with (one's) head held high

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with (one's) head held high

Displaying pride and confidence, often (but not always) after something has gone wrong. Even though I knew I blew the presentation, I walked out of the conference room with my head held high… and then cried in my car. After hearing that he had been named to the all-star team, Paul walked through the halls with his head held high.
See also: head, held, high
References in classic literature ?
"But I have fought--" I started, and then I wished my tongue had been cut from my mouth; for she turned even as I caught myself and ceased, and drawing my silks from her shoulder she held them out to me, and without a word, and with head held high, she moved with the carriage of the queen she was toward the plaza and the doorway of her quarters.
With head held high the ape-man walked through the village, swung himself into the branches of the tree which overhung the palisade and disappeared from the sight of the villagers.
With head held high A champion, he Became a legend For all to see For this beautiful beast Will be missed by many As he soars the skies As he soars the skies
Scukanec admits he was "intimidated" last year at Super Bowl winners Tampa Bay but a fine NFL Europe season means he can go back with head held high. He said: "This experience is just what I needed."
Apparently, England have been assured of their absolute safety in Harare, so Caddick feels able to go there with head held high, despite copping out of a tour of India over fears of the Afghan conflict spreading to the sub-continent.