Being proud of yourself is also known as having strong self-esteem. People who are proud of themselves tend to have passions in life, feel content and set good examples for others. “We need to help foster the development of people who have healthy or authentic self-esteem because they trust their own being to be life affirming, constructive, responsible and trustworthy,” says Robert Reasoner, president of the International Council for Self-Esteem. Being proud of yourself requires envisioning the person you would like to become and making your best efforts to grow as an individual.
List your personal goals. These can be fairly simple, such as organizing your bedroom, or you can set bigger goals, such as going back to college to earn your degree. Also write down how you plan to achieve your goals. For example, you might jot down, “I’ll set up boxes for things I plan to donate, sell or recycle” or “I’ll contact the college for an application.”
Take care of your body and personal appearance. Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and exercise regularly. People who take care of themselves physically tend to have higher self-esteem than those who neglect their physical well-being. Wear clothes that fit and make you feel proud of your body. Each morning, spend time making yourself attractive and presentable.
Educate yourself. Read books and news articles, keep abreast of current affairs and discuss issues with your friends and family. Enroll in a class or write short stories or in a journal. People who take care of their minds and have a thirst for knowledge often feel proud of themselves and their achievements.
Make daily affirmations. “Affirmations can be a helpful tool in helping you manifest your wants and needs in life,” explains Dr. Deepak Chopra, best-selling author and authority in the field of mind-body healing. Each day, give yourself compliments and words of support. You might feel uncomfortable doing so at first, but over time it can become second nature if you take the practice seriously. Tell yourself you are worthy, intelligent, caring and compassionate or use other adjectives that make you feel good about yourself.
Eliminate negative thinking. When you catch yourself self-criticizing, immediately stop your train of thought and silently say “Next,” suggests Chopra. You can also replace your negative thought with a positive self-comment, or nip destructive thinking in the bud by meditating, exercising, reading or writing.
Steer clear of negative people. “Negative people deplete your energy. Surround yourself with love and nourishment and do not allow the creation of negativity in your environment,” writes Chopra in "Creating Affluence: The A-to-Z Steps to a Richer Life." If certain people in your life criticize or belittle you, spend as little time as possible with them. Negative and overly critical people can poison your thinking and make you doubt yourself and your abilities. Find friends who are supportive and caring and want you to succeed.
Reward yourself for your accomplishments—big and small. Take yourself out to dinner or buy yourself a new outfit if you’ve reached a goal or even attempted to reach a goal. Rewarding yourself also can be as simple as telling yourself you’ve done a good job and setting new goals to achieve.
Angela Brown has been a book editor since 1997. She has written for various websites, as well as National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio and more than 20 fiction anthologies. Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in theater and English from the University of Wisconsin.