I’m thrilled to announce my honorable awesome.
I’m humbled to be nominated as the greatest.
I did it first, best and before all you bitches.
Bragging has become a regular part of our everyday. Your promotion to VP of everything, your landmark book (which Joan Didion praises as her favorite), your incredible baby who has her own YouTube channel. Mazel.
If you don’t brag about it, did it happen? Every day we publish the newspaper of me; social sites curated with the very best of our brand. We subconsciously rank each other’s accomplishments — your selfie at Sundance beats my selfie with sunchokes.
Studies have shown that we’re living in an increasingly narcissistic society. We’re even considering electing a Braggart in Chief. Make America great again; we’ll be UUUUUUGE.
I’m on a few different listservs where it’s a regular practice to draft a “click to tweet” so others can easily share your self-promotion. Not only are we bragging, but we’re asking others to brag our brag! (That being said, click to tweet!)
Yes, I am right there posting with the rest — but it still feels unseemly. Before I post or tweet anything, I always do a gut check and more often than not, I’m queasy. “Don’t do it — you’ll sound like a complete asshole!” yells the angel on my shoulder. And usually, I ignore said winged advisor, hold my nose and post.
For me, it’s one of the biggest differences between how we were taught to comport ourselves and how modern life has evolved. Maybe even a difference between Gen-X and Y. I was told to be proud of my actions — confident but also humble. There was nothing cool or appropriate about bragging. Don’t be a show-off. My Protestant parents still default to under-sharing and, frankly, could be bragging the hell out of their decades of living, traveling and Harvard educations (see what I did there?). But they don’t. It’s just not done.
Of course, there are arguments to be made for the other side. Studies have shown that listing and chronicling our happy wins is a time-honored strategy to promote well being. And where we used to pick up the phone and share our job promotion or new baby to Gramps and Gran, we now simply have a much more accessible and far-reaching medium to spread the news.
As women, a well-placed bit of self-promotion is an important tool. In fact, studies show we don’t brag enough when it truly matters. Men don’t think twice about self-promotion to get that new title or raise. But data reveals that we’re reluctant or embarrassed to self promote — and it’s not doing us any good.
I believe there’s a nuance between Lean-In confidence and shameless over-promotion and it’s this: having the goods to back up your boast.
As Mindy Kaling suggests in her excellent essay, “Guide to Killer Confidence” (an excerpt from her book Why Not Me?) strutting your stuff is valuable, particularly when you’ve done the hard work to deserve it.
Her m.o.: “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled.”
Good words to brag by.
This week we’re breaking out the megaphone:
- Penny Wrenn tells us how to brag – without being a dick about it
- Diane Di Costanzo is not “So Proud”
- Mallory Kasdan says Kenahora dudes
- Dina Kaplan wants us to stop boasting about being busy
- And Jennifer Ha shares 10 things she’ll never post on Facebook
Your #humblebragging servant,