Stopping to smell the roses

pride, roses
Image via Pexels

I’ve written before about pride, about creativity and achievement, and about the issues of perfectionism and imposter syndrome.  So where do roses come into it?

In my recent post Picking up paintbrushes, and other things, I discussed the thoughts and feelings that might be holding you back from expressing yourself creatively.  So… say you’ve now done your creative work.  What then?

For many of us, life is a constant movement upward – searching for the next achievement, the next promotion, the next ‘level’.  When was the last time you stopped, looking around and really enjoyed the satisfaction of your achievements?  How long was it before you were pushing yourself to the next thing?

What holds you back from taking a moment to feel good?  What stops you sharing your joy with others?  Do you worry they won’t approve, or that your achievement doesn’t match up to something they have done?  Is expressing pride “unseemly”?  Do you temper your achievements by focussing on the bits that went badly?  Are you able to take a compliment, or accept congratulations, without coming up with excuses as to why it didn’t really ‘count’?

There are all sorts of reasons why we don’t take time to pause and feel a bit of pride.  Partly this might be due to the way we were brought up, or by the way our educational and corporate systems can push this kind of thinking.  Partly it might be because being modest and self-deprecating is typically British!

I’m not saying to stop entirely and never go for the next thing, if you want.  Equally, it’s okay to find a level you are comfortable at and stay there.  It is worth reflecting on why you are making the choices you are, who you are trying to please, and whether it’s all actually making you the happiest and best ‘you’ that you can be.

At the end of it all, what will you regret more – not pushing on and on and on, or not allowing yourself to really feel the joy in achieving what you have?  Enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.  Give someone the gift of accepting a compliment without batting it away.

It might be more satisfying than you think!

What do those roses smell like?


Pride can often be seen as a bad thing – as something to be avoided, to hide, as “going before fall”.  However, like most things in life there is another side to the story.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Pride in achievements, such as a job well done or an obstacle overcome, is one of the positive emotions identified in positive psychology.  These positive emotions can be much more fleeting and subtle than negative emotions – which is why more effort is needed to notice and embrace them.

While endless self-promotion may grate on those around us, constant putting down of the self and denying achievements can damage self-esteem (and can also grate on others!).  You can build self-esteem by recognising your strength and self-worth, by accepting and taking joy in what you have done that is good.

Building self-esteem is something we can only do for ourselves – we cannot rely on other people to build it for us, nor can we build it for others (although we can support others in developing their own self-esteem).  Do you hold yourself in high esteem?  How important are meeting your own needs and those of others?  Do you put yourself down a lot?  Humility does not mean making ourselves out to be worse than those around us – it simply means that we have a realistic view that we are not better than others, and have a realistic view of who we are and what we can do.

What have you done today, this week, this month, this year, last year that you are proud of?  Think how you define things to be proud of – do you compare yourself to others?  Don’t!  All you can compare yourself to is yourself – are you better than you were yesterday, a week ago, a month ago?  There are no ‘small’ things unless you choose to define them that way.  Did you manage to finish a task?  Have you learned something new?  Did you get through the day, even when you felt you couldn’t?  Are you proud of your achievements?