Is there anyway that saying ‘I’m proud of you’ isn’t even little bit selfish?
If someone says ‘I’m proud of you’, what may be being expressed is that they are, even a tiny bit, responsible for your achievement or success. So it may, subconsciously, be not only making someone feel good that you think they did a good job, but the person who says may also be giving herself a pat on her own back.
For isn’t pride, just the expression of the satisfaction of my contribution, helping, raising of a person, contributing, in the event of someone’s success?
‘I’m proud of you’ may mean ‘I’m connected to you, so by association, your success reflects positively on me.’
‘I’m proud of you’ = ‘I’m happy you succeeded because as I helped you, that means I’m doing a good job in something.’
So being proud of someone might just be a combination of your joy for their accomplishment and your self-satisfaction of your own connection to them/contribution to the particular accomplishment
Can you only be proud of someone you know, and more specifically someone who in some way, you’ve contributed to their life?
Say Justin Bieber nails another hit single with his next one… Can I be proud of him (even though I contributed nothing to the nailing of the hit single?
Yes (in a very watered down, weak way). Because as a human I am still connected to him.
Can you be proud of a tree for outgrowing the others in a canopy and maximising its chance of survival?
Also yes, as you are biologically connected to it. And through your biological association, success of other biological life enhances the chances of biological life (which is the team you’re part of) against its enemies (disease, other members of its own species, parasites etc.)
So technically a bear in Alaska can be proud of Justin Bieber after his next single is absolute fire. And you can be proud of a squirrel. And your pet cat could (should) be proud of the bear in Alaska.
So there you go. Pride. You’re welcome. Proud of me?