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I've been reading a discussion between two people, one a native speaker and the other was a non native speaker, the native speaker bragged about his country and the non native speaker mentioned a lot of shortcomings in the country of the native speaker's and finally said:

Be proud of what exists.

I'm not sure if the native speaker understood the intention of that guy who meant "all of these things that you're proud of, either don't exist (it's a delusion) or isn't worthy, would this sentence make any sense when a native speaker hears this? If not, what phrases or idioms can be said to have such a concept?

In general what phrases or idioms can be used to have such a concept that you're being delusional about something?

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  • No, it doesn't make sense. If he brags about his country, he is already proud of everything it has/has achieved. Feb 13, 2022 at 13:00
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    FYI, "native guy" and "non-native guy" mean people who are or are not "Native American", also referred to as "American Indigenous People" or "Native Indians". You need to say "native speaker" each time to avoid this confusion.
    – gotube
    Feb 13, 2022 at 22:38
  • @gotube right, thanks for mentioning that.
    – user141755
    Feb 14, 2022 at 6:37

2 Answers 2

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"Be proud of what exists" does not convey any sense that the non-native speaker thinks the native speaker is delusional.

An option to convey that the native speaker is taking an unrealistic or overly optimistic point of view on the situation would be:

You're seeing things through rose-colored glasses. [alternate version: rose-tinted glasses].

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There are several things going on here.

It seems like the quoted phrase is trying to say the following.

Look for things that exist or that are true, that are also worthy. And be proud of those. Don't be proud of things that don't exist or are false or are not worthy.

This point is nearly made by the phrase "be proud of what exists." You could add a little to it. "Be proud of the good things that exist." That is, add in the idea of selecting from the things that exist those that are good, and be proud of that subset.

Probably the full idea of the text I have quoted here is not going to fit into one "snappy" phrase. That's not unreasonable. It is a complicated thought, and much is going on here. As I said.

There is a saying in a culture I am becoming familiar with. It goes like so. You don't see it if your mother is ugly. The meaning is specifically about love of one's own country. You don't see the faults, nor lack of virutues, in your home country. Indeed, you tend to imagine many good things and ascribe them to your nation. Unless you are an oikophobe. Then you imagine many bad things and ascribe them to your nation.

Generally speaking, telling somebody his home country lacks virtue is pretty close to telling him his mother is ugly. It's not going to win you friends. And when you meet somebody who spends time telling you how horrible and ugly his mother is, or the same about their home country, it very likely makes you nervous and uncomfortable.

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  • Thanks, your post was being really interesting to me, as much as I read it twice, but may I ask this phrase "You don't see it if your mother is ugly" is for which culture/country or language?
    – user141755
    Feb 14, 2022 at 6:57
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    I heard it from a Chinese person in regard to mainland China.
    – Dan
    Feb 14, 2022 at 14:36

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