Wednesday, 29 October 2014
When it comes to bragging, there can be a thin line between singing one's praises and being downright conceited. There, I said it!
I am all for singing one's praises because I feel it is our right. Having worked hard and persevered to accomplish a goal or a dream, isn't it only natural that one would want to celebrate? After all, hiding only deprives the world of your testimony. How will we ever learn of your accomplishments and drink from your well of inspiration if you do not shout from the rooftops? How is the world ever going to see the light if it is hidden under a bushel? Most importantly, who would we admire and emulate? I reckon not blowing that trumpet would be a sin against humanity.
But here’s what has become apparent to me over the years. When one brags, they face the real danger of 'pissing' some people off and unleashing the green-eyed monster. We all know how the monster operates - it will despise you for your success, and wishes you to vanish from the face of the earth. These days the word ‘hater’ is commonly used. Some prefer to call these negative recipients of one's good news 'naysayers.' What it all boils down to is that when we brag others will gag!
One day as I was having a symbiotic conversation with a friend about our current pursuits, the conversation became one-sided as the other person became more condescending and implied they were better than me. Well, it felt that way to me. They also thought I had a superiority complex. Then we both became defensive and the conversation deteriorated, turning into a slanging match. The kerfuffle left a vile taste in my mouth. Upon reflection, I realised that had we spoken tactfully; perhaps mastered the art of bragging without putting a choke on it, the argument could well have been avoided. I felt proud of what my friend had achieved and deep down I knew they wanted to celebrate me too. So after this incident, I compiled a few suggestions on how we can indeed brag without making others gag?
a) If you’re going to blow your own trumpet, then do it within context. Know your audience and stick to the subject at hand. You’re allowed to mention some things in passing if it drives a point home, but let it be the end of it. Only dwell on it if others ask you to, which brings me to the next point.
b) Let others brag about you. And when they do point out the good that you've done, graciously acknowledge and accept their compliments by thanking them. After all, they are your accomplishments, and you deserve the recognition.
c) Strike the right balance when you brag. Usually, accomplishments come after a few failures, rejections, resistance and so on. Don’t make out like you’re superhuman. Painting a different picture will only undermine your hard work, the effort and determination you would've put into it. Showing that you've beaten the odds will encourage others too!
So, my dear friends, by all means, brag. It’s your right. You've worked hard to get to that place, and you owe it to others to teach them how it’s done. But for goodness sake, don't alienate those around you. Humility goes a long way.