How to practise pride (to feel grateful)

I really love the concept of practising gratitude: being thankful for what I have, looking at the bright side of things and focusing my energy on positive rather than negative thoughts.

Gratitude put things in perspective and can help making problems smaller, or turning them into useful learning experiences and growing opportunities.

Gratitude is not just an action or attitude (saying thank you, writing down the things you are grateful for every day), is a positive emotion and a warm feeling that fills your hearth and makes you feel lucky and loved; it makes you feel calm and positive; it helps you to connect deeper with yourself, or other people.

Even when you are not feeling OK, you can find a spark of light in appreciating the small things around you, and draw on those small things to cheer yourself up.

But gratitude is not a magic potion, and this is why we talk about “practising it”. It takes time, and patience, and ultimately the strength and willingness to be positive.

We all struggle, we all make mistakes, we all have bad days, and sometimes, being grateful for what we have, especially during hard times, can feel like a difficult task. To be completely honest, whenever I am feeling down, or sad, or upset, and I can’t focus on the positive as I would, a sense of guilt usually adds up to my frustration.

So, lately, alongside practising gratitude, I have started to practise something else: pride.

When I say pride, I am not suggesting that you should be arrogant of course (that would not be very compatible with being grateful); instead, I am inviting you to focus on the (small) things you are proud of about yourself.

I am a firm believer that in order to be happy, you have to find happiness within yourself first, and ground this happiness into something that no one and nothing else can take away from you.

When I practice pride, I acknowledge all the big and small things I have achieved so far and focus on me rather than the external world. I focus on what I am capable to do, building slowly the inner strength I need to face adversities, and ultimately, the conditions to make myself accountable for my own happiness.

When I practice pride, I look back and reflect on all the tiny moments in my life when I did overcome a challenge that initially felt difficult, or uncomfortable, or overwhelming, and I use that as a reminder that I can find within myself the power to make it through.

This process puts the ball back in my court, and channel my energy (that I would probably otherwise waste in feeling sorry for myself) into a practical positive reaction.

OK, perhaps today is one of those days I would like to simply delete from the calendar (my mum actually made me do it when I was a kid, and I can assure you there is something very powerful in it…); perhaps today is one of those days when I find it difficult to focus on the bright side of things.

But maybe, if I look inside of me and focus on my skills and strengths, if I leverage on them to build my happiness, instead of relying on the things that happen around me, I can actually create something nice, or useful, or beautiful out of it: something to be proud of, and ultimately to be grateful for.