Pride is a word that has multiple explanations. When we accomplish things that were difficult, we exude confidence, radiance and pure pride. We care about how we look to the rest of the world. We want to bask in those moments of joy and being proud of ourselves for the achievements we’ve made. It’s a wonderful feeling and a fantastic time in our lives. It’s a time of exploration, adventure, and a defining moment for us in our journeys. We may have just witnessed the birth of a new baby, or watching our kids graduate from one area in their lives into the next chapter. They may have just gotten their drivers license or aced a course that was really difficult for them. The point is that pride is something that can’t be bought.

We all have inner pride too. There’s such a thing as being too proud to break a cycle. Sometimes that cycle is detrimental for many reasons. Conflicts rarely get solved by doing nothing or going to the extreme. When we aren’t happy with the people we love, we often react poorly. We have too much pride to admit that we didn’t do things right and fail to reach out to those that we hurt. In some ways, that can be extremely damaging to friendships, relationships and to each other’s pride. When we get hurt emotionally, our pride takes a beating. It doesn’t mean that we have to be right all the time. It just means that we’re all human. We all make mistakes and hopefully learn from those mistakes and grow into more informed and better people.

There’s a man that I care for very deeply. He’s been in pain from Lyme Disease for a very long time now. He’s done the research, been to the doctors and can’t get any relief from the pain that shoots through his joints, his legs, back and entire body. Instead of telling the doctors where the pain is, he stays mum. He doesn’t want to divulge that he’s in as much pain as he is. In many ways for a man so brilliant, he’s being an idiot. Doctors can’t help us if we don’t give them the 411 as to what’s wrong. No one likes to be forced to read minds. In fact, most of us don’t do well when we have to read others minds.

I’ve always admired people who could utilize technology to give us advances that make our lives easier and more efficient. You can tell the amount of pride that they have because not only do their inventions make our lives better, but they are always looking to best themselves. They have a tremendous amount of pride in the work they do and in the teams they work with. Money may help make dreams true, but it doesn’t buy pride. You can’t make someone believe in themselves. They are the only ones who can do this.

Another friend of mine lives with a disability. The man has a ton of pride. He’s managed to accomplish so much during his lifetime. He lived with seizures until he was twenty one. He had a surgery almost 29 years ago that took out almost half his brain. He is now seizure free. You would never know that he doesn’t have a whole brain because he manages to do everything that everyone else does. He only has use of one hand though. It doesn’t stop him. The only person who limits what he can do is him. When he believes in himself and lets his pride show through, it’s an incredible thing to witness. His faith is unequivocally strong. He truly believes in God and worships him without caring how others perceive him. He has a pride that isn’t going to be squashed just because others may not like him or don’t think that he’s cool. It’s actually the opposite. He would give just about anyone the shirt off his back if he thought he could help them. His pride in his accomplishments becomes infectious to all those around him. It’s almost as if he spreads confidence to everyone whose lives he touches.

There’s a pride in the talents that we all embody. Some of us are gifted musicians. The words and melodies flow through some folks like a concert that we never want to end. Then there are the artists of the world whose works make us feel what they did through their art. We see the happiness, sadness, depression, hope, and stories that the artists bring to life. Writers often write stories of things that they know best. They take tremendous pride in what they write because it comes from the heart.

There are athletes of this world who take pride in their abilities to do difficult sports. Just watching them burst on the scene can make a spectator gasp in awe and wonder over the flexibility and endurance that these athletes exhibit. These same athletes take tremendous pride in being able to play to the best of their ability. What could be better than enjoying what you do and sharing that with the world?

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the LGBTQ community. It takes a lot of courage to come out to those whom they love. Being proud of who they are is something that we can all learn a lot from. There was once a time that people were afraid to admit they were gay. That’s changing. Whether you agree with their lifestyle or not isn’t important. What’s important is that we are all different. It’s a good thing to realize and recognize that we are all different and unique. If we were all the same, then the world would be more robotic. We wouldn’t have the need for diversity. The pride of the LGBTQ community is something to be admired for.

Every week my mom and I pick up trash on the side of our street. We can’t seem to go twenty four hours without someone littering. Why do we do it? Because we take pride in where we live. If you trash everything around you, why do you expect anything to be neat or clean in your life? It’s the same principal.

I truly hope that each of you finds your own pride in life. Labels are irrelevant. They are just for the outside world to try to define who you are but the truth is that there’s no way to label a person. We are all comprised of so many wonderful gifts and attributes that it would be impossible to tie up all those labels in one little neat bow. Find your passions. Be willing to learn from others and open yourself up to possibilities. Quit looking at the world as if you don’t matter because you matter more than you know. Remember that there are no guaranties in this world. But if you see yourself as the proud person that looks at the reflection in the rear view mirrors, you might see that the objects around you appear to be closer than they are. Bring your own pride closer. Be confident but not arrogant. Respectful but not a pushover and you will begin to see the world is providing you opportunities that you never thought possible.

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