Gooooooooaaaaaaaal(s)!!!!

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I am constantly, CONSTANTLY on my patients and clients to set goals. 

Not just the big, motivating, end-of-the-rainbow goals; but also the smaller, intermediate, steppingstone goals necessary to get to the end of the rainbow. 

The reason for this isn’t because I think setting goals is what people are “supposed” to do, or what therapists or coaches are “supposed” to tell their clients to do. 

(I’m not a big fan of doing things merely because they’re what we’re “supposed” to do, for that matter. It’s my experience that if “supposed to’s” are the main reason we do something, it’s probably not going to wind up being very fun or interesting for us in the end.)

The reason I’m so obsessed with goals, little and big, is far more basic: if you don’t have goals for your life, I guarantee you, somebody else does. 

There are PLENTY of people who would happily take over your right to set goals for yourself if you’re not interested in that project. 

These are people who have their own agendas, values, and interests in mind— and who will, necessarily, view you as basically a pawn or steppingstone to achieving THEIR own ends. 

Mind you, I don’t think these people who would happily set goals for your life are all evil, or even that their goals “for” you would be necessarily bad. 

But I do know there is a 100% chance that your self-esteem will notice that you’re chasing somebody else’s agendas, values, and interests…and your self-esteem isn’t going to like that very much. 

Put another way: it’s virtually impossible to build positive, stable self-esteem while pursuing goals that were picked for you, rather than goals you chose yourself. 

Why? Because self-esteem can only be built with your active, conscious involvement. Self-esteem doesn’t grow in a passive environment. 

The primary reason why self-esteem needs our active, conscious involvement is because self-esteem is rooted in our survival instinct. The behaviors that create self-esteem are behaviors that our evolutionary ancestors found advantageous to survival. 

Our cave-person ancestors who were passive didn’t do too well in the survival sweepstakes— they tended to be easily manipulated and defeated by their harsh environment and natural predators. 

Self-esteem is the modern-day reflection of the qualities and instincts that were essential for the very survival of our species. 

And when the survival of the species is at stake, you don’t want to bet on the passive horse. Or, in this case, the passive cave-person. 

Self-esteem has two parts: an experience of worthiness, and an experience of efficacy. 

“Worthiness” suggests that we are valuable. We deserve good things to happen to us— or, at the very least, we don’t deserve bad things to happen to us, just because we’re human. Worthiness is the feeling that we have worth— and if we have worth, we are certainly worth more than passivity. 

If we have worth, we certainly deserve more than to limply accept someone else’s goals for us. We are worth setting our own goals, that align with our own, consciously-chosen values. 

“Efficacy” is the experience of being “up to” the challenges of life. We may not have the tools to defeat every single challenge we face at every given moment, but if we feel efficacious, we have a general sense that we can handle what life throws at us. It involves a certainty that we can learn from experience and develop new skills and tools to succeed at life as necessary. Efficacy is the feeling that we are, literally, effective— and if we are effective, we can certainly do better than passivity. 

If we are efficacious, we can certainly do better than to meekly accept someone else’s goals for us. We are capable of setting our own goals— again, that align with our own, consciously-chosen values. 

If we fail to set our own goals— end goals, intermediate goals, big goals, little goals— someone else will merrily skip into that void. 

If someone else merrily skips into that void, you wind up living your life and structuring your day around their goals and values, not yours. 

If you wind up living your life and structuring your day around someone else’s goals and values, your self esteem notices, and you begin to wither inside. 

You begin to feel depressed and you’re not quite sure why. 

You begin to feel life and work are pointless. 

You lose interest in things, and why wouldn’t you? You’re no longer the author of your own experience. 

All of which is to say: my emphasis on goals at The Doyle Practice isn’t a “default” setting. It’s a very intentional choice, because our goal-setting habits (or lack thereof) are the building blocks (or lack thereof) of our self-esteem. 

And without self-esteem, building any kind of a satisfying life is nearly impossible. 

So humor me when I rant on and on about goals. 

There’s method to the madness. 

 

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The unexciting truth about real-world life change.

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I want you doing little, boring exercises literally every day that can nudge you toward more productive ways of thinking. 

I know, I know. Little, boring exercises are no fun. 

They don’t feel like they’re doing much good. 

They feel too easy. 

They feel too stupid. 

Especially if you’ve come a fair way in your healing journey, they can feel repetitive, as if they’re “beneath” your current level of functioning. At a certain point, a lot of us get the thought in our head that we shouldn’t “have” to do certain basic exercises if we’ve come this far. 

Yup, it’s the truth. Those little, boring exercises every day— those exercises that repeat and reaffirm and practice the very basics of recovery— can be a drag. 

You know what they tend NOT to be, however?

They tend NOT to be overwhelming. 

They tend NOT to be out of the realm of our imagination or competence. 

They tend NOT to be painful in the sense of being too emotionally taxing or pointed that we run the risk of being triggered or traumatized when we do them. 

That’s why I want you doing little, boring exercises every day to strengthen your basic recovery skills: because I want you actually DOING them. 

No skill I can teach you is going to do you any good if it doesn’t get practiced. And practiced, and practiced, and practiced. 

Many people speculate, an awful lot, on what makes the difference between people who recover from trauma, from substance abuse, from depression, from anxiety— and those who remain stuck. Literal books have been written on the subject of what the magic ingredient is to successful recovery stories. 

I wish, as fervently as anyone, that there was a magic ingredient. 

The truth, however, is considerably un-sexy. 

The magic ingredient— which isn’t very magic— turns out to be work. 

Not even work, in the sense of “effort expended.” Work, as in the willingness to put up with repetition. Work, as in the willingness to engage in practice. 

There are skillsets that make the difference between recovery and non-recovery. It’s hard to recover from anything without grounding and mindfulness skills. Recovery is difficult without the reality testing skills taught by cognitive behavioral therapy. Recovery is difficult without a well-developed understanding of time and energy management. 

There are skills in addition to those that are helpful, but the basics remain the basics. They haven’t changed since I’ve been a psychologist; and the history of the field suggests they haven’t changed much in the last several centuries. 

What makes those skillsets work, however, is our willingness and ability to get to the point of those skills being unconscious, fully automated aspects of how we deal with the world. 

Recovery basics need to become part of our default, autopilot settings. 

We need to get so familiar with them and so good at them that we don’t have to stop and think every time those skills are called for— they need to be just there for us, at the ready. 

How does that happen? 

You guessed it: practice. Rehearsal OVER-rehearsal. 

We don’t practice and over rehearse things by which we feel overwhelmed or triggered. We just don’t. We’re wired to avoid pain and too-intense stimuli. 

So we break them down. Whether it’s thought-stopping and reframing and rebuttal thinking, as taught by CBT; whether it’s acceptance and commitment work as practiced by the twelve step recovery tradition; whether it’s grounding and containment as taught by the trauma treatment community. We break down the requisite skills into small, bite-sized exercises…which, yes, we then practice every day. 

Whether we want to or not. 

Whether we feel like it or not. 

Whether we feel like we “need” to or not. 

I want you doing little, boring exercises that stress and strengthen the basics of recovery every day, because I want you to turn into a recovery ZOMBIE. I want you so versed in this stuff that you could do it in your sleep; that you could do it while spinning a basketball on your finger; that you could do it even if you don’t realize, in your conscious brain, that you need to USE those skills in the moment. 

Those little, boring exercises will save your life. 

They really will. 

 

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Managing pain in the real world.

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When we’re in pain, our first job is to acknowledge that pain exists in our world right now, and needs to be managed. 

A lot of people lose a lot of momentum in managing their pain by going through a long period of denial, in which they try to pretend their pain doesn’t exist. 

The reason I want you to acknowledge your pain, rather than pretending it doesn’t exist, isn’t because I’m some sort of sadist. 

The reason is actually pretty simple: you can’t manage something you refuse to admit exists. 

Let me say that again: you can’t manage something you refuse to admit exists. 

This holds true for all sorts of pain: physical pain, depression, anxiety, grief. If you’re interested in managing it and not letting it control you, you’re going to have to look it in the eye. 

No way around it. 

Pain inconveniences and incapacitates us exactly as much as it does. No less, but no more— unless we tun the volume up on that pain by pretending it doesn’t exist. 

If we acknowledge our pain— its exact nature, its exact intensity, the exact ways in which it incapacitates us— we can start to formulate a realistic plan to work around it. 

If we acknowledge our pain, we can begin to consider useful, effective strategies to minimize and turn the volume down on that pain. 

Put another way: how do you expect to formulate a truly effective strategy to work around or work through something if you haven’t acknowledged and examined the EXACT parameters of that thing? 

Pain freaks us out. We don’t like it, obviously. 

But pain freaks us out on an even more basic level: when we experience pain, our evolutionarily-honed response is to escape that pain as soon as possible, because we don’t know when the hell we’re going to be out of that pain. 

The cave-people ancestors in our evolutionary history figured out that things that hurt you often end up killing you. So the instinct to escape pain as soon and as emphatically as possible has been hard-wired into our behavioral repertoire. 

It takes our more evolved cerebral cortexes— our bigger brains— to understand that if our first or only response to pain is to run the other way as fast as possible, we’re likely to just prolong that pain…or run headlong into situations that are more painful than the one we’re trying to escape. 

Productively acknowledging pain doesn’t mean we have to like it. 

It doesn’t mean we have to revel or languish in it, though some people do seem to have an interesting habit of jumping into painful situations and swimming around in them (whenever this is the case, I get curious about the greater pain they think they’re avoiding by doing this— or, conversely, how they’re somehow deriving pleasure or reinforcement from that behavior). 

Acknowledging and assessing pain is a simple, but not easy, skill. It requires us to get over our initial panic— to stop freaking out for a sec— and to learn to take a few steps back from ourselves…while, yes, still experiencing the pain. 

We can do that— observe ourselves while still remaining attached to our experience. We do it all the time, in fact. (It’s a trick we psychologists call developing your “observing ego”). 

When we experience pain, the first thing we need to do is throw our self-talk skillset into gear. 

If you’ve ever watched a professional boxing or mixed martial arts fight, you might have noticed the fighters’ respective cornermen shouting instructions and encouragement to the athletes, especially when they get into trouble. When we experience pain, we need to be our own “cornermen.” We need to learn to talk ourselves down from that reaction of fear and panic that accompanies pain. We need to be our own “coach” that helps us descend from that place of anxious desperation. 

Then, once we’ve put on our self “coach” hat, we need to put on our “scientist” or “researcher” hat when it comes to our pain. 

We need to ask questions of it. We need to assess it. We need to observe it. 

Yes, we need to do all of this WHILE we’re hurting. (I didn’t say this was an EASY skillset to develop.) 

The thing is, though? As we develop those two skillsets— our self-“coaching” skillset and our “researcher” skillset— we’re going to find our pain is ALREADY more manageable and managed than if we were simply denying that the pain exists. 

Learning to talk yourself through your pain and look at your pain through a “scientific” lens begins to put YOU back in charge of your experience. 

Denying and disowning pain only robs you of the ability to control your experience in any way. 

Pain isn’t easy to manage, and no one is saying it is. Moreover, no one knows what your pain, specifically, is like. I would never, ever be so arrogant as to tell you I know exactly what you need in order to handle your specific experience. 

I do know, however, that nobody— and I mean that, nobody— has wished or willed their pain away through the magic of denial. Nobody has ever effectively managed a problem, pain included, in the long term through denial. 

I want you to acknowledge your pain because I want you to both feel less pain and manage the pain you do feel well. 

And you can. 

I truly believe that. 

 

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The real-world, practical importance of goals.

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You’re smart. I know you know the importance of goals. 

Without goals, it’s hard to get anywhere, at least anywhere you want to go. 

You might end up somewhere without goals, but it’ll likely be somewhere pretty random— or, more likely, you’ll end up somewhere chosen for you by someone else, in a place that serves their needs more than yours. 

Goals are tools we use to live our values. The link between our goals and our values is the big-picture importance of goals in our life. 

Goals have a more practical purpose in our lives as well, however. 

Goals help us establish what to put on our schedules every day in order to make sure our attention is getting funneled in the right direction. 

What we do with our time every day is enormously important. It can make the difference between feeling bored and engaged; between feeling empty and fulfilled; between feeling lazy and industrious. 

When it comes down to it, what we do with our time is really the biggest variable in whether we’re feeling happy or frustrated. 

How do we decide what do do every day? 

(Trust me on this: if you don’t have a plan for your day, someone else assuredly does. The world is FULL of people who are perfectly happy to tell us how to spend our days.)

We decide what to do with our time every day based on— you guessed it— your goals. 

I tell my patients that it’s enormously important to always be training for something, like an athlete does. 

Are athletes called upon to compete every day or every week? No, they’re usually not. 

But do athletes choose how to spend their time every day based on the steppingstones that lead to their “game day” goals? You betcha. 

Goals provide structure, down to the week, the day, even the hours. 

Human beings need structure. 

We need structure based on what we value and what we like. It’s really, really hard to live a life that you find fulfilling without structure that is erected around what you value and what you like. 

Many people hear the word “structure,” and they recoil. They think that “structure” is something that limits them.

(As if that would be a bad thing— when viewed in their proper perspective, limits are some of the most useful tools we have— but that’s a different subject.)

But ask yourself: if “structure” is so bad, what’s the alternative? Chaos? Randomness? 

Your self-esteem notices when you’re living a live of chaotic randomness. Self-esteem is hard to come by when you’re not living life on purpose, with mindfulness and intentionality. 

Pick some goals in your important life domains. 

We human beings have needs in various life domains— we need physical health, we need relationships, we need freedom, we need fun. Many of us have a need to feel connected to spirituality. All of these domains offer various opportunities for goal-setting. 

Pick some goals, then ask what the steppingstones or milestone goals on the way to those goals are. 

What are the steps? 

If a goal is going to take a year, what’s the six month goal en route to that goal? How about the three month goal? The one month goal? 

Get down to the week. Get down to the day. 

Ask yourself: if you were committed to this goal, and if these are the steppingstone goals or the milestones, what does that mean about how my day, today, needs to be structured? 

What do I have to do today, in other words? 

Goals are nice for their inspirational quality, that’s true. But for my money, goals are MOST useful because they answer the question of “how should I manage my time?” 

Time management is life management. 

This is your life. 

Ask good questions and manage it well. 

 

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But…but…but it feels SO DARN TRUE!!

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One of the biggest emotional traps we can fall into is the “if it feels true, it is true” trap. 

This trap— which cognitive therapists call “emotional reasoning”— has an equally insidious sibling, the “if it doesn’t feel true, it must not be true” trap. 

Both of these traps have the potential to make us miserable and really screw up our decision making. And yet, they’re two of the easiest traps for people to fall into every single day. 

We have real problems in our culture discerning what is true. Our brains are notoriously persuadable to accept not-true things as fact, for a variety of reasons. 

For instance, research suggests that we are likely to believe things are true that are espoused by people we consider attractive or desirable. For example: if we think a celebrity is attractive or has a life we envy, we’re likely to consider their opinions to be more credible— regardless of the evidence. 

Research also suggests we are likely to believe things are true that are similar to things we already believe to be true. For example: if we think a certain “type” of person is terrible, we’re more likely to believe they did a terrible thing— regardless of the evidence. 

A great deal of both research and common sense suggests that we tend to believe things are true when we have a vested interest in believing they are true. For example: if election results are accompanied by controversy, we are far more likely to believe the electoral result that is consistent with electing the candidate that we strongly feel “should” in the election. 

Human beings simply aren’t all that great at sniffing out the truth. We’re very, very subject to influence. 

Appearances, unconscious biases, cultural biases, peer pressure, faulty or insufficient information…these are just a few of the factors that contribute to the reality that, left to our own devices, we’re notoriously unreliable truth-seekers. 

Feelings are a particularly tricky factor when it comes to our ability to ferret out the truth, because, well, sometimes things just feel SO DARN TRUE. 

There have definitely been times when many of us have felt helpless and hopeless— and have become frustrated with others’ attempts to point out to us that we were not, in fact, helpless, and there was, in fact, hope, because, well, those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness just felt SO DARN TRUE. 

There are many times when we have felt unloved or unappreciated— and have been surprised to find out that we were mistaken, that there were in fact people who loved us and appreciated us a great deal, because, well, in our own heads, those feelings of being unloved and unappreciated felt SO DARN TRUE. 

Conversely, there have been times we’ve felt confident and certain— and have been unpleasantly surprised to find that we were not as prepared for what lay ahead as we thought we were, because, well, those feelings of confidence and certainty just felt SO. DARN. TRUE. 

For many of us, it’s a rude awakening that our FEELINGS are not infallible guides to what is or isn’t true in the world outside our heads. Our feeling states may be our emotional reality— and, don’t get me wrong, our feelings should be acknowledged and respected as our emotional reality— but they may or may not bear any particular resemblance to the actual, objective world that occurs outside the boundaries of our bodies and minds. 

“Are you saying my feelings are WRONG?” some may angrily ask when I tell hem their feelings are NOT an infallible guide to the reality of the world. 

Well…yes and no. 

FEELINGS, in and of themselves, are what they are. You didn’t ask for your feelings; in many ways you’re the passive recipient or observer of your emotional life. Feelings aren’t “wrong”— you feel what you feel. 

Most of the time, for that matter, feelings, whatever relationship they may bear to the real world, have valuable information for us. We should pay attention to our feelings. Our feelings are valuable barometers of our perceptions and needs. Most of the time our feelings are valuable, functional tools. 

But is that to say our feelings should be relied upon as accurate barometers of the actual situation on the ground out there, in the “real world?” 

No. 

Sometimes they are. But sometimes they’re not. To assume that everything you’re FEELING is true is to assume everything that pops up on a map is an accurate reflection of the territory. 

To quote a truism in Neuro-Linguistic Programming: the map is NOT the territory. 

Pay attention to your feelings. Ask questions of your feelings. Ask where they come from; what they mean; what they’re trying to tell you. Honor your feelings and work the information they provide into your life plan. 

But remember: feelings are one tool. One tool that have been shown to be very manipulable by people organizations who understand how feelings work and have invested lots of money in manipulating them. 

Feelings are not facts. 

Do not confuse the two. 

 

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Want to accomplish your goals? Get out of your head and do this one thing.

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Check in.

Checking in with someone who is outside your head improves your ability to accomplish your goals DRASTICALLY. 

Overwhelmingly. Stupendously. Ridiculously. 

I’m not just talking about checking in regarding the accomplishment of your big goals, either. I’m talking about informing someone else of your daily schedule and to-do list; then informing them of the progress you made on that to-do list. 

I’m talking about checking in with someone regarding the little, steppingstone goals and tasks that comprise your day to day grind.

It’s THOSE goals and tasks that run the biggest risk of not getting done if we stay up inside our own heads, without any outside accountability. 

That said: a lot of people resist the need to check in with others. 

They feel like checking in with others is akin to being “babysat” or “supervised.” It feels as if they’re being patronized or infantilized. 

Some people don’t like checking in with others because they feel they “shouldn’t have to.” 

They feel those little, daily tasks and goals are small enough that they “should” be able to accomplish them on their own, without the involvement of anyone outside their own heads. 

It may be the case that we can accomplish many things on our own initiative, only accountable to ourselves. When I emphasize the importance of checking in with someone else, I’m not in any way denying the importance and desirability of independence and self-regulation. 

I’m also not suggesting that what most of us need is “accountability” in the sense of someone else approving of us or punishing us based on what we do or don’t accomplish in a day. That’s not what accountability— checking in— is all about. 

What accountability is really all about is getting out of our own heads. 

See, as long as our to-do list and daily schedule stays in our own heads, it remains very, very easy for us to alter on a whim. 

As long as our to-do list and daily schedule stays in our now heads, it remains somewhat ephemeral, unreal. 

Actually writing down a to-do list, and then sharing that to-do list with someone else makes it more real, more concrete— and overwhelmingly more likely to be acted upon in the real world. 

What are the things that most people struggle to do in the real world, with their actual time? 

That’s right: the little, daily, steppingstone goals that aren’t terribly interesting, not terribly stimulating, that don’t SEEM terribly important. 

The little goals and tasks, in other words, that are easy to put off in the first place— especially if we’ve only committed to do them in our heads. If we’ve only committed to do something in our heads, it’s exponentially easier to just put them off when we decide or realize they’re not going to be very much fun to do…and we human beings are excellent at doing the easier thing rather than the harder thing. 

Checking in doesn’t need to be complex. It doesn’t need to be overwhelming, it doesn’t need to be embarrassing, it needn’t require a huge commitment of time or attention from either party involved. 

Just make a to-do list for the day, then share that to-do list with someone.

Tell them what’s up. Say, “I’m trying out this new technique that this super smart psychologist on the Internet recommended— just bear with me here. This is my agenda for the day.” 

Then, at the end of the day, update that person on what got done and what didn’t. 

Notice: you’re not asking for any feedback, positive or negative. You’re just looking for acknowledgment from another human being that you had a plan, and you acted upon that plan. 

There are multiple cognitive and psychological reasons this technique works. The biggest concept involved is called “cognitive dissonance,” which means that we humans will work awfully hard to be consistent with who we’ve said we are and what we’ve said we’ll do. It’s why salespeople pressure customers to buy up front— they know that for customers to back out later will spike their cognitive dissonance, and that most people will go to fairly great lengths to behave consistently what what they’ve said they will or won’t do previously. 

Ever wonder why the 12-step tradition works when it does? It’s largely the result of the check-in/accountability function that is built in by those meetings. People who are familiar with AA and its associated traditions know that 12-step meetings aren’t places of judgment or scorn— they’re mostly just a place to check in with people, where you can draw your commitment to sobriety out into the real world, outside of your head. 

Getting something out of your head, and engaging a supportive other person, makes you more likely to follow through. It’s as simple as that. 

Don’t take my word for it. Try it. 

Pick someone to be your accountability buddy. 

Check in with them morning and night for a week. Just try it out. 

You’ll be surprised at how much more willing to do the little, stupid stuff in your day when you know you’re going to have to report in to someone. 

The trick is getting out of that head of yours. 

 

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When “pride” gets complicated.

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“Pride” is a concept that seems to get misunderstood a lot in our culture. 

“Pride” has historically been considered a “sin”— in fone of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” in fact, along with laziness, greed, and gluttony.

We’ve been told “pride goeth before a fall.” 

And yet, there are positive connotations we have with the concept of “pride” as well. 

We tell our loved ones who accomplish difficult things that we’re “proud” of them. 

We celebrate holidays that are focused on “ethnic pride.” 

Civil rights movements have sought to restore the collective “pride” of groups who have historically suffered from institutional oppression and cultural discrimination. 

So what is “pride,” a Deadly Sin or a useful emotional tool? 

As with so many concepts that speak to how humans relate to our presence and accomplishments in the world, it can be both— depending on how we understand and relate to the concept of “pride.” 

I can’t tell you what “pride” should mean to you spiritually, i.e., if it’s a Deadly Sin that should be avoided at all costs. That’s between you and your deity and your spiritual mentors. 

It’s my understanding that the religious condemnation of pride is likely rooted in many religious traditions’ wariness about humans becoming so enamored of their own accomplishments and success that they neglect to give God proper attention, credit, and respect.  

In other words, many religious traditions heavily emphasize placing worship of their “true God” above all else, and warnings against human “pride” are more than anything about keeping God in proper perspective. The sin of “pride” is thus more about NOT giving God his due, rather than giving humans their due. 

Moreover, the “pride” that we’ve been warned “goes before a fall” seems more akin to the concept of “arrogance” or “hubris” than anything else. 

It seems that this saying— “pride goeth before a fall”— often refers to the lack of humility and attention that can happen when humans become overconfident in there abilities or accomplishments. When we get too comfortable or confident in what we can do or what we can accomplish, we can sometimes get lured into not paying as close attention as we should. 

So what is the basic problem with “pride,” then? Or what can be the basic problem with pride? 

Pride becomes a problem when it takes away from our central priorities. 

Pride becomes a problem when it blinds us. 

Pride becomes a problem when we become more enthusiastic about or interested in it than our actual goals and values. 

In the end “pride” is just a label that we humans have attached to many things— recognition of progress, celebration of history, confirmation of dignity. Part of the very problem inherent in the concept of “pride” is how many people use it to mean so many different things. 

But let’s be real: ANYTHING is a problem when it blinds us. 

Intelligence, desire, money, sexuality, success, poverty— anything that makes us less focused on our goals and values, including “pride,” can be said to “goeth before a fall.” 

You can celebrate your identity your progress, your accomplishments, and your history without becoming blinded. It takes effort, though. 

It takes the willingness to go through every day with eyes wide open— even to the challenges, even to the disappointments, even to the hurt, even to the bad stuff. 

Sometimes we want to close our eyes to the bad stuff. We WANT to be blinded. 

Self-esteem can’t be built with your eyes closed tight. 

Celebrate who you are. You don’t need a special month or day or parade for that. Be aware of and celebrate your identity, celebrate how far you’ve come, celebrate the extent to which you’ve chosen to be honest with yourself and others about who you are. 

Lights aren’t meant to be hid under bushels, and we human beings can be dazzling lights indeed. 

But remember that your feelings about yourself— your “pride” in various aspects of who you are— do not remove from you the necessity to stay humble and realistic and vigilant about what you need to do, day to day, to move toward your goals and values. 

Pride doesn’t have to goeth before a fall. 

But it’s on us to manage it.

 

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