Having a positive self-image and healthy self-esteem is essential to overall wellbeing. One way to help build this positive self-image, and truly be ‘your own best friend’, is to regularly find ways to build self-pride. And I don’t mean pride in the ugly ‘hubris’ sense, but instead as a virtue best defined by the Greek philosopher Aristotle:

“Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them more powerful, and it is not found without them. Therefore it is hard to be truly proud; for it is impossible without nobility and goodness of character.” Aristotle.

Here are five ideas to get you started on building self-pride.



  1. Become a morning person

The internet is full of lists of ‘things successful people do’, and while they might all subtly differ, one thing they usually have in common is suggesting that being an early riser is a key to success. Being a morning person means, obviously, you create more time in your day, but more than that, many of us are at our most committed, our most energised and most creative in the morning – which you wouldn’t necessarily know about yourself if you usually sleep in!

The Journal of Applied Psychology reports that morning people tend to be more proactive, generally. You could use the time to meditate, exercise, plan, or write long over due letters (real letters!) to friends. The options are endless! So if you can make a commitment to get up earlier, you may find that it’s ‘quality time’, and you’ll have created a space for achievements you can be really proud of.


  1. Practice being appreciative

Practicing gratitude is all the rage at the moment, and people are posting lists of things they’re grateful for all over social media. It’s a lovely idea. The concept of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) works similarly. AI was developed in the US in the mid-1980s. It essentially argues that problem-solving techniques start with the problem, and then trap us there – focused on ‘the problem’. If you can identify what’s already working well, and aim to do more of that, the problems either resolve themselves, cease to matter, OR the mental re-framing you undergo removes the ‘problem’ label from situations altogether.

Examining your life with an appreciative eye is a great way to focus on its positive aspects and feel a greater sense of self-pride. Take 5 minutes (or longer!) to look around your life – your family, your job, your relationships, your health – with an appreciative eye and an inquiring mind. What already works well? What would it take to be like ‘that’, whatever ‘that’ is, all of the time? What steps can you take to do/be/think more of that, more often?


  1. Be kind to strangers

When you give your time or your energy you bring out the best in yourself. It forces you to look outside your own world and hit pause on the self-talk (which is so often more negative than we realise). Projecting generous, kind loving thoughts out into the Universe helps to re-configure, even if only temporarily, how we think about ourselves.

You feel proud when you pay it forward, right? A simple random act of kindness can give me that warm fuzzy feeling that lasts all day. A great way to build self-pride is to do one random act of kindness or charitable thing each day. It could be anything, no matter how small, it doesn’t matter. It could be a gift or donation, it could be offering to help a friend out, it could be rescuing a stranger from some sort of predicament or even getting on board with a crowd-sourcing campaign. Send someone a note or some flowers to tell them you appreciate them. You might even consider volunteering your time for a charity.

The Huffington Post is one of just many sources that report the myriad benefits of volunteering – your physical and mental health, self-esteem, chronic illness, mood and general well-being are all said to improve. They write that on the basis of research findings, “it doesn’t seem far-fetched to think that helping others can provide you with a sense of connection, pride, and perspective”. Spot on! I’ve personally experienced this many times over and the magic word there is pride, because when you’re proud of yourself, you treat yourself with kindness and respect and all sorts of other goodness flows!


  1. Get creative – nurture your inner child

‘Inner child’ theory is something I’ve been aware of for a long time, and it has come up again more recently through reading various books on the subject. Authors like Julia Cameron claim that we’re all born creative – only a short time watching young children play will remind you of this – but life and society gradually squash it down until, for many of us, we’re adults with a repressed creativity that we’re sometimes not even conscious of.

The internet abounds with various techniques to ‘heal’ your inner creative. If there’s a central message, it’s don’t be afraid to just have a go. And quit with the negative self talk about not being ‘naturally good’ at being creative. True artists are those that choose to acknowledge their creativity as an important part of their true selves and invest time in developing and nurturing it. A quote from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way that I particularly loved is: “Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity. You take care of the quality”.

Taking the time to explore your creativity and nurturing your inner child is a great way to feel more proud of yourself. It really doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s write, paint, draw, sculpt or sew, just produce something. No one need see it and if they do, instead of laughing as you might suspect they would, they’ll likely admire you for having a go. You’re nurturing your inner child by choosing to let energy flow through your fingers and out onto the page/wheel/fabric/canvas. The output and its quality doesn’t matter a damn.


  1. Push yourself out of your comfort zone

I saw this saying recently – “outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens” and loved it. Another example is ‘the comfort zone is a lovely place, but nothing grows there”. The theme is the same – when we find the courage to push ourselves out of our comfort zones – that is beyond the ‘same same’ of our everyday lives, into the scary unknown, we experience real personal growth.

Self-help expert Anthony Robbins writes that human beings have six core needs, and two of these are ‘certainty’ and ‘uncertainty’. Rather than being contradictory, this means that we need a healthy balance of certainty (comfort) and uncertainty (discomfort) to really bring out the best in ourselves.

So my question to you is, where is your comfort zone, and how could you challenge yourself to at least dip a toe outside of it? All sorts of amazing things might happen – scrap that, WILL happen, if you do. At the very least you’ll feel pretty damn proud of yourself.

It’s commonly said that “life is too short” to waste by not taking full advantage of the opportunities it offers. Holding yourself back through self-doubt, or misguided fears of ‘not being good enough’ is squandering these opportunities. The above five ways to build self-pride are just ideas to get you started – what others can you think of?

About the author 

Gen Ford

Over the past 4-5 years Gen has lost almost 30% of her body weight, going from a miserable pre-diabetic size 18 to a fit, healthy size 8-10. Losing weight has changed her life in more ways than she could possibly have imagined – extending far beyond weight loss and fitness into every aspect of personal development and well-being. Gen is now travelling the world as a digital nomad, sharing insights and blogging about her experiences at www.gi-gen.com. She can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/G.I.Gen.

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. I feel I can resonate with lot of suggestions here, the thing that works best for me is to wake up early and pushing my self out of comfort zone. I am trying to make it a habit to do something that feels uncomfortable every day.

  2. Being kind to strangers gave me huge advantage. I was at this party where I don’t know anyone and there’s this guy who needs help (and nobody would because he smells funny). I did help him. Turns out he’s a company head and began referring me. Until now, we’re good friends. I will never forget he became a blessing to me.

  3. Agreed Brendan and Rose ,

    I’m sure you have heard a journalist once asked Mohammad Ali how may sit-ups he could do.
    He replied “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.”

    But I guess you can apply this quote further afield from the gym (I know it pops into my head just as I think I can’t do anymore!)
    Testing yourself and breaking through barriers is a sure fire way to re ignite your confidence – and who knows , maybe you will lift your chin a little higher and look at yourself a little differently in the mirror that day as a result ?

  4. Nice post Gen!
    I love how you broke down the principle of being grateful. I knew that it’s known to have positive effects, but I didn’t know why. You just brought light into the dark 🙂

    I have a morning routine, where I read a “compass” that I created. That document includes my goals in life (short- & long-term), affirmations and a set of principles I want to live by. Reading that compass every morning really helps me to stay focused on the most important things. It also helps to build self-pride, because I list some of my accomplishments in there and on affirmation is that I love myself and I’m proud of my journey.


    1. Jan that compass of yours sounds awesome! (And I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to respond to your comment!).

      I’m so glad you got something out of this. I’ve just re-read it again for myself because we all need reminding from time-to-time 🙂


  5. Thanks so much Dan, that’s very kind of you. And congrats on your transformation too!

  6. Self pride – something I never used to have very much of. This is an excellent post Gen!

    P.S. I can relate to your story quote well, however I did the opposite and actually went from being a skinny guy to gaining 30% of my bodyweight in muscle.

    Continue to write great posts!

  7. Thanks for this great post. As I read it, I felt motivated because one it is 2 am in the morning and I am up working and will at 5pm head out to the gym so it was quite appropriate to be reading your post as this time.
    I totally agree with your suggestions but I think the biggest beside becoming a morning person for most people is getting out of their comfort zone. Most people will take a peak or a step but once it gets turbulent they run back to where they feel safe.

    I was one of those persons but have decided this year I will trouble the waters and step in. I am no longer comfortable with being comfortable. I am now for the first time nervous when things are to comfortable when I have spent me entire life wanting to remain comfortable. I think I am making progress.

    1. Hey Rose!

      I completely agree with your thinking. I too now start to feel uncomfortable when I’m feeling comfortable for too long!! I know that when I haven’t felt uncomfortable for a while that I’m not growing or challenging myself and not living up to my potential.

      Very interesting thoughts 🙂


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get your Free Change Your Life Starter Course

Get instant access to the first four modules of my Change Your Life course - packed with over 50 pages of guides, exercises, tools, and templates to help you design and start living your best life.