I always felt the opposite. I was embarrassed to wear them. That dirty smudge always brought my piety to people's attention. It makes me uncomfortable, but I would force myself to wear them because it's the least I could do, for Jesus.
But why do we it? The ashes represent penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told
"Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return."
Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.
Well I've been getting ashes all my life and I haven't developed a spirit of humility. Wearing ashes is sacrifice, however. It's the first sacrifice I'll do for Lent.
Drinking my coffee black.
No more desserts.
Lent is only 40 days.