My 8 year old granddaughter was in the cast of the show, Honk!, a musical based on the story of the Ugly Duckling.
Sitting in the middle school auditorium on opening night, my daughter and I grinned and grinned every time we saw her on stage. In two scenes she was one of the little kitties scampering around, and in a third she was one of the frogs that hopped and danced during the number “Warts and All!”
At the end of the show, the performers took their bows and then came into the auditorium to find their families and get hugs. With her little kitty ears still on her head, she smiled brightly and said, to us, “I’m so proud of myself!”
Her joyful, spontaneous statement took my breath away.
It’s always been so hard for me to say those words. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did, and I can always undermine any sense of pride by making lists of all the things I did wrong in any situation.
Maybe I never learned that we don’t have to be perfect to feel proud about what we have done.
Maybe I always thought I would sound conceited if I shared how I felt, though it never sounds that way when it comes from your heart.
Maybe I wanted to stay small and not be noticed.
I find it so interesting that we have learned to honor our feelings of grief, sadness and depression, but many of us have forgotten to honor our feelings of pride.
It takes courage to feel proud. It takes honesty. It takes practice.
When we can feel proud we give others permission to do the same, to let their light shine brightly and to celebrate their accomplishments, whether it’s that they got the garbage out on time or they found the answer to world peace.