You’ve probably heard that it ‘Cometh before a fall’. What first comes to mind when you see the word? LGBT rights*… Family groups of lions… The emotion? Let’s explore the emotional meaning of pride in order to deepen our grasp and mastery of this powerful force.
What is pride?
The word “pride” is often used as an antonym for shame. The roots of the word shame are thought to derive from an older word meaning “to cover”. Shame, in my opinion, is one of the deadliest “sickness-inducing” emotional vibrations people experience. Often, the healing work that I do involves helping my clients release toxic feelings of shame.
On the flip side, some definitions of pride deem it as an exhilarating feeling that results from positive self-evaluation or a satisfied sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions. It could also connote a fulfilled feeling of belonging.
What are the benefits of feeling pride?
Pride is directly connected to self-esteem. The positive effects of this emotion include enhanced creativity, productivity, and altruism. I believe that pride invokes courage, and that acting courageously invokes pride. Great philosophers have maintained that courage and pride are extremely beneficial to a fair and just society.
Courage is contagious: The value of “outing yourself”
“Coming out” is pivotal moment in the lives of those in the LGBT community. I believe it is a very healthy exercise that all people could benefit by practicing regularly. I’m not just talking about just sexuality here. Look for areas in your life you have kept hidden under blankets of shame and get open and honest about them. It feels really good and you may find people like you more, rather than less for it.
When we practice courageously “coming out”, it inspires others to the same. I’ll start. A few years ago, I performed in drag for a fantastic charitable organization called “Drag it Out.”
My friends were aware of the event and my participation in it, but I wasn’t exactly advertising it to my clients and business community. Dressing and performing in drag was a total blast. I definitely stopped caring so much about being judged, and I learned many things through the experience; courage, self-acceptance and gender fluidity to name a few. If you email me and include a note about what you plan to “come out” about, I’ll send you a photo 😉
Training your mind: Pride
Give yourself permission to like what you like and love what you love.
Mantra “I am who I am, I love who I am” (‘I yam what I yam’ for Popeye fans;)
Pride is the remedy to shame. Make a list of things you have been ashamed of. Let yourself feel the impact of the weight you’ve been carrying. Talk to someone who can assist you in releasing your shame and finding a new perspective. Chances are, that shame has taught you something valuable. Claim your golden lesson!
Try this: Tilt your head back slightly with your chin up, extend your arms out from your body and smile. This expanded posture will automatically trigger good thoughts and feelings of pride!
**This postural display is innate as it is shown in congenitally blind individuals who have lacked the opportunity to see it in others. Studies shows that the nonverbal expression of pride conveys a message that is automatically perceived by others about a person’s high social status in a group.
Surround yourself with those who support you being YOU. For bonus points, try coming out about something!
*The Pride movement movement began after the Stonewall riots of the late 1960s. It has three main tenets:
1) People can be proud of their sexual preference and gender identity.
2) Sexual diversity is a gift.
3) Sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered.
The above photos are of Edie Windsor. A legislative victory in the DOMA case this week has paved the way for greater love, equality and freedom to be expressed in the United States. Edie and her late wife Thea, were featured in a moving film about their love and struggle for a legally recognized marriage. Check out ‘Edie and Thea’. They aligned with love and courage and took up the lofty mission of standing for equality. Edie Windsor, congratulations. I love you. Much gratitude and admiration for ALL your efforts.