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Proud to Be Proudblinkingstar

How do you describe the feeling you get when you score the winning goal? When you score an 'A' on the hardest test in math? When you give your friend a compliment that makes her whole day better? That wonderful feeling you get is pride. Pride is what you feel when you know that you have done something great. There are several kinds of pride, but they are all based on something good. You can feel pride for something that you did, pride for something someone else did, or pride for doing something for someone else.

You practice in the driveway for weeks, running laps after school, drinking water until you bladder almost explodes--all for this moment. It is the final six seconds of your basketball tryouts, and you are up for a free throw. This shot determines whether you make Varsity or J.V. Your palms sweat in anticipation and nervousness as you step to the line and prepare to shoot. The ball leaves your hands with such control, such grace, you know it's going to go in before it even reaches the net. Swish! You did it! What an amazing feeling! You made the shot in spite of all the pressure, all the expectations. But it's not excitement that overcomes you. You should be thrilled, right? What is that strange feeling you have that seems to be flooding from your heart all the way out to the tip of your toes? That's pride, my friend. That is what it feels like to be genuinely proud of something that you have done. Amazing, isn't it? As Fredrick Douglas put it, "The soul that is within me no man can degrade." That is how you feel when you have done something so great that no one in the world can make you feel bad. That is what will inspire you to press on and try harder. Whether it's at school, at work, in sports, or anything else, as long as you work hard and don't give up, that feeling will creep up on you and you will never forget it.

Not all pride is all about you, though. For example, let's say your two best friends don't really get along. You are constantly trying to schedule yourself so that you can have time with both of them without the other feeling left out. One day, you walk into third period English class and there they are, deep in conversation. Shocked, you walk over and try to casually ask how they are. They tell you that they have worked out their differences and they are going to try to get along. There it is again! It starts with just a smile, but before you know it, you are glowing with pride thinking about what great friends you have. It's not a selfish reason that you are proud. You know that they will be great friends, and you are proud that they have agreed to overlook their differences for their own good as well as yours. Your heart swells, and you can't seem to wipe that goofy grin off your face. It's amazing that self-esteem can make you so happy, isn't it?

There is one type of pride left, and it's the most important. It is the kind that makes you want to laugh, cry, and hug everyone you see all at the same time. You get it when you do something great for someone else just to help that person. For instance, your best friend is having the worst week of her life. She failed the test that she thought she did well on. Her parents are furious about her schoolwork. Her boss almost fired her for accidentally breaking the milkshake machine. Then today, she went into first period completely worn out because she stayed up all night studying only to realize that the test isn't until next week. You feel horrible for her and want to try to make her week a little better. After school you skip basketball practice and stop by her house to surprise her. You take her to the mall just to hang out and relax a little, and then you treat her to a night of fun at a local pizza place where she can unwind and remember what it was like to be a kid. Throughout the entire evening you have so much fun that you forget why you are even out. When you drop her off at her house she thanks you and praises you for making her week a hundred times better. As you drive home, you realize exactly what you did. Meanwhile, that fabulous feeling starts to warm your heart. You realize that while you were having all that fun, you were also making someone else happy. You truly helped your friend without even considering what it would do for you! By now, pride has enveloped you. It is a feeling that overcomes everything you think and feel. You constantly find it amazing that you could ever have such a large effect on one person, but you did. You have managed to make someone truly happy. Until you have felt this type of pride, you will not be complete.

Pride is an all-consuming, all-empowering, unbelievable gift that has to be earned. Someone once said, "Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times"; this philosophy also applies to pride. In order to feel such an amazing feeling, you must do something that is special or unique. Work as hard as you can to feel this way, because when you do, it will be something that you will want to hold onto forever.

AUTHOR BIO: A sophomore in high school, sixteen year old Melissa Benscoter enjoys playing soccer and being with friends. While school prompted Melissa's interest in writing, she soon learned it was something she truly enjoys. Melissa Benscoter has initiated a future in writing with her first publication in the literary magazine Split Shot.


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