or vanity. In fact, Proverbs 11:2 of the Bible states,

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.”

Clearly, it seems that pride can be a negative in excess or when it comes at the expense of a higher form of accomplishment that is intrinsic to learning or intellectual growth.

Returning to the positive side of pride (delivery and receipt), psychologists and philosophers indicate that having pride is crucial to the development of self and is virtuous. Perhaps this is one of those social phenomena that is good in small quantities but toxic when excessive.

When we contemplate delivering a sense of pride in the excellence of another, all it takes is to think about what it meant or would mean to hear, “I am proud of you” from someone you love. My soul and spirit dictate that we can never say these words too often, both to encourage self-esteem and to trigger new achievements. Shalom.

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