NORTHERN WILDFLOWER: Taking pride in who we are

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There’s a difference between bragging and pride.

Last week I had the opportunity of sitting in a sharing circle where the class had to talk about why we were in law school and what led us to our decision. We also shared what it was that we hoped to learn from law school.

When it came my turn to talk, I got really nervous and contemplated whether I should pass or if I should speak of my accomplishments as I’m not used to talking about myself in a good way.

Often times our negative voice comes through louder than our positive side and we can think of all the things we don’t like about ourselves while it’s hard to find things that we do like about ourselves. It is very easy for me to be proud and brag of my children’s accomplishments, my daughter just got an award at school for her outstanding attendance, or my son just got a job and made employee of the month, but I have a really hard time speaking highly of myself. This is something that has been ingrained in many of us since we were children.

For myself, I have a hard time speaking up for who I am and I know this is partly because for far too long Indigenous peoples have been put down, held down and made to feel ashamed of who we are. We have been talked about behind our backs by non-Indigenous peoples and our own families and friends for acting like we are too good, sometimes referred to by other Indigenous peoples as “apples”.

It’s time we put that all behind us and celebrate our accomplishments. We don’t need to turn our achievements into a competition, either. There’s no need to compete with one another to see who is better or who has more drymeat or the biggest boat. We should be lifting each other up instead of talking about each other in negative ways. We shouldn’t be allowing our egos to get into the way.

There’s no need to compete with one another to see who is better or who has more drymeat or the biggest boat. We should be lifting each other up instead of talking about each other in negative ways.
NNSL file photo

We must keep humble but at the same time carry an ambition for what we are passionate about and once we get to the top of that mountain that we are trying to climb, we must pass the ladder back down as my friend Brenda Norris would say.

I got a sad reminder today in school that there are always going to be people who want to try to put you down, judge you and make you feel uncomfortable for being yourself, but you must hold your head high and surround yourself with like-minded people who are respectful and kind, who allow you to be yourself and love you for who you are.
Pride is not about bragging. Pride is about confidence.

Taking pride in who you are regardless of what other people might think is important, but there is a delicate balance, we must ensure that our pride does not make us boastful and arrogant and that is the goal. To be humbly proud of who we are. Ambitious, taking charge of our own futures while acknowledging our successes and sharing in the knowing that if we are doing well for ourselves than so are our families and friends because we are all in this together. Hopefully, with the good intentions of making our communities and homes better places to live and work in.

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