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stroker PowerDork
6/23/22 9:23 a.m.

It occurred to me this morning that aside from my kids, I have nothing in my life in which I'm genuinely proud.  No career, two failed marriages, a house I dislike, no possessions which I created.  I'm not looking for sympathy or tough love, but rather some inspiration.

What in your life gives you the most legitimate, objective pride?  Something you know is quality for which you were personally responsible?  It can be anything--kicking smoking, losing weight, a project at work, some act of benevolence, a career accreditation, whatever.  I'm hoping somebody mentions something that gives me an idea of a goal.


Appleseed MegaDork
6/23/22 9:31 a.m.

My kindness. I do nice things for people and genuinely enjoy it. Their joy becomes my joy. It's not something you go to college for. It can be taught,  but it's more like a religion or philosophy. You just feel it in your guts. And it feels good.

BoulderG None
6/23/22 9:33 a.m.

It might benefit you to write your own obituary.

That exercise is a good way to force yourself to review your life, and as you say, your accomplishments. How do you want your close friends and family to remember you? How would you want to be known to strangers?

I suspect there are many more things in your plus column than you are giving yourself credit for. Things that seem minor to you may have had huge positive impact on other people's lives, in many different ways.

mtn MegaDork
6/23/22 9:37 a.m.
  • Making it to Level 4 Referee for USA Hockey - the highest level before going into juniors/college/pro - before they watered it down by removing the skating test
  • Getting up in front of people to play music, even if it is just at a dive bar
  • Building an app/relational database at work with no prior experience doing such a thing
  • A goal that I'm trying to meet: Break 90 on the golf course (I've done it before, but its been awhile), then break 85, then break 80
  • Restored a boat with my brothers when I was 11 years old. Not a full on restoration, but enough for an 11 year old
  • Built a computer, a shelf, do some work on my own cars, rebuilt a snowblower, replaced sump pumps and other household issues for my inlaws...
  • Mowed the lawn for my friends that just had a baby

Doesn't have to be a big thing to feel pride in it. 

Dirtydog (Forum Supporter)
Dirtydog (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/23/22 9:40 a.m.

In my latter teens, my family didn't think I'd make it to 30.  I'm now knocking on 70.  That's that.  I had a failed marriage, now 37 years to a woman who's my best friend.  I worked 2 jobs, raised 2 good kids. and am now retired.  No real money, but what I got is mine, and I am proud of it.  

PS:  I wanted a Jaguar XJ for about 25 years.  I now have a 2004 XJ8, and I am really enjoying it.  Brings a smile every time I drive it.


Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
6/23/22 9:48 a.m.

TL;DR - What fulfills me most isn't big "goal" accomplishments, but ongoing endeavors where the is always room for improvement - preferably with the ability to track or note small milestones or accomplishments on the regular.

Appleseed said:

My kindness. I do nice things for people and genuinely enjoy it. Their joy becomes my joy. It's not something you go to college for. It can be taught,  but it's more like a religion or philosophy. You just feel it in your guts. And it feels good.

This is a good one. I try to make a point of stopping to help people who look to be in genuine distress as much as is practical. I make a point to treat people doing service jobs with respect (servers, drive-thru attendants, grocery store checkers, etc).

I realized a while ago that pretty much none of us are going to do something big and grand that makes such a difference that people will remember our names after we die. But there is *always* an opportunity to leave things just a little bit better than you found them. Be nice to someone. Treat someone with respect. Put an extra grocery cart away. Pick up a piece of garbage. Ask the person on the side of the road if they need help.

When you're free of feeling you have to do something big that "matters", you're open to recognizing how the smallest things still matter.

Personal accomplishments or things that I find meaning in

  • Challenging myself to doing new and hard things
  • Learning to skate ramps and do tricks on skateboards and rollerskates is very fulfilling
  • Teaching lessons to pass on skills - dance, driving, skating, brewing knowledge
  • GM'ing tabletop games well so my players have fun
  • Brewing beers people like
  • (Weird and personal) Knowing members of the Tango community in Berlin have emulated elements of my dance style. (Apparently mostly queer women - which I find slightly amusing.)
  • Lifting weights and hitting the 1,000lbs club.

I'd say the biggest thread for things that give me satisfaction are not big milestones that I complete and put behind me - like graduating brewing school. It's small daily or weekly things where there is continuous room for refinement and progress. Things where I can check off small milestones, but that I know I'll never "complete". Like... I can't complete skateboarding, but I can learn a new trick or polish an existing one. I'll never brew the perfect beer, but I can refine a recipe or process to make it a *little* bit better.

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
6/23/22 9:50 a.m.

I'm a proud man. Sometimes to a fault. I am generally proud of what I accomplish almost every day. 

I think I'm proudest of the 10 years of my life I spent as a full time volunteer building houses in poor areas and third world countries with Habitat for Humanity International. It was amazing.

I am also proud that I gave it up and focused on raising my family when the time came for that. 

golfduke Dork
6/23/22 9:51 a.m.
Appleseed said:

My kindness. I do nice things for people and genuinely enjoy it. Their joy becomes my joy. It's not something you go to college for. It can be taught,  but it's more like a religion or philosophy. You just feel it in your guts. And it feels good.

This echos with me deeply.  As someone who struggles with Self-worth issues, I do my damndest every morning to wake up with a positive attitude and be overly nice and helpful in every interaction I have that day.  You never know how good grace can change someone else's day.  When I die, there's gonna be a lot more people saying I was a good person than a bad one... and that's something I'm immensely proud of. 

Toyman! MegaDork
6/23/22 9:56 a.m.

Pride is the last of the deadly sins and can be very insidious. Don't do things for pride. Do things because they are the right thing to do. 

Everything else is just fluff. As long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you did your best when it counted, nothing else matters. 

I am proud of my kids. They range from 18-36, are well adjusted, and are an asset to society. We didn't raise them so we would be proud of them. We raised them because that was the right thing to do. Being proud of them is just a byproduct. 

I've done a fairly good job of running a small company for 18 years. We have managed to keep the bills paid, and feed and house 5 families. I value my employees and I think they value me. We are a team. I didn't do that for pride. I did that because it is the right thing to do. Being proud of it is again, just a byproduct.  

I donate money to the local Food Bank. I don't tell anyone about it, I just do it. Not for pride, but because feeding people who are less fortunate is the right thing to do. 

Just do right and let everything else lay where it falls. Including pride. 


Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/23/22 10:06 a.m.

Humans are usually most proud of the things they work hardest for. Doesn't matter what it is, just that they worked hard for it. Do not be afraid of hard work or failing. 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
6/23/22 10:10 a.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

I hear you, and agree completely. 

But I also have learned how important it is for most of the people around me to hear me say the words "I'm proud of you".

Toyman! MegaDork
6/23/22 10:17 a.m.

In reply to SV reX :

100% agreement!

Pride in others should be freely shouted from the mountain tops as often as possible. 

Pride in self should be kept in a box and only looked at on depressing days when the sun doesn't shine. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
6/23/22 10:25 a.m.

I feel like I'm in a somewhat similar mindset, or at least one I'm trying to overcome, so I've got some stuff to share here.  

I think about the things I've done to help family and friends.  I'm proud of showing up.  I like the projects I get into, like the challenges I give myself outside of my job, and I like that I don't run from realistic challenges at my work (give me something I think is unrealistic at work and that's something else...).  I try to stay physically fit and am generally happy with what I'm doing there.  

I generally like myself as a person though I'm trying to learn that I have fewer warts than I sometimes perceive.  This is really important.  To that end, I'm working on journaling, mindfulness, and I see a therapist.  There's all kinds of ways to skin this cat and there's more to I'm doing here; it sounds like this is maybe an area where the OP could spend some time and energy.  

Something I did to help myself organize is a document where I am looking for what I want to be doing with my life.  High level things like "have engaging & collaborative friendships" gets broken down into more details and action steps like people I know to try and collaborate with and learn from or activities to try and maintain or expand on.  I wanted to organize my goals and keep actions in mind, in print, and I check them off as things are accomplished.  

A thought exercise I recently saw, in relation to confidence in relationships, was to write out 50 positive things we bring to a relationship.  I think this really could be applied to all relationships and building our confidence in general if we're not feeling so great about ourselves.  It might be interesting to work through something like that and really think about what makes us ourselves and the positives we possess as individuals.  OP might consider that during some reflective downtime.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/23/22 10:34 a.m.

Nothing really.  I think it's important for me to recognize that I have achievements in motorsports and adventures and life in general that I should be proud of, but I have to think really hard about them to feel any specific sort of way- I'm looking much harder at "what's next?" rather than trying to feel good about what's already happened.  I'm genuinely not sure how much of a problem that is or isn't.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
6/23/22 10:41 a.m.

I dont know, pride is a powerful motivator and a lack of pride can make motivation difficult. 


I am proud that my work makes a difference and saves lives. I am proud that I can make a positive impact.


I could also say a lot on pride I have in my kids and doing things right by them. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/23/22 10:43 a.m.

I think that this is an awesome thread in that it's thought provoking and my answer might not be the same a day from now. The answer that sticks with me is Appleseeds "kindness". I'm an underachiever and don't have as much to be proud of as I'd like,  but what stays with me are when I've helped others. Weekends spent doing construction for charities. The old friend that I found dumpster diving and helped get a job and back on his feet.  The time spent with my in-laws when they were fading. When I think of what a disproportionately large impact those events have had on my life, the logical conclusion is that I need to do more of it. When you give, you get.

One other thing that comes to mind is that I've almost never walked away from an emergency. Pulled a guy out of a burning car. Rescued a gal from an aggressive drunk. Stuff like that. The key was acting in the moment, because the longer one thinks about it, the less likely one is to act.

1988RedT2 MegaDork
6/23/22 10:45 a.m.

If you have kids and they're not in jail, you have all you need to be proud of, right there.

The Bible warns us of pride in material possessions:  Proverbs 11:2 --  When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom.

My suggestion would be to find an organization that can put your talents to use during your free time in volunteer work--helping others who cannot help themselves.  It is my experience that this is the sort of work that gives me the greatest satisfaction.


Mr_Asa PowerDork
6/23/22 10:48 a.m.

Appleseed and Toyman covered most of what I'd say.


As for doing what feels good/what gives you contentment, in the past couple years I picked my camera up again.  What got me back into it was a veteran workshop, initially designed as a kind of mental rehabilitation it turned into something else and is an annual thing.  There's a show after every class, then the photos go on a short tour of the area at veteran related facilities. There's also a chance for national exposure which I have yet to try for.

I'm not someone who cuts myself a lot of slack, so the feedback I've received has done wonders for me.


Maybe try picking up something you used to love but had to set aside for whatever reason?

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
6/23/22 10:55 a.m.

Two daughters, one nurse, one vet, both capable and strong young women.

I am 34 years into a business that has fed me and my family.

When I phone my suppliers, often their voice on the phone brightens when they realize its me.

People ask my advice.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
6/23/22 10:55 a.m.

Pride is complicated.  

I'm okay with taking some pride in myself as a person, my accomplishments, and being proud of what I bring to whatever I'm involved with.


Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
6/23/22 11:00 a.m.

Being proud of something is not the same as being prideful.

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) MegaDork
6/23/22 11:06 a.m.

It's easy to conflate pride and self-esteem. Self esteem is healthy. Pride is self-esteem gone toxic.

I'm most proud of the fact that I paid my own way through college while living on my own and working. I didn't do well in college, but I did it mostly on my own. 


infinitenexus Dork
6/23/22 12:39 p.m.

In reply to stroker :

You're not the only one. I thought about pretty much the same thing the other day and it dawned on me that I feel kinda the same way. My wife is amazing and I have the best son in the world, but otherwise I feel like I've wasted 95% of my life. I've done a lot of things others would probably be proud of:

wrote, recorded, and released around 30 albums
played on a stage in front of thousands of people all along the east coast
served in the military and currently retired
employee of the month at my current job and 2 raises in a 13-month period
completed the san francisco marathon
built around 15 electric guitars from scratch
speak three languages
deadlifted more than twice my bodyweight
learned to surf in hawaii
been with more than 100 women (I'm not proud of it but like I said, some other guys would be)
quit smoking
taught myself to weld, to paint, to rebuild engines, work on suspension, etc
vegetarian for nearly 2 years
recently, gained 30 pounds of muscle in around 8 months and became very fit

And yet I tend to go through life feeling like little more than a failure. But c'est la vie. Can't let the buzzing gnats get you down. Always focus on the positives. I've read good things about daily affirmations, though never tried them myself.

Honestly, I don't know what it'll take for me to feel pride in myself. I don't know if I'll ever feel that. Maybe it just depends on a person's personality. 

Stroker, maybe you should try something new, try to make some memories. Go run a 5K, take some painting classes or pottery classes. Learn to brew, get a small kit and brew a batch of your own beer, get some free graphical software and design your own label. Hang the painting on your wall, place the vase on your mantle, frame the label, and drink the beer. Sit back and appreciate that you did something cool.

If you dislike your house, is that something that can be fixed? A can of good paint is $50 and can go a long way towards making a room look better. 

slefain UltimaDork
6/23/22 12:49 p.m.

I fight to make my community better. Attend local city meetings, give feedback, call out bullE36 M3 when necessary. Pick up trash, talk with everyone I meet while I'm out and about. I got a burned out apartment building demolished a few years ago after getting the county shamed on the news.

Lately I've been biking in the mornings. Did 10 miles this morning and discovered a way to get to the next town via bike trails. Sounds dumb but I was excited when the bike path popped out in a spot where I had only ever driven to. I ride a cheap Target mountain bike and wear shorts/shirt. Nothing fancy.

docwyte PowerDork
6/23/22 2:42 p.m.

I've treated thousands of people.  I've gone on humanitarian missions where I was probably the only dentist they'd seen their entire lives.  In addition to my business I've been in the Air Force/Coast Guard for 23 years.  I've built numerous cars and gained a reputation for an eye for detail and having cars that people know are well built, so they want to buy them.  I'm a damn nice guy, :)

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