I’m not a bragger.
I grew up being taught that humility is a virtuous quality, that pride is unbecoming and that nobody likes a bragger.
Certainly, having someone flaunt their successes in your face when you’re having a crappy day is not a good feeling. The prattling off of accomplishments and possessions can be just yucky when it is done to puff up in superiority.
On a recent post, Seth Godin offers an explanation of bragging and feeling small in relation to art:
“To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way.”
~ E. M. Forster
The small feeling produced by art comes from dancing with our muse and allowing our inspiration to take us somewhere the resistance would rather avoid. We feel small in the face of magic and connection. Feeling small gives us the guts to create something bigger—bigger than ourselves, the art of human connection and the gift of generosity.
On the other hand, the critic who seeks to beef himself up at our expense diminishes no one but himself.
But, not all sharing of good things is done to make others feel small. Sometimes, scooting modesty aside is a positive thing:
It can inspire others, letting them know what’s possible.
It can be the source of celebration-and who doesn’t like to celebrate?
It can simply be a part of the human experience to want to express joy.
Many of us, it seems, need permission to share our greatness or the great things that happen to us. That’s why Facebook has been somewhat controversial in this sense. How often do you open that page up and after seeing one incredible status after another, feel just a little bit like your life is lacking?
It’s that whole age of comparison thing where such forums lend to feeding our insecurities about ourselves.
Yet, if we step back a bit from that virtual realm, we can see that the reality of life is not all vacation trips, baby announcements and going to see the best concert ever! We know this. Life is a mixed bag. Facebook is just a place where we can pick what we want out of that bag and do an adult version of show-n-tell.
Focusing on what’s abundant and lovely and fun in our lives, can only call forth more of that.
Here, let’s practice.
At the end of this post, you are free to share what is great in your life. Be anonymous if you want—it doesn’t matter. What will happen is this: the glow of one comment will ignite that of another and another and before you know it, we’re all sharing in a gorgeous fire of goodness.
(Warning: when listing what’s not wrong in our lives, a feeling of gratitude has a tendency to ensue.)
Like I said, I am not a bragger. You can see it in my body language; I squirm when I get a compliment. I struggle to look someone in the eye when I am sharing something cool about my life. I often downplay via a slouched posture or shoulder shrugging.
This does not come naturally to me—but, to counter my propensity to compare myself to others, counting my blessings is a practice I want to make, so here goes:
People often low ball my age by at least five years. I’ve several colorfully stamped passports in my possession. I use all my senses daily; I am healthy. My parents show love for each other, even after 37 years. My high school experience was not something I want to forget—it was amazing. My life is full of options. I am supported and loved by a wonderful man. I have friendships that have seen me when I had a bowl cut and wore bolo ties (thanks, friends). I have the best.sister.ever. My future is tingling with life.
Is there anything there you resonate with? Do we connect somehow in our experiences? Does anything inspire you in any way?
Don’t be shy.
Go ahead, brag.
Christine Martin is an international educator turned interior designer, blogger and entrepreneur. She has recently moved to beautiful Luang Prabang, Laos with her husband to follow their passions and do a lot of yoga in the studio they opened together.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise