Relationships

What Are You Proud Of?

What Are You Proud Of

After my boyfriend moved in, I noticed something…

He was really proud of himself.

Now, lest you picture him as some sort of cartoon lion striding triumphantly across the plain of our living room, let me paint a clearer picture. He is an exceptionally humble, understated person. Outside of his work, he can be shy. And he is not the type to celebrate — or even talk about — himself, for fear that it might seem boastful.

This only made it all the more jarring when I noticed how he exhibited a visible sense of accomplishment for doing various everyday tasks. The act of making dinner or fixing the faucet would result in improved posture and self-congratulatory words.

At first, I didn’t really know what to make of this. Sure, I’d think, it’s great that you worked out or remembered to turn the light off when you left a room. But I did, too, and nobody cares. Is that not just being a person?

Then one weekend afternoon, he decided to re-caulk the bathtub. The results looked, shall we say, not quite professional. “I’ve never caulked anything before, so I’m proud of it,” he said. “Even though it doesn’t look good, I succeeded at sealing the tub.”

Now I was fascinated. Had I done the same thing, I would have greeted the results with self-criticism and many pledges of how the next time would be better. But he understood that trying a new thing or learning a new skill is something to feel proud of, regardless of the results.

After sitting with my feelings for a while, I saw that my discomfort stemmed not from his pride, but rather from the part where I had been conditioned to gloss over my own accomplishments. Unless something is life-changingly large (a la “I got a new job!”) I do not speak of it, and if it does come up, I am likely to downplay it.

Thinking back, I remember feeling proud of myself as a kid — for getting a good grade or performing in the school play. But somewhere along the way, I deleted “pride” from my emotional repertoire. If a woman is proud, said the messaging, she becomes unlikable. And being likable is the most important thing.

In her latest book, Untamed, (which, if you haven’t read it yet, oh my goodness what are you waiting for) Glennon Doyle discusses this phenomenon as it plays out at her daughter’s soccer game:

There was a girl on the other team who was just rubbing me the wrong way… she walked with her head held high and with a bit of a swagger. She was good, and she knew it. She went in for the ball often and hard, like a girl who knows her own strength and talent. She smiled the whole time, like all of this was easy for her, like she was having the time of her life. All of this just annoyed the hell out of me.

She was twelve.

In a number of cultures, there is something known as “tall poppy syndrome,” where people who think highly of themselves are criticized or discredited, “cutting down the tall poppy.” In America, we have no such issue, particularly when it comes to men and certain celebrities. (If a poppy acts tall enough, we’re liable to follow them or idolize them or give them their own TV show.) Even so, women are generally not encouraged to sing their praises.

But as Glennon explains, humility is actually infused with its own sort of pride.

“The word humility derives from the Latin word humilitas, which means ‘of the earth.’ To be humble is to be grounded in knowing who you are — to grow, to reach, to fully bloom as high and strong and grand as you were created to. It is not honorable for a tree to wilt and shrink and disappear. It’s not honorable for a woman to, either.”

We’ve all done things that are worthy of pride. Changing a habit, teaching a child, making a tough decision, facing a fear. These days, the list may also include things like taking a shower, taking a walk, taking a deep breath. All of these count.

I am proud of myself for writing this post, even though I still find this topic to be uncomfortable. I am proud of my career thus far, especially the parts that require me to put myself out there. I am proud of myself for greeting this day in the best way I know how.

And now, I’d like to ask you this very important question: What’s something you’re proud of? It can be absolutely anything, big or small. Please share below.

P.S. Five words that changed everything and a small kindness I’ll never forget.

(Photo by Kirstin Mckee/Stocksy.)

  1. Laurel says...

    My husband is the*exact* same. If we cook dinner together and he does the rice, for example, as soon as he takes a bite he’ll say “wow, this rice is so good” or “ya know, I’ve really dialed in the perfect rice cooking technique.” I am almost crying laughing as I type this. He’s completely self-congratulatory in these small moments and I’m glad I still find it endearing.
    I’ll be honest though; 13 years later and I still notice every. single. time. I will sometimes indulge and praise myself for something otherwise mundane but it never comes as naturally as when he does it.
    Thanks for sharing Caroline!

    • Kaye says...

      Same for me. My husband is an avid vegetable grower and each step of the way he’s proud of himself. “Look at this tilled earth!”, “look at the sprouting veggies after our rain”, “check out the radishes!”, “these tomatoes are the best I’ve ever grown!”…..I will know look and listen in a much different way. I just got a new job after not working for three months…in the middle of a pandemic. I think he was prouder of me than I was of myself. I’m going to work on being more proud of myself. Thanks for the great piece Caroline!

  2. Julie says...

    I’m proud of myself that I just gave birth to my first baby (last Friday). And am writing this right now as I feed at 3am!
    I know millions of women before me have done the same, but it makes me even prouder to be among them. I have such a newfound respect for all mothers. And I am proud I have made it this far ( pregnancy, labor, and 5 days in! ) and done this well despite normal “new parent” fears and despite the not so normal “we are in a pandemic” fears and the loneliness, isolation, and added sacrifice that has come along with it.

    • Julee says...

      Warrior mom!
      Happy Mothers Day, brave one.

  3. Kat O says...

    I’m proud of myself for traveling around the world solo in my twenties (before Instagram, haha!). I’ve since gotten my master’s degree, worked many respectable jobs as a social worker, bought a house…but none of those things make me feel “proud” because they’re…safe. Travel is the only thing I’ve done that was brave.

    • Kat O says...

      Maybe also because travel was an authentic choice, whereas everything else just feels like what’s expected. I also feel proud of building our chicken coop and garden, maybe because those are also authentic choices? (All I want in life is to homestead, but it’s financially out of reach because of my student loans from grad school, which I resent and feel was a mistake on my part, which is maybe why I’m not proud of that accomplishment. Man I’m processing a lot here guys.)

  4. Nathalie says...

    I’m a great logical thinker and I’m compassionate. Proud of that.

    (This was actually difficult to write – we really are conditioned to downplay our strengths.)

    • Me too!! We don’t often see examples of women who demonstrate both very well. <3

  5. I loved this post. Thank you I learnt something today . I think I’m proud of myself for being able to survive in this world of hypocrites, and also because I love myself and try to live for the moment .

  6. Leigh says...

    I’m proud of myself for having the courage that things are Not Okay in my marriage of 17 years. I’m now fighting for change and restoration. Maybe it will be possible and we’ll move into a new, healthy season. Or maybe I will soon be navigating a divorce. Either way, it’s the hardest truth I’ve ever had to face.

  7. Meredith says...

    What a great post, Caroline! I also recently finished UNTAMED (after binge reading (and re-reading) passages. I absolutely loved it and you connected her words beautifully to yours here.

    My husband does the same thing! He also seeks thanks for all the little things he does around the house. We’ve argued over those thanks, which I don’t give as freely because I don’t expect them in return for mundane acts of humanity. But what I am proud of is my slow realisation that this is one of his love languages and it’s OK for me to show him love and respect in the way he needs. It’s such a simple and pleasant thing I can do that means a lot more to him than it does to me. And it’s kinda sweet anyway :)

  8. Maureen says...

    I am proud of always being amazing at my job despite all the challenges I have had in my personal life the last few years. I am proud of pursuing a fun hobby that has lead me to an appearance on a podcast very soon. I am proud of randomly reaching out to Eve Rodsky and now she’s doing a global virtual event for my company. I am proud of being good daughter, granddaughter and friend.

    Phew! I really needed this exercise after feeling shitty about my life on a daily basis from not being able to successfully have a baby yet and feeling constantly emotionally dissatisfied. This is really impacting my marriage right now but at least I’m accomplishing other things right now.

  9. Alison says...

    I am proud that I went through a really tough interview process and got the job.

    I’m proud that I am a good teacher.

    I’m proud that I will stand up for myself and others, even when it’s hard.

    I’m proud of my self-discipline, my queerness, and my hope in a better future that I can help create.

  10. Camille says...

    I’m beyond proud of how happy my son of a year and a half is. He can be snappy, stubborn and at times downright terrifying, but he always reverts to happy. Always. I feel that while I cannot take all the responsibility for this, I have given him a good base.

  11. J says...

    I do not feel proud today, so posting to see if i feel proud after writing it.
    I feel proud for taking risks with my freelance career and getting as far as I have, even though the future looks uncertain now. I’m proud of staying in touch with family and supporting those I love. I’m proud to be a part of the cool women in the COJ community. I’m proud that I ate a salad today. I’m proud to be a good Aunt. Hmm. repeating this a few times does seem to help. :)

  12. Fran says...

    I am going through my second miscarriage right now and while it’s hard, I’m really proud of how I’m handling it. To each their own coping mechanisms, of course, but I’ve been impressed by my ability to stay calm and rational, not be consumed by this loss and still be able to see all the things that come easily to me, so this doesn’t feel unmanageably “unfair”.

  13. Ro says...

    Caroline, I love this post so much! I have been reading Atomic Habits and Brave, Not Perfect simultaneously and, so fear, they’ve shared a similar recognition. Trying is hard. It’s an accomplishment all in itself.
    When things are imperfect, the accomplishment feels like less of one and more of a failure. It’s the little things you do to slowly build up your result.
    Keep writing pieces like this one. Such a resonating read.
    Also, crossing my fingers you write about what it was like to move in with your partner… or if there is a blog post about women’s experiences dealing with that change, someone point me in that direction, please

  14. Laura B says...

    Thank you Caroline. I’ve never commented here before but this resonated with me so much. I have often felt the exact same way but you wrote this in such a clear, calm manner.

    – I am proud of myself for getting into a new industry (taught myself with online videos) and negotiating my salary!!!
    – I am proud of myself for being financially independent.
    – I am proud of myself for being a great family member and a loyal friend.
    – I am proud of myself for setting boundaries.
    – I am proud of myself for seeking help for my mental health – therapy and getting on the right medicine. And although I make a lot of mistakes, I am proud of myself for continuing to try to be a better person.

  15. Heather says...

    I’m proud that after 15 years of struggling to get over an ex – this after being happily married and having two children – that I reconnected with him, went to therapy, wrote him an email telling him goodbye, and erased every vestige of him that I could from my email, social media, etc. We spent years together when we were very young and had one of those torrid, toxic, on and off again relationships that nearly killed me. He wrote me a not so nice email back to my very kind goodbye email, which didn’t make me feel so great…but it does feel amazing having finally grieved and shed this very old and very painful thing. It took so long to face it, but I finally did. Now I just get to enjoy my beautiful husband and children and amazing life.

  16. Claire says...

    + I’m proud of applying for eight jobs this weekend (after I learned that my program was losing funding and my AmeriCorps term was ending earlier, and two living stipends shorter, than anticipated).
    + I’m proud of having difficult but necessary conversations with my mom about boundaries, and what I need to feel respected.
    + I’m proud of taking a TEFL certificate class, on top of my full time job.
    + I’m proud of being a trusted adult in my 54 students’ lives (and for mailing each of them a postcard after schools closed).
    + I’m proud of going to therapy every Thursday.
    + I’m proud of saying no at work sometimes.
    + I’m proud of maintaining friendships with my four closest friends, all of whom live out of state.
    + I’m proud of acknowledging (and believing) that I should’ve been treated better by my ex.
    + I’m proud of reading seven books at once, and remembering what each of them are about. And for finishing one of them this week, three years later…
    + I’m proud of making time to read COJ every day since 2008. :)

  17. Melissa Dunsmoor says...

    I’m really proud of myself for becoming a great mom! I always thought I would have kids eventually, but I wasn’t sure if I would be a good mom. I never enjoyed baby-sitting and wasn’t around children much in my teen and young adult years. I’m six years in now, and I have to say it…I’m killing it. And I’m not saying that because I do everything perfectly. I get upset, frustrated and fall short daily. And sometimes my kids have too much screen time and eat cereal for dinner. But you know what? My kids are so loved. I take interest in their little worlds, and they are well looked after and happy. I try to encourage my friends to believe they are killing it too. Let’s all give ourselves a break and be proud of our efforts! Our kids are lucky to have such great mamas like us. #amiright?

    • KM says...

      Yes yes yes!!! I completely echo your words. Motherhood is so tough, especially in the early years, but I’m thriving as a mom in ways I never imagined I could. Simply put – my kids are crazy loved by their (sometimes crazy) mom. ❤️

  18. My debut novel is being published by Bloomsbury (Bloomsbury!) this summer and I still have a hard time feeling proud! I know I should be! It just doesn’t come naturally I suppose? This is why I love Glennon!!

  19. Kelsey says...

    I’m proud of myself for overcoming this very thing. I used to be the person who would brush off every praise and compliment by explaining how what I was doing wasn’t actually that great. Over the last few years, I’ve really grown to like myself more and I’ve realized that you can be a humble person who is also confident and positive. Now, if someone praises me at work I don’t say “Oh, it wasn’t a big deal, I messed up this part…etc, etc” I just say “Thank you! It was worth the hard work!” People don’t find positivity unattractive!

  20. Kate says...

    I’m proud of myself for earning my MBA while working full time. Six more days, and then I’m there! It’s been three years of sacrificing (on my part and those around me), but it’s something I’ll carry with me forever.

  21. Melissa says...

    I am proud of myself for taking the steps to go to marriage therapy with my partner. We’ve been going to therapy sessions together for almost a year. We’ve both unearthed hard things that has resulted in growth, accountability, change, and harvested immense love between us both. Marriage is hard and beautiful and I’m grateful to experience both.

  22. Elliesee says...

    i fixed my glass door! I learn new things about technology everyday! I used yeast for the first time to make brioche! I’m better at getting my kids’ collaboration for school at home! One of them is reading a novel without pictures for the first time! It’s Harry Potter, but she really is more into graphic novels. I was also able to encourage my teen during her dance class. My work in a school is not going too well though.

  23. maria says...

    i’m proud of the fact that more often than not, i realize it’s a-ok, great even – for me to be proud of myself. I am not a boastful person, nor full of myself – but i know when i succeed and excel, and damn right – i don’t have a problem taking pride in that, or knowing that i should share that fact, especially in the workplace. i am SO. DAMN. TIRED. as a woman of having to downplay who i am, what i accomplish, what i bring to the table. which is a LOT by the way. i can visually SEE how at times people i work with are taken off guard by it – and it is precisely because i am a woman. again, i am never boastful, i merely point out what has occurred, or what my thoughts on a topic are, what needs to be done, etc. i am a direct and forthright person by nature, i also know wtf i am talking about, and when i don’t – i have zero problem with admitting as much. so why shouldn’t i admit when i DO know wtf i am talking about or what i can and do accomplish? i credit BOTH my mother and father for so much of who i am, but yes you bet – *I* choose to also realize what i bring to the table. every day.

  24. Ingrid says...

    I am proud to have been a good teacher for almost 50 years. I’m especially proud that I never stopped wanting to be better at it. I’m also proud to have raised three wonderful daughters.

  25. Emily says...

    Love this post. I’m proud of myself for sticking with my mom and family through the good, bad and ugly this last year. I’m proud of helping my mom pass from her brain cancer with dignity and grace during a global pandemic. And I’m proud of mothering my 2 year old and growing a baby in my womb at the same time.

  26. I was just talking about this SAME THING and this book in an interview! I think everyone should read it.

    • K says...

      Seeing the name on this comment delighted me. Stars – they’re just like us (in that they read and comment on CupofJo)! :)

  27. Andrea says...

    I am just so happy you are here, Caroline. Reading this was a highlight of my day.
    I could have written this about my husband and I. I am feeling this post and hope that the “humility” breakdown -and that it includes the need to fully bloom as you were created to!- has become etched into my brain.
    I’m most proud of the person I am. I’ve been through hard things and am proud I’ve allowed them to make me grow and propel me into who I am today.
    And just because it made me smile: In quarantine I have started watching Gilmore Girls and just saw an episode where Lorelei advises her daughter Rory to “Be sure to gloat a little; it’s good for the skin.” I mean, I’d believe it’s true. :)

  28. Lauren says...

    Thanks for sharing, Caroline. (I recently was introduced to Glennon Doyle!). I know I am a proud person but, of course, associate that as more of a downfall or negative attribute. More like stubbornness, I guess. But lately, I am proud that I have faced a difficult shelter-in-place relationship (with my mom) with compassion and directness. And I am a kindergarten teacher, so I’m proud of being able to do live Zoom classes even though it’s not comfortable or my preferred way of teaching. I am proud of all the ways in which I, like you, have pushed myself out of my comfort zone in the name of self-development.

  29. Alex says...

    I have to refrain from punching my husband in his face on the daily when he boasts about some random ‘accomplishment’. “I folded a load of laundry! I remembered to pick up soap at the store! I emptied the dishwasher! I found a wild sheep in my Minecraft world!” My first thought is “Oh yea? I folded 9 loads of laundry this week, remembered to order diapers and wipes and lotion for our baby for 15 MONTHS, vacuumed the entire apartment twice a day this week, and lost 18 lbs over the last 3 months. But you don’t hear me going on about it! I don’t need a goddamn pat on the back for being a grown up!” But, shit, maybe I do. Maybe I should announce my minor, daily accomplishments so he can congratulate me and thank me. Maybe there is something to his daily declarations…

  30. Kristin says...

    This is a lovely post. Untamed is on my nightstand and I cannot wait to read it after I finish When Things Fall Apart, another book I took from your Instagram recommendations (thank you!)

    I am proud of myself for facing my infertility, month after month, setback after setback. It really has become about facing the dark underbelly of life, the scary chaos we mostly try to pretend isn’t there, as much as it is about trying for a baby. While my doctor and so many friends express optimism, the truth is no one knows whether I will have a baby. I sometimes wonder why I keep trying when I could just choose to find happiness elsewhere. But deep inside me I know battling this demon is something I have to do to learn who I am and what this world is about. That I haven’t been too afraid to walk away amidst failure, COVID-19 delays, and so, so much heartache is something that makes me hold my head high.

  31. Ali says...

    I love this. Something really clicked for me, reading it: I’m often proud of myself in a commonplace way but I never voice it – I see how other women sometimes react when I claim that I’m good at something, it seems to make them feel lesser and I would never want that for them. But I like this quality in myself, I actively block out the noise around it. And I want to foster it for my daughter. Every night as she falls asleep, little Ms 7 and I ask each other the same questions: What was your grumpy thing today? and, What were your three favourite things today? and now, having read this, we will be asking each other as well: What were you proud of today?

  32. Suzie says...

    “After sitting with my feelings for a while, I saw that my discomfort stemmed not from his pride, but rather from the part where I had been conditioned to gloss over my own accomplishments.”

    I’m going to have to go sit with this for a while. My knee-jerk reaction to people being proud of doing things that ‘are just part of being human’ is annoyance *coughhusbandcough* but… maybe it shouldn’t be.

  33. Korin B. says...

    Dude, I’m proud of you for writing this. It made me tear up and then I announced out loud to my 16 month old “I made brownies and I’m proud. They were from a box, and they are too hot to eat but I made them and I’m proud” . . . . then I heard my husband whisper to the 3 month old “your mommy is a crazy person” Oh quarantine.

  34. J says...

    My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two weeks into the coronavirus lockdown. I happened to be here, with my parents. I am proud of how I’ve kept myself and my family functioning while we’ve all been falling apart. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

  35. Kathryn Schmidt says...

    I was just reading that it is a scientific fact–women tend to downplay accomplishments and men celebrate them. Big and small. I’m trying to teach my boys humility without breaking their little spirits! And working at asserting my skills, gifts, and strengths. It’s hard! That ‘tall poppy’ phenomenon is at work every day. Thank you for your wise, honest words that are testament to a career that is truly worthy of celebrating!

  36. Julee says...

    This is hard for me. I’m not a proud person.
    I’m proud that I’m taking my health seriously. As a mother of four, I need to be healthy to stick around for my babies. Exercise and eat right, yo.

  37. Sarah says...

    I’m proud of homeschooling my 3 kids since March 16th. I’ve done a really good job! Also, I have made an effort to not complain while we’re going through this. It’s a good example for the kids and keeps everyone more positive. That’s not to say that I never mention missing my family or wishing we could go to the library. I just don’t complain about the little things like grocery items being out of stock, working out at home vs. the gym, rainy days, etc. I’ve done a good job of keeping everyone uplifted.

    • Maggie says...

      That’s really admirable and a great point. Our homeschool experience has been disasterous but not complaining is a really great idea. I’m full going to steal this from you. Thx.

    • Julee says...

      I’m proud of you for being willing to take this burden/task on- of lifting up your family during this time.
      Some days, I can and I do. Other days, I whine and moan and complain.
      You’re inspiring me to get my act together…

  38. Kellie says...

    this really made think of the rupi kaur poem below.

    “how do i shake this envy
    when i see you doing well
    sister how do i love myself enough to know
    your accomplishments are not my failures

    we are not each other’s competition” – rupi kaur

    we should should do less comparing and more reaching for own successes however small they may be. no one is feeling great about their accomplishments just to spite anyone else who can’t do what they did. that’s all in our own heads.

    i am proud of myself for writing poems that i think are passably good. one day, i hope i will feel confident enough to share them publicly. in the mean time, i’m proud i got my son out for a long walk today and didn’t try to rush him along. what do we have going on anyway?

    • Kathryn says...

      I love the poem you shared — and I hope you will share some of your own somewhere one day, too!!!

    • Amy says...

      Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed that poem.

      I know that feeling all too well – that if someone else is doing well, then maybe I’m not doing well enough (even though I probably am, just in another area of life since “I can do anything, but I can’t do everything” is another favourite quote of mine).

  39. Janna says...

    Beautifully written, Caroline! What I took away from your description of how differently you and your boyfriend react to (go through) the same experiences is just a matter of perspective… Glass half full vs. glass half empty.

    As I reflect on my almost 40 years of amazingly rich life experiences (not necessarily all positive, but they’re mine and special in their own way), I am proud that I am comfortable with who I am today. I have never felt so at peace with my own identity – I just love who I am!

    One source of this self-love is a group of really amazing yoga teachers, one of whom kept repeating often: “This moment is perfect. Everything you are doing is enough.” Allowing myself to adapt this perspective really shifted my mindset, and I happily recite those words when it comes to parenting pressures, career challenges or other tough situations. At the same time, I’ve also gotten the confidence to just go for what I want and be confident in myself and what I can achieve.

    • Annalisa says...

      “At the same time, I’ve also gotten the confidence to just go for what I want and be confident in myself and what I can achieve.” This. Singlehandedly the best piece of advice I’ve ever given myself (took 27 years). Go.for what.you want. Be a fucking astronaut. Beat the CEO. Leave them in the dust! Don’t let the bitter person win – triumph! Set an example. Never stop smiling. Wear red even though that professor called on your for the Euclidean geometry prop and you didn’t know how to do it.

  40. I was having this exact convo with a nutritionist who is helping me get back on track with healthy lifestyle. I proud that in two months I’ve completely changed the way I eat and my mindset. I’ve had a few hiccups and I’m so PROUD that I didn’t throw in the towel on the progress I have made. I’m literally breaking a 25 year cycle of yo-yo dieting and feeling guilty when I eat a damn cookie.

  41. Katherine says...

    I’m proud of myself for setting boundaries with my controlling boss. I’m proud of myself for facing my fears week after week to give client presentations on the verge of a panic attack. I’m proud of myself for trying to heal my negative thoughts. I’m proud of myself for resting when I’m injured.

    • Claire says...

      Setting boundaries is so hard! I’m trying to get better at this, but it’s so challenging! Good for you, Katherine!

    • Katherine says...

      Thank you, Claire! So thoughtful to respond! You can do it — it’s uncomfortable, but so worth it.

  42. C says...

    This is giving me so much to think about in my relationship with my husband. He is proud of himself, and oh how it annoys me! Not a great dynamic for a supportive marriage, I suppose. Hm. Thanks for making me think. And now I’m doubly excited for when my hold on Untamed comes through at the library!

    I’m proud of my body for bearing, birthing, and nursing two babies. I’m proud of myself for staying with and advocating for my youngest when she was in the PICU with a nasty virus at 10 weeks old. I’m proud of myself for starting therapy last month!

  43. Annie says...

    I’m a teacher and I’m finding distance learning to be messy and discouraging. In my normal life, I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so I’m really proud of how I’ve chosen not to dwell on my failures and frustrations right now. Professionally, I am doing enough, instead of more than enough, and am just trying to stay positive and encouraging, which I think is what my students need most anyway.

  44. Rachael says...

    I love this SO much!!! Thanks for making me really think about what I’m proud of myself for in a time where I feel endlessly inadequate.
    I’m proud of myself for finishing up the semester last week—I got 4 classes of students through the crazy transition of our university going completely online & rewriting eight weeks of my curriculum. I’m really proud that I created enough of a “safe space” earlier in the semester that students felt free to unburden themselves to me about all the craziness that COVID had created for them and that I could be an adult figure to give them some perspective on getting through it for students who didn’t feel safe talking to anyone else. I’m proud that I have worked out every damn day of this quarantine, and that we are getting through eLearning every day (I have six kids and I have N E V E R wanted/planned/considered homeschooling). I’m proud of myself for making dinners and doing laundry on days when I really just want to crawl back into bed, and I’m also proud of myself for the days when I DO crawl back into bed and show my kids that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. And I’m also proud of my homemade bread, which during the course of quarantine has gotten *chef’s kiss* really good. And on a more general and less quarantine-specific note, I am really super proud of myself for creating a family culture that’s focused on as much quality literature and outdoor adventures as possible. The one non-negotiable thing that I do every day is read to my kids, and I’m proud of that. And yesterday when my 15-yr-old daughter asked if we could take one of her friends with us the next time we went hiking/camping bc her friend had never experienced that and my daughter thought that was sad—yeah, I just about burst with pride as I tried to play it cool. My teenager actually thinks we are doing something right!!

    • cilla says...

      “I’m proud that I have worked out every damn day of this quarantine”

      wow, cudos to you! I am also determined to work out every day, but I manage only to do it cca 5x/week. And I am proud of that.

    • Well, I started writing. Started a blog recently. Its not fully set, but I’m proud I took the bold step.

  45. Lee says...

    I am proud of the tattoo on my foot. It is a G Clef music symbol. It symbolized my performance at Carnegie Hall in 2017. I never dreamed I would be on that stage but there I was. Playing my flute. Prouder than I have ever been in my life. I always wanted a tattoo but I knew my parents would disapprove. Here I was, a 40 year old woman, still worrying about my what my parents would think. But I wanted a tattoo. My husband was completely supportive and I thought that symbolizing my experience with a permanent mark on my body would be something I could be proud of. I see it every day and I’m so happy I have it. When I look at it I remember that feeling I had when I played on that historic stage. And in the end….my parents like the tattoo.

    • Claire says...

      This gave me chills! That performance was a HUGE deal! So cool that you got that tattoo for yourself, and I love that your husband encouraged you to do it. This was just so lovely!

  46. Brooke says...

    I was induced in January and gave birth to my daughter with no pain meds or epidural. It was so painful and hardcore and I was so proud of myself when I pushed her out in 10 minutes. After that intensity, I now know I can do anything!

    • J says...

      Absolutely amazing physical and emotional feat. Proud of you too!

  47. Tina says...

    Love this post! Great job writing it. I couldn’t help but think…wait until she has babies and he’s proud of himself for every damn diaper change, your eyes will never roll as hard as they do during this time! Haha!

    • Kirsten says...

      Haha, my thought exactly:)

  48. I am proud of myself for thriving as a single mom. In a span of 9 months, I was laid off from my job, my older child was diagnosed with autism, and my marriage ended. In the midst of navigating escape from emotional abuse, and therapy for my older child, I was able to pivot my career to work that is meaningful, and I am working on buying my soon to be ex out of our shared properties. We are all so much stronger than we know and have so much to be proud of, big and small.

    • BRAVO Alexa! That’s a lot to be moving through and you deserve a hug, a high five and so much more ?

    • Jo snobarger says...

      You certainly have a lo to be proud of and good luck to you!

    • Calla says...

      Gosh that sounds like a lot! We are all proud of you too!

    • Claire says...

      DAMN. Just one of those things would be a lot, and you did all of it on your own! You are so strong! I hope you are in a healthier and happier place, both for yourself and your kids.

    • Liz says...

      These are serious, big-time accomplishments. Congratulations!

    • Wow! You are truly incredible .

  49. Jessica says...

    I’m proud that I asked to go up for promotion early this semester, and that it was approved last week. Even more than the promotion, I’m proud that I was in my own corner and my own advocate.

    • Julie says...

      Oh my goodness, that’s FANTASTIC, Jessica. I’m proud of you too!

    • Liz says...

      Kick ass. I love to hear about that.

  50. Cynthia says...

    I’m proud of raising (with my husband’s help) two daughters who have become strong, independent women. I’m also proud of my sewing abilities because people often can’t believe I made what I’m wearing.

    • Calla says...

      I am so incredibly impressed by people who sew!

  51. I’m proud of myself for seeing a professional nutritionist after 20 years of having varying degrees of an eating disorder. These past few weeks have allowed me to slow down and focus on the one thing that keeps me here today – my body! I’m taking it day by day, but I’m hopeful nonetheless :)

    • M says...

      Erica, this is beautiful! I’m proud of you, too!

  52. Kamina says...

    I’m Australian. Tall poppy syndrome is a pillar of our culture. I have a tall poppy tattooed on my arm, to remind me to be one.

    • Michelle says...

      I’m Australian too and I fucking love that you did this. Strive on x

    • Calla says...

      that’s incredible!

    • Bec says...

      Another Australian here and I winced when I saw tall poppy syndrome referenced. I hate that it’s a thing for us.

    • laura says...

      Aussie girl here and so used to deferring all compliments away and slowly looking to change, love the idea of your tattoo!

  53. Caitlin says...

    Thank you for this post Caroline! I am reading the comments and feeling so much hope for our future as women!
    I am proud of my kindness, patience and that I’m good at my job. I work with people with disabilities and about a year ago a client was pretty terrible to me and was transferred to my coworker. Tonight, she called me because she felt scared and lonely, being quarantined alone in her apartment. I spent lots of time with her on the phone and we decided that I’ll check in with her every Thursday and she knows she can call me for anything. I’m proud that when she felt sad, she felt safe coming to me.

    • Liz says...

      It’s beautiful that you are a safe haven for your client. I’m glad she has you, and I know she is, too.

  54. Calla says...

    I proud of myself for learning how to surf. I’d always wanted to learn but felt too intimated in my beach-town college by the very cool surf dudes. Now I live in San Francisco and have been heading out consistently for months to do battle with the not beginner-friendly Ocean Beach surf. I’ve spent so much time getting pummeled by waves and very little time actually catching them but it’s still been thrilling. It feels so good to finally let go and try something I thought I wasn’t cool enough for, because what’s the alternative? Go my whole life, my only life, without ever doing it?

    • Emily Pellegrino says...

      Oh gosh I’m so impressed! I also learned to surf this year, but have been too scared to try Ocean Beach (I’m not a great swimmer) so we usually go down to Pacifica. I would love to get better and be able to try Ocean Beach at some point – major kudos to you!

    • Calla says...

      @Emily girl we should go together sometime! I had mostly been going to Linda Mar but started trying OB more since quarantine (Linda Mar gets so crowded!). There’s not a lot of days I can go, but if you watch surfline there are occasionally super calm 2-3 ft days which is the only time I go. Also if it’s too rough sometimes I just practice in the whitewater, it’s nice having enough space to not worry about running into someone!

  55. KM says...

    I’m really, really proud of the mom I am, especially during this pandemic. As an inherently anxious person, I’ve been super careful not to project my incessant fears and worries onto my children. Instead, I maintain weekly phone check-ins with my therapist. That’s my space to FREAK OUT and complain about all the things. Once I get it out of my system, I feel lighter. I feel better. And that makes me a better mom.

    Also – in general, I’m proud of myself for finally seeking therapy in the first place. It took me 33 years to realize that there’s absolutely no shame in asking for help. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my whole family benefits from it.

  56. jill d. says...

    handling things with grace….i have not always done such a thing and the first few weeks of quarantine as i was juggling kids and schooling them full time at home and working extended long long hours it was obvious nothing was being handled with grace – i lost my temper – was short fused – irritable and exhausted. However, the past two weeks i have been asking myself to handle all of these challenges with more grace and there have been many times where i have succeeded. And for that i’m proud of myself. Because at the end of the day when i’m done working and attempting to help teach my kids the only thing that matters to me is if i was being a good person through it all… was i able to still be kind – speak kind and act kind through all of the stress – basically did i handle it all with grace? and if so then yes, i feel proud of myself for working to make that happen.

    • Liz says...

      Yes, Jill. I have been awful for much of this whole crisis, despite my best intentions. Just irritable and terrible. But the last two weeks I see something changing, some kind of acceptance. I love the idea that it wasn’t necessary that we get it right on day one. As long as, in the end, we feel like we basically handled it all with grace.

    • KarenJ says...

      This is truly one of the most moving and thought provoking pieces I think I’ve ever read. What AM I most proud of? Ive never stopped to think that pride can be the sum of many little day to day victories for ordinary, average people. It puts me in mind of the Iris Dement song “My Life”.

  57. Colleen S. says...

    I did awful in school, and so when I went to college (online), I wanted to do well. I made the President’s List and Dean’s List many times, kept a 3.4 GPA almost the entirety of my four years, and graduated Cum Laude with a 3.6. I was so proud of myself. My parents always told me I was smart, I just hated doing homework.

  58. Jessica says...

    My 13 year marriage. Because WHOOOOEEEEEEEEE it ain’t easy being married and now raising a family together. I am super proud of us.

  59. Cay says...

    Over the past two months, I’ve been so proud of the adult friendships that I’ve developed and maintained over the last few years. I struggled with friendships and confidence in my teens and ended up finding myself pretty lonely in NYC in my mid-twenties. I went through a lot of personal growth, finally settled into myself as an adult human, and got the confidence to put myself out there and make more friends in my 20s. I never patted myself on the back for that, but it was a lot of hard work. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to lean on my best friends from college and the friends I’ve made as an adult, and it’s been absolutely invaluable.

    As a sidenote, I think as women even with the big accomplishments – we get to something that we’ve worked towards for years and don’t even acknowledge it. We’re so busy that it’s just on to the next. I had a goal of my own apartment in NYC by the time I was 30. I worked my butt off for that and actually succeeded…but it barely registered when I moved in. This is such a good reminder to actually stop and remember what it was like to wish you were where you currently are.

    • Calla says...

      What a thoughtful accomplishment! It IS hard making friends as an adult, I’ve struggled and to some extent succeeded with that as well, but never even considered taking a moment to feel proud about it!

      Also excellent point about letting those moments rush by!

  60. Amy says...

    I love this! Years ago (omg so many years ago now), during maternity leave with my first baby, I found it really jarring to not get any feedback or even acknowledgement of my work at home. I was working harder than I ever had in my life, after years of college and graduate school and then work as a teacher. But everything I did sort of disappeared—babies keep needing to be fed and changed and held, laundry keeps needing to be done, meals keep needing to be cooked. I started making lists of what I had done each day, just for myself. Not to-do lists, but simple “Hey, I did this!” lists. “Spent four hours nursing/holding, did two loads of laundry, made three meals” and so on. I patted myself on the back, and it might sound silly, but it helped! I don’t underestimate the work of caregiving any more, nor the role that unpaid caregiving has in making our economy “work,” if it does. Right now, home with my college-age kids, I’m back to making lists. “Took a shower, did yoga, worked, made tacos” (or, some days, “got out of bed even though it seemed silly.”

    • Nora B says...

      Yes. I do this.

    • Claire says...

      I love this idea! As I was trying to fall asleep last night, I made a similar list. I don’t keep a regular diary, but I wish I had a way to look back on the bigger things that I feel are noteworthy in my life. So, I took out my nice notebook and favorite pen (I’m a stationery person…), and labeled it the first thing I could think of: “April’s Crowning Achievements.” It felt so nice to record the things I was proud of!

    • Jennifer says...

      I feel so seen Amy! Thanks for reminding me to value the hours of nursing/settling a baby and calming 4yo tantrums.

  61. Hilary says...

    I LOVE this post. As a woman, parent, and teacher, I have really tried to internalize this message and make sure my kids feel proud of themselves. My husband and I wrote a letter to our daughter for her first birthday, and we both talked about our hopes for her. #1? We hope she continues to feel so much pride and excitement in her accomplishments. Sure, they’re small in comparison, but like, the girl learned *to walk*. I’d say that’s pretty awesome. She always applauds herself after doing something- puzzles, climbing, etc.- and I think “Yup, if you won’t applaud yourself, who will?!”

  62. kiki says...

    Hmmmm…this is interesting to think about. I’m stumbling over the word “proud”. And I question, is this just ANOTHER THING men do differently than women? And therefore, it’s “better” in the eyes of society? And maybe, instead of changing ourselves to “be more like the proud men” we could shift society to be more like us? Instead of singing our own praises, our sisters and brothers could lift us up? Maybe the shit is to lift up others – and therefore ourselves – instead of only being reliant on ourselves to feel lifted.

    Now, I realize, what you’re really trying to say is that you appreciate your partner’s view that trying something once and not getting it perfect doesn’t mean you failed. There is value in the effort, and that value should be honored. I agree with this.

    But, I’m still stumbling over the word “proud” and would instead encourage us to lift up one another – to sing the praises of those around us – and to accept that praise when it comes our way. Let’s rally around the value of the effort.

    • MM says...

      I’ve thought this many times too. I always think men should become more like women and not the other way around. I want to see a matriarchy after sooo many years of patriarchy. I feel allergic to bragging behavior in both men and women. That said, I love the definition of humility Caroline talks about here. It’s something we can all get behind.

    • Laura says...

      I feel the exact same way. I’m reminded of a conversation I had with my husband in which I was complaining about the two male owners of the small business I worked for slacking off, and my husband said, “You should do that, too,” implying that if they weren’t going to take it seriously and work hard, why should I? And my response is No! They should be more like ME (and most of the women I know)– they should care and they should work hard. And, maybe it’s my masochistic female conditioning, but I kind of feel the same way about this.

  63. Naomi says...

    I’m proud that I divorced my abusive first spouse after a decade of marriage and went on to have a much bigger life than I ever could have pictured in my miserable twenties.

    • Jess says...

      Wow, Naomi. I am so proud of you too. Much love to you.

  64. Proud as Punch says...

    My heart sang a little tune reading this post. Quite recently my boss walked me into a small meeting room and launched a scathing and bullied attack of my personality and my work. A small man acting real big in a small room. I ended the meeting. I walked out the of the building and never went back. I am now in discussions with my lawyer. I didn’t cower to the demands of the small man acting big in the small room. Not this! I do not work for this. I am proud that I did not tolerate the intolerable. The small man was out to bruise my self esteem in a small room. I may not currently earn a salary but I have my self respect, my dignity and my own inner power source. I’ve earned that and no small man will take that away from me. Now I will rest a while and figure out what’s next. I’m following a path that my next gig will nourish my soul – even though I have no idea what it is yet. I’m also on page 47 reading “Untamed”. Thank you Glennon Doyle. You’re my support person in the pages. How timely. A true gem of a read.

    • Ingrid says...

      Good for you! I’m proud of you too!

    • Ingrid says...

      SI am proud to have been a good teacher for almost 50 years. I’m especially proud that I never stopped wanting to be better at it. I’m also proud to have raised three wonderful daughters.

    • Liz says...

      That’s a hard thing to do, to walk out like that. I’m proud of you, too, and glad to hear of the peace your stand-up-ness brought you. Well done.

    • Claire says...

      I’m so sorry you experienced that awful situation. No one deserves to be treated that way! I admire your strength and resolve to stand up for yourself. You will undoubtedly inspire countless others around you to speak up for themselves, too. Good luck with your lawsuit!

    • Suzie says...

      So traumatic. Good for you for not accepting the unacceptable.

    • Lavinia says...

      Good for you! I finally did this step, too, but took me 3 years. I feel really scared and a bit silly – it‘s been months since his last explosion, but so far after a period of calm he always started his attacks again. Ar first I didn‘t want to give in, and thought well that‘s patriachy, learn to deal with it. But at the end – work shouldn‘t be a place of constant struggle, and I am sure I will find a job – probably with less influence and pay- with civilized co-workers. I am afraid that people will think that I am crazy for leaving a job now in a recession, especially now that we have finally seem to habe it worked it out (we did a mediation process together – yes, he has been known for abusing people for years, I am not the first to quit). But so far comments have been very supportive.
      I am proud of myself. Not the best timing, but I am proud that I am doing it anyway.
      Note: Sounds like the devil wears Prada, but actually it‘s an environmental NGO.

  65. Maeve says...

    So often it feels like CoJ is inside my head or witnessing my life with your posts! As someone who has long been quite hard on herself and falls victim to comparison too often, I had this sort of epiphany a couple a years ago. What if I just aimed to end each day feeling proud of myself – for being a supportive friend rather than always sharing my opinions or for checking a few things off my list at work or for being a little extra patient in my conversation with my mom or for just doing the best I could do that day at that time, even if it wasn’t perfection? I couldn’t believe it – why hadn’t I thought this way all along? I trust in my moral compass and I know I’m a good person – why isn’t my daily motivation to just be proud of myself rather than comparing to others endlessly?
    I will not say this enlightened attitude has stuck but I do come back to it every so often and stand a bit taller in the realization. I put good into the world today and achieved things small or big!

  66. Daniela says...

    I’m proud of myself for getting through today. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teen and have felt great for a few weeks (I know, weird time to feel great, long story!) until today. The depression was overpowering; I’m home alone with my husband at work with no friends or family nearby. I can’t stand being alone when I’m depressed.

    But, I gave myself the day off from my to do list and am just sitting on the couch with a cat curled up on me, thinking that I can make it through this day too. And for that, I am proud.

    • Liz says...

      This time is brutal for depression – I have felt as low as I ever felt, off and on over the last two months. But yes– you will make it through this day, too. If being alone is making you feel crazy, please call someone. Even your husband at work. We all need support sometimes.

    • Sam says...

      I see you. You are not alone. ❤️

  67. Rebecca says...

    I am proud of myself for doing yoga and running almost every day of this quarantine. And I have NEVER liked running. I knew when this whole thing started I needed to take of my mental health or I was gonna be unwell. (Also I have a lot of free time these days so might as well) I now look forward to my YouTube Yoga time and 20 minute runs every day! It makes me feel so. much. better.

  68. Emmy says...

    This is so true. I was bullied in elementary and middle school for being smart and enjoying learning, and gradually stopped raising my hand or speaking in class. It affected me for years – in many ways I still think it’s responsible for my fear of public speaking and lack of assertiveness, which are things I am working on.

    BUT… that love of school and learning was just the best kind of foreshadowing, because last spring I finished my PhD! I didn’t even think graduation ceremony would mean that much to me, but all the pomp and circumstance was unexpectedly very special and it felt so good to celebrate with my husband and parents. I can’t believe I wrote my dissertation – at times it seemed impossible, but I did it!!

  69. Christy says...

    That passage from Glennon’s book really spoke to me as well! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    The thing I’m proudest of myself for recently is my courage to choose the harder, scarier path that feels truer to who I am as a person. I am married to a wonderful, loving man who has a completely different view of the future, our roles as husband and wife, and faith than I do. For the last three years, I’ve tried to push myself to fit with his belief system, hoping beyond hope that it would start to click for me because I wanted so badly to make my marriage work and couldn’t imagine my life without him.

    For the last six months, and especially during this pandemic, I’ve been digging into the things that matter to me in therapy, and have forced myself to look at my life and ask if I’m really happy. Two weeks ago, my husband and I started talking about our differences, what we want, and, potentially, not staying married. It’s been horrible and sad and wrenching, and all the other bad adjectives you can think of.

    At the same time – as someone who never gives herself permission to ask “what do I want” or “what is best for me”, I’m really proud of myself for pushing past the fear and having the hard conversation. So often, I have chosen the option that ruffles the least feathers, forgetting that I have feathers too. Often, we’re only proud of ourselves for the positive things that happen. But, in this case, I’m proud of myself for not being too scared of the negative stuff to vocalize how I feel and what’s important to me.

  70. Ramona says...

    I admire people who at least try. Even if they don’t do as well as they’d hoped, at least they tried. And learn. And grow. Are proud and confidence the same thing? I think boastful and conceited are. I think how people are raised and how their friends/peers reacted plays a big part in how they see themselves. Usually every action throughout our life brings a reaction. We cannot control other’s reactions but we can control how we handle them.

  71. patricia blaettler says...

    First of all, I’m proud that I raised 3 lovely people who are contributing members to society.
    Secondly, many years ago I succeeded in a male dominated industry and because of that, offered financial stability for my family for the long-term.
    I left that job many years ago, but I DID IT!

    • Liz says...

      And you probably paved the way for other women to do it, too. Thank you!

  72. Cindy says...

    I am proud of being unafraid to wield a power drill or tackle a DIY home project. While I may not know how to do everything (thank you, Youtube!), I know most things around the house can be repaired or fixed rather than tossing out and buying a new one immediately. Recently our microwave started sparking dramatically and after some googling, we determined it was the wave guide that was the culprit. After spending a few dollars, cutting to the right size, and re-installing, the microwave was fixed… for at least a few sessions. It didn’t end up being the perfect fix, nor a long-term fix, but I’m glad we gave it a go instead of immediately rushing to re-buy. Since then, I’ve re-installed the rear view mirror on my car (an imperfect parking job), sanded and re-stained our stairs and patio furniture, painted the front door, made a toddler busy board, and so on. I hope that I set a good role model for my daughter – that women don’t have to wait for others to fix things, we can try it ourselves and if it doesn’t work out, we’ve learned something along the way! It all contributes to more knowledge and know-how for next time…

    • Susannah says...

      Yes Cindy! There is actually no biological reason why men would be better at handy jobs than women. Very often they’re just figuring it out and youtubing too. I’m about 115lb with little upper body strength and today moved a 500lb cement parking block across our yard and onto the driveway. My muscular husband who’s twice my size stood back and let me go to it after I devised a series of levers and rails with an iron bar, 2x4s and large stones, etc. I was proud and it felt amazing to move something so huge. I was calling out to my girls ” Come and see what mum can do!”

  73. Marie-Eve says...

    I am proud of being a compassionate mom and women and to be able to say I am sorry when I am wrong. I am always trying to acknowlege and welcome all of my childen feelings and to support the living beings around me, seniors, small childrens, babies, strangers, friends, through their good and bad times.

    This post is so interesting to me, because my husband of 16 years has always struck me as way too proud… which is the thing that was always the most difficult characteristic for me to live with in that loved one. When people came over (its seems like such a long time ago), he would show them around, the house and tell them everything he did and would expect ohhh and ahhhhs. He would cook something delicious for them and get all the congratulations, while I would take care of everyone kids and that would go unnoticed… I do most of the invisible work around… I don’t go aroung telling our guests how much laundry I do everyday, or that I cleaned the bathroom before they came over, etc… I always found that he never helped me for things that he would not be able to “show” to people, like helping me when both of ours kids would wake up 10 times a night for 2.5 years each. I did not sleep for 5 years and he never helped even when I verbalized I needed help. I guess I have to be proud of myself, and not expect anyone to tell me anything positive, and be happy for my husabnd.

    Thank you Caroline for showing me this other perspective, that maybe I am downplaying my contribution in the house and that is why I find my husband pride a bit (or a lot) annoying!

  74. Maryann says...

    I’m proud of my family unit and how we are handling this coronavirus isolation. It’s not easy and not always pretty, but we’re doing it and I still love them, and for that I’m exceedingly proud.

    Also “If a poppy acts tall enough, we’re liable to follow them or idolize them or give them their own TV show.” And/or elect them president…

    • M says...

      I hope that tall poppy gets cut down in November, because I just can’t anymore…

  75. Alison says...

    I’m proud to grow food to feed the world.

    • Liz says...

      Grateful to all the farmers. Thank you.

    • Ml says...

      Thank you!

  76. Becca says...

    I love this! I’ve been working hard to cultivate this quality that you write about so beautifully. My life fell apart 3 years ago and just as things were getting better–BAM!–a pandemic. I don’t remember what it feels like to believe that anything is certain or secure or that my life is going somewhere better and brighter, but I keep going one foot forward at a time in hopes that I’ll end up somewhere else. So folding my laundry, cooking a healthy meal, doing my weight exercises, painting with watercolors (poorly), singing a song (out of tune), dancing in my living room, etc. all feel like accomplishments. And when I cannot do anything but lay in bed exhausted and overwhelmed, I am proud that I am wise enough to let myself rest. So even if I cannot see the panorama of my life, I can celebrate these little moment.

    • Alexa says...

      I love this so much!as

  77. Thyme says...

    During this time, I’m proud of the fact that I have leaned into self isolation. The first few weeks of quarantine, I was desperately worried that I wasn’t being productive, which I thought would pass off as laziness. While my roommates and friends are working (from home and otherwise), doing online classes, etc… I was unemployed. On top of that, I had traveled abroad for a month and a half during the first part of 2020. It took a lot of stress and anxiety, but I’ve gotten over that way of thinking about productivity. These days, I’m cooking and baking more, doing art pieces I’ve been bookmarking, searching for an apartment and making a move to another city in a few months, and researching learning methods, apps, and resources to prepare me for medical school in the fall (anticipating it will be online).

  78. Abbe says...

    Thanks for this CoJ & Caroline, this couldn’t come at a better time. Today was my last day of graduate school — I submitted my last final this morning. My partner, parents and friends have been so kind and celebratory, but I’ve felt sort of…”eh” about this milestone. When I pictured this time before the pandemic, I fantasized about having a lovely outdoor graduation party with all my friends and family, toasting our success and looking ahead to a bright future with a fabulous job in it. Instead, I’m looking ahead at a lot of uncertainty, said fabulous job has yet to materialize (and likely won’t for several months), and overall I mostly feel mad at myself for taking on all this debt and leaving my job for nothing.

    Or at least, it feels like nothing just now. It’s hard to feel proud of all I’ve accomplished because it feels like I have nothing to show for it, but of course that’s not true — I have a degree that I worked hard for, friends I didn’t have two years ago, deeper confidence in my abilities, a broader professional network, and am set up to enter a field I wasn’t in previously. I think it’s often hardest to feel proud about accomplishments that don’t bring along the trappings of societal approval, but it is preciously those accomplishments in which we need to feel the most pride. So, I’m trying to get over myself.

    What’s helped is a question that’s been running through my head lately — “What if this (meaning: what I have now, and nothing more) was success?”

  79. Hillary says...

    I am proud of myself for moving to Maui for a year by myself when I was 26 and now continuing to hold on to the dream of moving back with my growing family. I am proud of myself for continuing to eat during this scary time because I want to be healthy for my son, even though my knee jerk reaction is to resort back to eating disorder behaviors and restrict. I am proud of myself for being vulnerable and oftentimes, not okay.

    • anon says...

      Sounds like you are doing an amazing job. I’m proud of you too.

    • Hana says...

      If it doesn’t sound too condescending, I want to say that I’m proud of you too, especially for taking care of yourself by eating and for knowing how important it is for both you and your son that you do that. Managing an eating disorder takes so much work, and I can only imagine how much harder it is during the pandemic. Sending you so much support!!

  80. Katherine says...

    This is a fantastic post, and really illustrates the way we socialize boys vs girls. Men are often lauded for their accomplishments, however small, while girls are (perhaps tacitly) told to downplay their successes, give credit to others, and not speak up for themselves, lest they be labeled “bitchy” or “full of herself.” I think it is imperative that we mention the gender disparity when speaking about this. As a queer woman, I feel much less constrained by societal values of gender, and walk proudly, own my accomplishments, and strive to lift other women as I do myself. Great post Caroline!

  81. Ginny says...

    During this stay at home period, I have been spending way to much time online and not near enough time actually engaging with my kids and husband! So I stayed off of Instagram and/or Facebook for all of Sunday and all but a few minutes on Monday and I’m working on continuing today. It has helped calm my mind especially when it’s time for bed. And hopefully, by staying off it sets a better example for my kids.

  82. Lauren E. says...

    I am proud of myself for having a baby during COVID-19 and raising her with no in-person family support, as my family lives out of state and hasnt been able to travel. My husband is also a healthcare worker and has to work in another city a few days/nights a week. So yeah I’m pretty freaking proud that I’m doing this parent thing in these circumstances.

    • Krissy says...

      You’re a superhero! I’m proud of you too!

    • Caitlin says...

      Lauren!! You are amazing! I feel like my heart is beaming for you! Congrats on the baby!

    • Katie Lewis says...

      You are incredible, Lauren! Go you!

      And major thanks from me to your husband and his colleagues for their work. We appreciate their sacrifice.

    • Gabi says...

      I hope everyone in your life is telling you this, but I’ll add my voice too: you’re a fucking rockstar! New baby days are so, so hard. What a lucky baby to have such a strong mama!

    • Emma D says...

      you absolute queen!! I’m proud of you too

    • Liz says...

      Dude. New babies are SO hard even in the best of circumstances. You’re killin’ it.

  83. celeste says...

    I would’ve noticed the beauty of the soccer player, not immediately cut her down in my mind.

    Do women really think like this? Enough to fill an entire book of these thoughts?

    • Elizabeth says...

      You do realize that you’re being critical right now, right?

    • Lauren says...

      I think it’s wonderful that your first thought would be a positive one. I think many of us have been culturally conditioned to believe pride is not virtuous or attractive in a woman, and we have also been told there are limited spots at the top – that one woman’s success inherently reduces our own. Defying these notions takes intention and can be uncomfortable.

    • Eliza says...

      We really can’t say what we’d do if we were in someone else’s situation, especially with someone else’s entire life behind them. And, yes, there is a beautiful book written by an honest and thoughtful woman with excerpts indicating that she recognizes behaviours brought out in herself and other women by the society we live in. The context is important.

    • Lindsay says...

      The book is not filled with thoughts like these. It’s filled with so many examples of the ways in which women are conditioned to abandon themselves in service of other’s expectations. It is a beautiful book and worth reading.

  84. Rae says...

    I got up, put a mask on, and went to work again today. Even though I’m scared.

    • Liz says...

      That takes so much bravery. You should be proud. I’m inferring that you’re an essential worker of some kind that we all rely upon. I’m grateful. You’re amazing. (As I write this from the safety of my home.) Thank you.

  85. Mary Louise says...

    I am proud of choosing carrots and a piece of cheese as a snack instead of bread or popcorn!

  86. Whitney McCollum says...

    I PR’d my overall 5k time last weekend, after an 18-month recovery from getting hit by a car and breaking my leg, resulting in 2 surgeries. Getting out there and beating my pre-accident time made me feel like I could conquer the world.

    (And it was a lot of work to not also tell myself “well, it’s not that fast compared to other people, etc. etc.”)

  87. Emily says...

    I got into graduate school, with a funding offer, so I can do an MA in my area without going into debt (rare!). I also put in the difficult inward mental and emotional work to figure out what type of program to attend and what was most important to me. And it’s led to a choice that feels right.

  88. A says...

    Thanks for asking this question, Caroline! I am proud of myself for choosing to find and savor the little joys right now, like petting the cat or watching a bumblebee fly by. And I’m proud of myself for taking on the challenge of becoming a therapist! I’ll start seeing my first clients next month and I am nervously excited.

  89. Laine says...

    Really interesting topic and insights from everyone! Caroline is so right about women being taught directly or indirectly that they should be humble and not brag (makes me think of the word humblebrag…hmm?). For me there are add’l reasons that I don’t express pride too much. Like others who have commented, I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome, guilt, & perfectionism. I have Bipolar 2 (milder) & I’m always afraid that feeling “too good” about something is actually a maniac episode. Also, I was raised by a parent with Narcissistic personality disorder and anyone else’s success in our family was usually seen as a threat. I have felt proud on many occasions but have suppressed the urge to express it. Reading this, I realize that I am extremely proud of creating a healthy, well-loved family with my husband and pursuing my own passions, imperfectly, at the same. time.

  90. Amanda says...

    Years ago, a far away friend (mostly pen pal) came to stay with me when she was in the US. She offered to make dinner one night and said “Don’t worry, it’ll be good. I’m quite a good cook.” She said it in such a matter of fact way, not at all boastful, and I was struck by her confidence. She made us a simple and lovely meal, and I have often thought of the way in which she just stated a skill with no weirdness or value attached to it.

  91. Caitlin says...

    I am proud that I trained hard for, and then ran, a half marathon last week. I had never run more than 5 miles in my life, but I wanted to tangibly accomplish something during this quarantine to help combat the lack of control I had been feeling. I have several friends who routinely run full marathons, so I severely downplayed how proud I was of my accomplishment when telling them about it–I was embarrassed to feel so much pride for something they do so easily. But I’m proud, dammit!

  92. Erin says...

    I am proud of the baby Yoda drawing I did while watching a tutorial with my kids that Adam Young from Fogo Island offered yesterday. It turned out really good! I used to pride myself on being “a good drawer” when I was a child, and his quarantine tutorials seem to have put me back in the saddle. Look up his Facebook page, Young Studios.

  93. Emily says...

    I’m dancing! I’m proud that I’m dancing, finally. I am shy and introverted and for a thousand other reasons I don’t dance, not alone, not in front of other people, and I haven’t since I was a little kid. I can remember one tiny incident of being laughed at for feeling the music and dancing it out when I was younger and other than a few alcohol-assisted moments since then, I haven’t danced. But my three year old loves to dance and wants me to dance with her, so I started a little. Then the pandemic happened and I tried out Dance Church. And then Ryan Heffington’s Sweatfest. And now I’m dancing in my living room three mornings a week and my daughter joins me sometimes and my partner walks in sometimes and I have yet to fall apart in embarrassment because I’m too busy prancing like a pony in a meadow of unbridled joy!

    • A says...

      Emily, that is amazing and makes me feel so happy for you! Keep on dancing!!!

    • Caitlin says...

      This is amazing! I need to find a way to bring that meadow of unbridled joy into my house.

  94. Theresa says...

    One of my proudest accomplishments of my adult life was learning to drive stick. I had always wanted to learn and when my partner and I bought our first car, we went manual so there was high motivation for me to learn.

    My partner taught me and it was a true test of the relationship (think of your parents teaching you to first drive a car, then times a million). I shed many tears of frustration practicing in parking lots by myself. It was so difficult and frustrating and then one day I was able to drive (very anxiously) on some neighbourhood streets, and a little while longer on a big scary highway.

    It’s been about 5 years since the summer I first learned and still every time I drive I feel a little ping(!) of pride as I smoothly shift gears.

    • Kari says...

      So good!! I’ve always wanted to learn!

    • ETB says...

      I’m proud I learned this, too! About one month after we were married, my husband taught me to drive stick. I bought a manual mini cooper (everything was right with it, especially the price – just not the whole manual transmission thing, ha).

      It was the first big test of our marriage, and luckily, we passed. But those were a shaky few days!

    • Emily says...

      That’s one of mine too! I learned when I was 20…quite a few years ago. Not many people these days can drive a manual. It’s fun.

    • Amy says...

      My husband attempted to teach me to drive a stick early in our marriage. There were many tense moments and once I got out and walked back home because I could not sit in that damn car any longer.

      At one point I was home and my dad took me out in my mom’s 1960s VW bug. The shift stick was much less finicky and I got the hang of it in about five minutes. I think the pressure was also lessened by being with a parent who had taught me and watched me learn many things before. Luckily it was like riding a bike and that knack transferred to the 90s sports car my husband and I had. I was a happy manual driver for years until we needed a minivan!

  95. lauren says...

    I *finally* learned how to fold a fitted sheet two days ago after years of half-hearted attempts at learning how to do so. I felt so proud of myself!

    • Melissa says...

      Ha! ME TOO! And I was so proud.

  96. CHarlie says...

    What a fabulous post! Love how you take day to day life and make it a social commentary… thats relatable and actionable! The biggest gift parents can give a child is to have self-love. And its the biggest gift we can give ourselves. Caroline, you raise so many good questions!
    – How can I be more proud of myself?
    – How can i raise kids who love themselves?
    – How can I see successes when they occur + fully enjoy them?
    – HOw can I help others see their successes + build self love?

  97. Isabel says...

    I went through a very recent quarantine breakup and though I’m pretty bummed about things not working out, I got on some dating apps to start some interesting conversations and connect with new people (even though quarantine dating is a bit distant ;)

    It feels so self-congratulatory to say, but after a rough break-up, I am proud of being a CATCH! I honestly don’t really care at this point if any of these conversations over Bumble turn into my next great love, but it is really fun to be reminded by someone (besides my mom) that I’m funny, interesting, captivating, charming, and attractive. Though it seems so unladylike to say, I am pretty amazing and anyone would be lucky to date me! In the mean time, I’m also proud that I’m alright being unattached – there’s a lot more free time to pursue all of the hobbies that I’m proud to be interested in! :)

    Thanks Caroline for encouraging us all to be a bit extra proud of just being ourselves. After reading these comments, it’s clear we have a lot to be proud of!

    • Nat Rose says...

      I love this, go Isabel!

    • Claire says...

      Yay Isabel! I’m three months out of a serious relationship, too, and it’s felt hard not to be able to move on and have new experiences as I might’ve liked to. It’s felt good to have weird little phone dates with people, even if nothing comes of them, and remember that I am thoughtful, interesting, funny, and worthy of being treated how I want to be treated!

      Wishing you much love and happiness, and thank you for sharing this experience, Isabel! It brought me so much comfort. :)

  98. Katie says...

    I just defended my MA thesis (via zoom!) yesterday! I’m really proud of myself.

    • Laura says...

      Go, Katie, go!!

    • Denise says...

      You’re awesome Katie, congrats!

  99. Gaby says...

    I love this article! Thank you for the thoughtful words.
    I’ve struggled with feeling proud my whole life, especially in school/work settings. I don’t acknowledge my accomplishments, and I brood over my mistakes no matter how small.

    I’m proud that I work on improving myself every single day: becoming more self aware, more compassionate, more educated, and more mentally/physically healthy. I’m proud that I’m in a successful, happy, respectful, loving relationship for the first time. I’m proud of my friendships, my job, my connection with family. Whew! That felt good to say.

  100. Eli says...

    I am proud of continuing to study for my next CPA exam (no. 3 of 4) (testing June 8!!). I am proud of the delicious lasagna I made Sunday for #TheBigLasagna with Samin Nosrat. I am proud of keeping up my strength and PR’ing my snatch. I am proud of complimenting myself and posting this comment (because it only took me 4 times writing it to convince myself to hit post).

  101. Maeve says...

    I’m proud of keeping 3 young children alive, fed and happy each day.

    • celeste says...

      YES!

  102. Maria says...

    I’m an active and fit person, but I absolutely HATE working out at home or in a standard gym. My love is muay thai and now that I can’t train like I normally would, I’ve been forcing myself to do a daily home workout of core and strength training. I still hate it, but every time I finish a workout I feel super proud of myself for managing to do this thing that I usually despise doing in the moment. I’ve been congratulating myself each time and it feels good to be my own biggest cheerleader.

  103. Denise says...

    The biggest thing I’m proud of myself for is getting out of the religion I was raised in. It’s been my most positive, life-affirming accomplishment so far.

    The littlest thing I’m proud of myself for is de-hairing the tub drain – which is gross & no small thing!

    • Caraline says...

      Denise, yes!!! Me too on that first one. Leaving a religion can be earth shattering and takes such courage. <3

    • Colleen S. says...

      I agree–it’s gross.

  104. Cassie says...

    I am proud of having a baby during the COVID-19 crisis and taking care of the baby by myself for the first two weeks when he was quarantined for another reason- shingles! And surviving two bouts of mastitis and still breastfeeding…for now.

    • Ellen says...

      Go you! Sorry about the mastitis, ugh. You’re doing great!

    • Caitlin says...

      Cassie you sound like such a strong person and great mom. Congrats on the baby!

    • Julee says...

      I’m proud of you too, and I’ve never met you. Mastitis is no joke in the best of times.
      Girl, you’re on fire. The best is yet to come.
      Congratulations on the birth of your baby. Stay strong.

  105. Emily says...

    I’m also proud of the moves I’ve made, both domestically and internationally. I’ve worked as a teacher in 4 countries, with a few shorter stints! Most of have been exhilarating.

    When I lived in Bangkok three years ago, I’d post photos of my travels on the weekends and get comments like, “wow, you’re really living the 20-something life!” Truth was, I was so unhappy and lonely – I was working against some tough living circumstances at the time. At the end of my time there, I wrote my heart out about the challenging year I’d had. I felt like I had to come clean about the assumptions people made from my fun travel photos, but I was terrified to hit publish on what I’d written: https://medium.com/@emily_maretsky/when-a-move-doesnt-work-out-like-you-expect-82cee8fd9651. I’m so glad I did! I got such a great response from friends who I hadn’t spoken to in years, and it felt great to be honest. I am proud of that vulnerability :)

  106. Emma says...

    Really needed this post today. So, so true. I’m a doctoral student in history and received an A on a paper earlier today. My first thought? “I didn’t even work that hard and probably could have done better.” WHAT. So I’m proud of myself for earning that A and writing that paper while living alone for the first time.

    • T says...

      Things don’t have to BE hard to have worked hard. I’m new to learning this at age 36.

    • RRB says...

      From a former doctoral student turned history prof, take time to celebrate and be proud. Each damn step. Only way to make the phd sustainable and actually finish.

      I am proud that I just finished teaching for the semester, and that a bunch of students wrote to thank me for flexibility and kindness during the transition to Zoom. I’m going to celebrate that first, and then celebrate again when I’m done grading :)

      PS I didn’t write anything all that great until the end of grad school. You can do it, just keep putting in the hours. Good luck.

  107. ETB says...

    I am proud of my last review where I got credit for the work I did on the team that went mostly unnoticed by my extroverted male boss, asked for a nice raise (got most of it), and then shortly had the courage to leave said team for a much better one.

    Also, I am reminded of the quote “Lord grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man” (probably not said 100%, and I think it is by Sarah Hagi?)

    I see so many of my male coworkers proudly present every idea – even if it truly stinks – with the confidence that it’s pure genius. We should all believe in ourselves and our ideas more. If we do, then others just might, too.

  108. Lucy says...

    In a way, this is so hard to read. I’m a software engineer, and my imposter syndrome has been *through the roof* since we entered quarantine. Every spare thought is about how dumb I am, how slowly I write code, how I’m dragging my team down. Evaluating my work as ‘neutral’ is my current goal, and the idea of being proud of it feels as insurmountable as swimming to the moon. I 100% think it’s my response to being the only woman on my team, and now that I don’t have the in-person validation of my teammates signaling to me “you’re ok you’re ok you’re ok” I’m afraid I’ll drown in my own criticism.

    That got rambly, but it’s my way of saying: I think I needed this!

    • Rosa says...

      You’re a software engineer and I think that’s so cool. You might write code slowly, but you write code!! (Also I’m pretty sure you don’t write code slowly – that’s just your brain talking!) Be proud of yourself (or at least neutral!) for that, cause you deserve it.

    • Christine says...

      Lucy, as a older woman who has been software developer, here is my two cents: thoughtfully written code, what you may call “slow”, is going to have far higher quality and much less chance of costly bugs down the road. You will also gain speed with experience. Approaching work differently than your male counterparts is not a bad thing! Be proud of forging your path in this technical field that needs and benefits from the leadership of women!

    • Judith says...

      I also feel much more unsure of my work performance since I’m not with the the team anymore. It’s my main problem with working from home right now. I try to tell myself everyday to be less harsh with myself, but that seems to be a long journey ;). All the best to you!

    • Elly says...

      I’m also a software engineer who is objectively slower than my colleagues and my imposter syndrome makes me feel even worse about it.

      However, I was hired in my dream job by teammates whose work I respect more than my own. My company is legally obligated to let me know if my performance is so bad it’s fireable, so I objectively know my performance is better than terrible.

      One thing that’s been helping recently is trying to evaluate my work against my own past work. Let’s take my worst fears as a given (that I’m slow, not very focused, etc.) well, I’m less slow and more focused than I was last week. Celebrate the little wins!

    • N says...

      Hang in there! I agree with other commenters: most likely you don’t „code slowly“. It rather sounds you are very reflected and try to do your job 100%. That’s a lot of pressure! Quality code requires time to develop, it’s surely not about your „WPM“ – but of course I am sure you know this :-)

      I also sometimes feel „less than“ my male coworkers and struggle with imposter syndrome. It is easy to focus on other people’s strengths- and forget about your own. I try to focus on what I do best, and eventually, I „found“ the area of expertise I excel in. (I’ve been in the job for 10+ years now, and believe me, it took time to finally get the feeling „this is something I do well“, even though I always got this feedback from my team leads.)

      Also, (right now more than ever) it helps me a lot to keep an open chat channel with the two coworkers I connect most with: we talk about small coding problems, sometimes just post funny Gifs etc. or even meet for a spontaneous „video call coffee break“. Because guess what: even one of those colleagues said it helped him a lot in „feeling less like a coding robot and more part of a human team“. You might be surprised your team mates may face the very same struggles!

  109. Iza says...

    You made me think of my husband. I am trying to learn some lessons from him, and this is definitely one of them. It has taken me years to realize that I am a “doer” or someone who makes things happen. If I see a problem and its solution, I either fix it myself or reach out to the right people to fix it. It is something I have been doing since I was growing up, and never thought much about it. I certainly know I am not unique in this aspect, but I am starting to take pride in it and acknowledging my value. People have always come to me for advice, I am a sort of a customer service line to friends and family. I do not run a Fortune 500 company, nor have I discovered the cure to cancer, but sometimes it’s the little things… Thanks for writing this fantastic post!

  110. Allie says...

    My goodness, I adore this post and I REALLY adored Untamed. Thank you, Caroline, for getting this out there!

    I am proud of giving less and less of a hoot about what people think of me with each day. (Glennon’s work is a helpful reminder of this, too!). I look back at my 20 year old self and see so much self doubt and uncertainty – usually propelled by the idea that others might not like what I did/said/believed. What energy and pain and sadness that must have caused to my sweet little self! 37-year-old me is much more prone to trust myself with decisions and actions rather than seek external approval first. It is so much less work!

  111. CaraM says...

    I’m proud of myself for sticking to my work-life balance boundaries. I went part-time last year to make more time for my daughter. I work in consulting and adjusting to a 3 day work week means I am hustling to get things wrapped up. I recently got assigned a high profile and high visibility project – it involves more than even my 24 hours that I work, Instead of sneaking in extra work time, I’ve been very vocal with my Managers about asking for help and have even declined meetings beyond my designated work hours. That’s huge progress for me!

    • Meg says...

      this is HARD to do and I’m proud of you for it!

    • Laura says...

      Boundaries are so tricky. Well done, Caram!

  112. Ashley says...

    Caroline! You just blew my mind and sold a book for Glennon Doyle! Be proud of THAT!

    • Morgan says...

      You won’t regret it it’s incredible!!!

  113. Stella says...

    This is such great article! I remember when I first met my husband, I thought his pride and confidence to be a bit arrogant, but I realized it was my own upbringing that affected how I saw myself and others. I think there is a gender influences this, but there is also a cultural component to it too. Growing up in an immigrant family of Chinese descent, girls are taught to be people-pleasers, quiet, and never to boast. I would say that I am quite artistic and at a young age as very good at drawing and art. I was even complimented by friends, however my response was, “No, this isn’t even good. Your drawing/art is better!” I realize that this actually came off as offensive to some of my friends, because it made me seem disingenuous. I’ve learned now how to accept compliments gracefully and see it as a gift from others, and slowly allowing myself to become more proud.
    I am proud to be the first in my family to make it to post-secondary, work as an RN, birth and raise a child, and be a become a homeowner all before the age of 30! :)

  114. Katie S. says...

    I’m proud of myself for learning (ahem…forcing) myself to share negative feelings. I used to feel physically frozen when something made me upset (feeling rejected, dismissed, unheard, jilted, etc.) but would stew and stew until I ended up in big explosive fights later.

    I can finally say what I feel in the same moment that I feel it! I’m sure this is easy and natural for some, but for me it took a year of hard introspection to get here and I’m freaking proud.

    • Rachel says...

      I so admire this! I need to force myself to do the same.

    • J. says...

      I totally relate, Katie, and I am proud of you too!!! This is a CONSTANT thing for me to work on and practice daily, and we are so conditioned to feel like our negative feelings are “wrong.” This is a big journey– brava!!!!!

  115. Kari says...

    Thinking about this, I’m actually really proud of a lot of accomplishments! My husband would be Caroline in our situation, ha. I started a little side business a few years ago growing flowers. I had not previously grown anything, and I now successfully grow almost 3000 sq ft of specialty cut flowers to sell at farmers markets. So I’m proud I learned to grow things and am learning to arrange flowers, and get comfortable dealing with the public at the market and on social media (introvert here!), and balance it all with a full time job!

    I’ve also moved to new cities abroad, without knowing a soul, twice! And I made an incredible salad for lunch today! It just feels good to recognize when we accomplish something, both the mundane and the extraordinary.

  116. liz says...

    love this post. Just want to ask (and also kinda scream): can women stop being annoyed by other women who are confident and proud of themselves? The phenomena is so common and terrible for all of us.

    • Ashley says...

      Yes! You shine, I shine!

    • maria says...

      YES. i find other women to be the most critical of this overall. it breaks my heart. let’s build each other UP!

  117. Katrin says...

    My husband and I split up in February after 16 years together. I am so proud of how after a period of shock, disbelief and wanting to be rescued already, I have really leaned into all the pain, anger, loneliness, longing and sadness this separation has brought to my life.
    I had tried to avoid these feelings for so long, and it makes me feel brave and strong to be able to make space for them within me. I am proud of how my heart has grown, how I feel both vulnerable and whole. I have come alive again.

  118. clare says...

    i’m proud of myself for leaving a career/field i hated to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a vet…i’m 30 years old and not a risk-taker (it took me 2+ years to decide to actually take the plunge). i recognize how incredibly lucky i am to have the resources to do this and a spouse and family that supported my decision. that said, i also feel pretty dang brave to have made this choice.

  119. ND says...

    I have made this observation and voiced it loud 100s of times to my husband and friends. I am flabbergasted that he announces even before he has started cooking that this meal will be the best everyone has ever had, while I still wave off genuine compliments of guest praising and asking for seconds for a dish I toiled over hours for. I believe girls and boys are raised differently. Also, Confidence is either over confidence or under… what is the perfect medium rare of confidence one can display without offending others or appearing lost. Not accepting a genuine compliments is one of the traits girls learn from watching other women.

  120. Hannah says...

    When I try something new during yoga class, I am always grinning. Grinning because how dare the teacher ask me to try this pose. Grinning because I don’t know how, but I’m giving it a shot. Grinning because I’m not perfect. It may not be true elsewhere in my life, but I’m proud that I can smile and chuckle in the face of a challenge during yoga.

  121. Tammy says...

    I’m proud I walked away from my music theater career in my late twenties, because I realized that the reality of the lifestyle did not live up to my dreams. It was scary to give all that up after 10+ years of training and building – a lot like leaving someone you love that you know isn’t good for you. I’m also proud I went back to school at 29 to pursue a different passion. Now in my mid-forties, I am so grateful for the life I’ve created because of those two decisions.

  122. Jenny says...

    That story was the single most resonating part of Untamed to me. I FELT that annoyance at the 12-year-old girl. And then after some introspective searching recalled my absolutely allergic response to bragging of any kind…

    It’s really difficult work to reset that mindset. Thank you for writing this post! In light of that, I have a kickass job at the Smithsonian Institution, and I am proud of that. And trying to be more proud of just doing the best I can do in this current situation.

  123. Hils says...

    I am proud of myself for continuing to study for my licensure exam during the pandemic as it was postponed. I’m taking it in a couple weeks and will kick a** !! So I can be a PTA and start treating patients

  124. Anna Zimmerman says...

    Wonderful writing. Definitely my favorite that you’ve done; such a good perspective to keep in mind when with children/teens/then adults.

    I’m proud of the fact that I’ve stuck to a routine for my 3 year old and have gotten through all the attempted nap strikes, tantrums, phases or whatnot without ever giving up in any area. So many of my mom peers do, or have, and my own mother and MIL are both amazed at my perseverance. It’s definitely a point of pride when they get surprised that my girl is “still napping” or “ate her veggies.” It’s pRt “well duh it’s my job to make sure she does…” and part “I don’t give in!”

  125. Megan McC says...

    I am proud of big things like taking the time to think about what makes a relationship fulfilling for me and looking at each day of this madness as an opportunity to do something good.

    I also am proud of some smaller things like drinking more water, washing my dishes more regularly, and managing to not do something drastic to my hair during the quarantine.

  126. Emily L says...

    Such a good, thought-provoking piece. I struggle with guilt over everything I do, not thinking of the parts I should be proud of, but feeling guilty that I didn’t do other parts better.

    Last year I quit my job in July, for a multitude of reasons, but primarily to take the time to figure out how to move my family from Maryland to Vermont. I felt SO guilty for quitting work when I am well and able to continue and felt like I had to justify that time. But how I REALLY wanted to feel was proud that I had the courage to step away from something that was causing me major anxiety, for getting us in a financial situation where that was possible, and for doing things outside my comfort zone. Finally, 6 months later, we DID move and I am proud of myself for not selling myself short when it came time to interview for my new job and for learning new skills and a new place in a really weird time. Proud of following my dream and making it come true!

  127. Michaela says...

    I realized the same about my husband, and honestly, it felt very annoying to me at times! Totally felt this line: “I did [that], too, and nobody cares. Is that not just being a person?” He’s recently gotten more interested in cooking—something I have been doing for years, self-taught, always trying to encourage him to join—and it’s hard not to feel a little irked when he’s so proud of making something that I never got accolades for doing! But I love the way you framed it here, and I’m going to focus on tooting my own horn (without uh, muffling the sound of his? lol.)

    That said, I am really proud of my cooking! I still have so much to learn, but I’m at a point where I’m very confident working from most recipes and am starting to get much more comfortable making substitutions or otherwise altering recipes on my own (pandemic really pushed this skill as I’ve been trying to make do with what I have, use up everything, and limit trips to the store.) Cooking was something my family did out of obligation, not enjoyment, and we don’t have a strong food culture, so I self-taught myself almost everything and I’ve been really proud of how far I’ve come and how I’m slowly building lovely home cooking into my own little family culture.

  128. Em says...

    I am proud of myself for:
    -my physical fitness that I’ve worked so hard to build and maintain
    -over the last year, increased ability to be vulnerable and really examine myself and how I hold myself back
    -passing two bar exams
    -having lived in various cities all over the country and made a beautiful life for myself in each of them
    -having taught myself to do cat-eye eyeliner despite zero natural proclivity for makeup or drawing neat lines

  129. Jess says...

    Last summer, after 26 years living in Michigan, I set out to learn how to water ski. This did not come naturally. I wiped out over 200 times throughout the summer with little to show for it. Then, in late August (our last weekend up north) I FINALLY got up on water skis and stayed up (for a whole 4 minutes)! More than learning to water ski, I felt proud that I’d allowed myself to fail so many times and still continue to try.

    • Theresa says...

      Awesome Jess! Learning to waterski was one of the hardest things I have learned. I was 12 and wiped out all summer long; again, and again, and again and again But I still remember that first time I stayed up for a lap around the small lake. What a glorious feeling persistence is :)

  130. Kate says...

    Thank you for this post Caroline, similar to your boyfriend, my husband has this proud smirk he gets when he is happy with how his projects turn out. I always tease him about it, but it makes me wonder if I am the one who is uncomfortable with his pride. I would hate to no longer see that smirk.

    I am proud of myself for feeling neutral towards myself – I grew up in an abusive household, and hated myself for decades before starting therapy. Even though I have a hard time seeing anything positive about myself, I at least no longer hate myself, and that is worth being proud of.

    • Corrie says...

      <3 yes it is!

  131. Last week I actually had a miscarriage two months into my path of motherhood. I was deeply sad and living alone for 40 days was not helping. I awoke to flowers on my porch from my best friend in Madrid. My neighbour brought me dinner and a card. My girlfriend in CA sent me amazon fresh groceries with two bottles of wine.

    What I’m most proud of is the people in my life. They are mine, and I am theirs. To the people who sit with us, show up, it is the greatest of joys. I am proud just to be swimming in the giving and receiving of that love, to remind me I am not alone.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so sorry for your loss, tara.

    • Sarah says...

      So sorry, Tara – you’re not alone. <3

    • Stella says...

      I am so sorry to hear. It is such a devastating loss. I also had a miscarriage last month, about 9 weeks into pregnancy. A friend of mine had fresh flowers delivered the morning I was going into surgery and that gesture allowed me to feel so cared for, my grief so validated, and loss so recognized. How blessed you are to have such wonderful people in your life who love you, as do I! Thank you for sharing your perspective. It is so comforting to read. :)

    • Tara says...

      thanks all <3 xoxo

  132. Audrey says...

    love this post and loved Untamed! Required reading for all women, IMO. I’m proud of myself for not being passive with my happiness and career. I’ ve been taking online classes for about 6-months to make a career change and leave my corporate job that doesn’t serve me anymore.

    • Emily says...

      I’m so curious what you’re making the switch to! Tell us more…if you feel like it. I see myself in the same boat soon.

    • Audrey says...

      Hi Emily! I’m currently working as an Account Manager for a technology company. I’ve been technology for years and my heart isn’t in it. I minored in nutrition in college over a decade ago but I’ve always been passionate about it, so I started an online certification program in holistic health coaching at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I’m actually thinking of getting my Master in Diet Science when I’m done, but plan to start taking health coaching clients in the meantime.

      Best of luck to you as you navigate a change as well! It’s scary but I’m so glad I listened to my intuition.

  133. Sarah says...

    I’m proud of how much my husband and I have grown in the way we argue with each other over the last three years we’ve been married. We’ve made so much progress in that area and we high-five over it all the time!

    • Rachel says...

      This is a big deal! Newly married here, and there’s a lot to argue about. You’ve given me some hope :)

  134. Jane says...

    This was so good!!! I recently transitioned to a new work team through an acquisition and one of my new bosses treated me very poorly to the point where I went to HR. It was glossed over because he’s high up in management, and I felt pretty embarrassed that I said anything for a while. I had to talk through it in therapy but now I’m proud of myself for saying something and then still showing up every day and doing my best even when it felt like the company didn’t deserve it.

    I’m proud of everyone here, too :) thanks for another great piece Caroline!

  135. Maywyn says...

    Thoughtful post, good insight
    I am still puffed up about making it to an appointment (2 weeks ago) without an anxiety attack or an elevated level of anxiety. By preparing weeks before the date and time, I lived a miracle. I still feel the giggle in my soul. And, I think I can do it again.

  136. Mariane Nadaline says...

    I felt very touched by this article, because these days have been very emotional for obvious reasons. I am a teacher and I teach children and teenagers. I am constantly worried about tasks, and marks and schedules and getting students to speak (I teach English as a foreign language). But I think that what makes me special for my students is when they talk to me, they ask me something, a piece of information, a favor, and I answer them with kindness. That’s it: I am proud of being a kind and good teacher.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love this so much, mariane. your students are so lucky to have you.

    • Claire says...

      This is lovely, Mariane! I work in a school, too, and am struggling not being able to see my students. It felt so good to hear one of my student’s voices today for the first time in two months. To hear that she missed seeing me at school helped me to believe that I am doing a good job for my students. You sound like a wonderful teacher!

  137. I’m really good at learning languages- from vocab to accents- and I am pretty proud of it :) this is definitely an area in society where men are taught differently than women. I can’t wait for that mentality to be a thing of the past.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      amazing that you are good at accents! that’s so hard!

  138. Melissa says...

    I am proud of telling myself, since yesterday, that I am good enough, I am loved, and that I am doing a good job during this stressful, unknown time. I am tired of hearing my own voice saying: you’re not good enough, you should have done more today, you should be doing better. Instead, I want to hear the kind and gentle voice I find myself using towards my dear friends, family, co-workers etc. a little more often.

  139. Mel says...

    I love this post. I am in a new relationship and my boyfriend is very complimentary. I have had to get more comfortable with compliments after years of waving them off or feeling unworthy or “don’t appear like you have a big head.” Hearing all of the things I do that impresses him sometimes surprises me because they seem normal because they are *my normal,* but not everyone does these things. They have included things like pairing complimentary flavors in my cooking and arranging his phone cord so that it can’t fall behind the nightstand anymore. I would say I’m good at seeing a potential problem before it happens and doing something to prevent it from happening. And being able to understand when someone isn’t understanding a conversation and then including them to make sure they do.

  140. Jenny says...

    This is my favorite of all the articles you’ve ever written. As a mom to 3 girls, THIS is what we are discussing tonight at family dinner.
    I am a trauma nurse and work with gifted surgeons. It is accepted when the male surgeons are arrogant, demand perfection, or are even humbly proud. Historically, It has not been the same experience for the female surgeons I work with. But there is this one female surgeon who just kicks ass and has this confidence that at first, intimidated me and somewhat annoyed me. And then she continued to save lives, take riskier cases that other surgeons (male or female) wouldn’t touch. She also has a great sense of humor and stellar work ethic. I have learned that my annoyance with her 2 years ago was 100% my issue. She has helped me to grow and raise more confident young women.
    This is something I am so glad you addressed and look forward to coming back later and reading all the comments. Bravo!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love this, jenny! and thank you for the work you do.

    • Jenny says...

      And I’m proud of doing a pretty good job of balancing being a nurse and a full time mom to 4 during a pandemic. Actually, I’m pretty damn proud of that.

    • Happy Nurse’s Week! Thank you for all you do <3

  141. Joanna says...

    What a thoughtful post, Caroline! As a fellow downplayer of accomplishments, I so appreciate the invitation to consider and share something about which I am proud. I moved into a small rental a little over three years ago- I was newly single, in my early thirties, and living alone for the first time! I was equally terrified and thrilled and, in the years since, I have created a home that is a true reflection of who I am and what I value and that, fortunately, I enjoy spending lots of time in :)

  142. Allyson says...

    I’m proud myself for turning down Zoom happy hour/coffee/hang out invites. I just don’t want to… but I spent the first many weeks of this *PANDEMIC* acting like everything is fine and “I will do my best to attend!” However I started feeling ashamed of not wanting to, ashamed of making excuses or flaking out, ashamed that I don’t want to work all day, run my house all day, take care of my toddler and dogs and chickens ALL DAY and then carve out more time in front of a computer to pretend I want to “network” or “catch up” with people right now. Even if they need it (and I am nothing if not self-sacrificing), I can’t. I don’t want to right now. So I’ve started saying no. Not right now. I’m not up for it. This has been so hard but so rewarding. Also, I’ve kept a gratitude journal all of 2020 and I am SO proud of that.

    • Audrey says...

      Yes to this, Allyson! I feel the same way about Zoom happy hours. I just can’t either.

  143. Brittany says...

    I gave birth last week to our third child. The birth itself was mind blowingly awesome and for that I am proud- of my body, resolve, and the little baby for being such a solid team mate in the birthing process. But more so, I am proud of navigating child birth and the immediate postpartum period with gratitude and acceptance, rather than my usual anxiety- which seemed inevitable given our current state of affairs.

    • Jackie says...

      I AM PROUD OF YOU TOO! So, so strong. Seriously, well done from one mama to another. What an awesome teammate your little baby has in you.

  144. Jules says...

    My husband is this way also and I just love it. I can picture him as a kid completely- exclaiming that ‘he did it’. He loves to hear how good he did too or be told whatever it was is appreciated. I always thought it might be because he is an only child and maybe everything was so celebrated, while I come from one of six. Also, you should be because were all proud of you too!!!

  145. MD says...

    I am proud of myself for learning how to use google docs and other programs to create fun activities to share with my students (I’m not normally a very techy person and always joke to my even less techy parents that if I’m their tech support they’re screwed!). But I spent a lot of time playing with the programs and watching how to videos on YouTube and now I’m getting pretty good at it!

    • Kenzie Randall says...

      As a fellow teacher I know how rough this transition to online learning has been so I am proud of you too!!! I bet your students love you!

  146. This post really speaks to me around this time of year.
    I remember my college graduation day as one of the best days of my life. I remember waking up feeling so incredibly proud of myself for moving eight hours away from home, living on my own (paying rent and other bills!) for two of the four years, earning the cum laude sash, and choosing to pursue a career in a field I felt really good about. My college graduation was the first time both sides of my family (my parents are divorced) had dinner together in my whole life. I know some people don’t even walk in the ceremony, but going to college is still a real privilege and I am glad my 22 year old self recognized that and treasured it so much.

    (To anyone reading this who has had to miss their graduation or child’s graduation due to the virus, I am so deeply sorry. <3)

  147. Rachel says...

    I was just talking with my husband about this last night! Our American family returned to the US a few months ago after living in Sweden. My husband came ahead of the family by a few weeks to start work. That left me to close on the sale of our apartment, get us packed and moved out of the apartment, move in to a temporary hotel, finish selling some larger items like our cargo bike, drag our suitcases to the train station in the rain, take a train, 2 planes and 1 car ride for the final move and all while keeping a sense of routine and normalcy for our school-aged kids. And I never stopped working as a teacher until the day we left. I’m proud of myself for handling all of that! And I’m proud of the whole family for taking the opportunity to live abroad. It was epic.

    • Allyson says...

      Bravo! This is truly impressive and inspiring.

    • Rachel says...

      Allyson,
      Thank you for your kind words. I’m crying from your encouragement! Thank you!

  148. Courtney says...

    I’m proud of myself for taking early morning walks this week and making steady progress on a project that is important to me.

  149. Merryn says...

    Caroline I really love your writing. Thank you so much.
    I am proud of putting myself through university, working and saving hard, and eventually owning a house and leading a life I enjoy and feel I deserve.
    Love to all at CoJ xoxo