“I’m Proud Of You”, A Phrase To Be Avoided, We Tell You Why

Last updated by Lauren Hart

For a long time, I thought it was important to tell people I loved “I’m proud of you”. It did me good to hear it from people close to me, but the more time goes by, the more I think it’s an expression that should be avoided... But why? What’s wrong with it? I know it may sound surprising, but other things can be said instead. Let me explain.

“I’m Proud Of You”, A Phrase To Be Avoided, We Tell You Why

A sentence to say to yourself and only you

On the face of it, I think everyone would agree that saying “I’m proud of you” is anything but a microaggression. For many, it’s even a great sign of affection and there’s no malicious intent behind it. Of course, except that... it’s clumsy 😅!

Let me explain. Pride is a personal satisfaction, it’s linked to our feelings and our self-esteem. We can say that we’re proud of ourselves, but when we say it about someone else, we’re saying we’re satisfied with what that person has achieved. What’s wrong with that? Well, it’s a bit egocentric, because it means we’re taking ownership of someone else’s success and achievements, a bit like we had a part to play (when we didn’t 😬). We’re happy that our projections and desires have been fulfilled by someone else.

👉 Worse still, it can put a lot of pressure on the person hearing it and accentuate the fear of being a disappointment. As if they have to achieve a certain level of excellence every time to earn our pride. By saying this, we give a condition to our love and infer that “if you succeed, I’ll love you” 😕.

💬

For a long time, I wanted my parents to tell me that they were proud of me. At the time, it clearly showed how trapped I was in my need for recognition. I ended up chatting with them, and they reminded me that I had to be proud of MYSELF. They didn’t need to validate me, but they were happy for me. That discussion opened my eyes and I told myself that they were right. Firstly because I didn’t need that validation, not even from my parents, and secondly because my happiness was more important than their feelings about my achievements.

👋 You may also be interested in this article: Do we have to love our parents?

What should you say instead of “I’m proud of you”?

Now that it’s clear that this is a phrase you should keep to yourself, in the sense that you’re the only person who can be proud of you, what do you say to others? Taking the example of my parents, the fact that they told me they were happy for me did me a world of good. I think that’s the kind of gesture we should give to the people we love, if we want to support them and recognize their achievements.

  • ❌ For example, instead of saying: “I’m proud of you for getting your degree”,
  • ✅ You could instead say, “you’ve worked so hard, we’ve seen that all year, you’ve done a great job, really, well done!”

By doing so, we show our unconditional love and support, regardless of the other person’s achievements. It’s important to separate the two, especially when it comes to children. It’s a good way of boosting self-esteem and separating their value from their achievements ❤️.

👋 You may also be interested in this article: 10 Powerful messages of encouragement

10 different ways of how to say “I’m proud of you”

I know that deconstructing yourself and adopting new habits is sometimes complex and time-consuming, and then sometimes you may simply need more inspiration. So I’ve prepared a few messages for you to send to your loved ones instead of the famous “I’m proud of you” 💌:

  • 1. “I’m always amazed by your ability to overcome obstacles. You’re an inspiration to me.”
  • 2. “The way you handle things, your life... inspires me a lot!”
  • 3. “I’m happy to see that you succeed in everything you do!”
  • 4. “You achieve so many great and beautiful things, well done for that!”
  • 5. “Be proud of yourself, whatever happens, that’s the most important thing!”
  • 6. “Congratulations on achieving something so incredible.”
  • 7. “Your dedication and perseverance are truly inspiring.”
  • 8. “You’ve done an excellent job and your commitment and creativity are truly remarkable.”
  • 9. “You’re a true inspiration to us all, and I’m honored to know you.”
  • 10. “I can see how much you’ve improved in this area. It’s a pleasure to see your development.”

Editor’s note: The power of words...

Choosing your words carefully can help boost other people’s self-esteem. If you feel pressure to gain the approval of others or if you find it difficult to express your support without saying, “I’m proud of you”, seeing a psychologist could be beneficial. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment to explore these issues and improve your mental well-being.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!

#BornToBeMe

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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist

wengood

  1. Only LoveBen Howard
    4:08
  2. Invalid date
  3. Fix YouColdplay
    4:55
  4. Beautiful DayU2
    4:08
  5. Thinking out LoudEd Sheeran
    4:41
  6. White FlagDido
    4:00
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
    4:13
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
    3:17
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
    3:35
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
    4:24
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
    3:07
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
    4:37
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
    3:46
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
    2:17
  15. With Or Without YouU2
    4:56
  16. HelloAdele
    4:55
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
    3:29
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
    3:21
  19. WingsBirdy
    4:12
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar
    3:41

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