I am all for singing one’s praises because I feel it is our right. Having worked hard and persevered to accomplish something, it is only natural that one would want to celebrate. If we do not shout it from the rooftops how is the world going to learn of our accomplishments? How is our light going to shine if it is kept hidden under a bushel (to borrow from the Bible). Most importantly, how are others going to learn from our good example? I reckon not doing that is a sin against humanity. Having said that, I also know that there can be a thin line between singing one’s praises and being downright conceited. There, I said it!

What has become apparent to me over the years is that you face a real danger of rubbing some people the wrong way when you celebrate your accomplishments. People will often accuse you of bragging. ‘She is so full of herself’, ‘she lacks humility’, they will say. And, I don’t need to remind you how the green-eyed monster operates. It will despise you for your success, and it would rather you kept your good deeds to yourself. These days we talk about ‘haters’. Some are familiar with the term naysayers. But, what it all boils down to is that when we talk about our accomplishments and for the purpose of this blog, when we brag, others will gag!

I am reminded of a symbiotic conversation I once had with a ‘friend’. We were discussing our dreams, our current pursuits when suddenly the interaction became one sided. I felt uncomfortable as the other person became more and more condescending, trying to prove they were better than me somehow. I also have to admit that this could well have been unintentional. But, the point is, it felt that way to me. So you can imagine how annoyed and unimpressed I was by that. Upon reflection, though, I realised that all my friend lacked was tact in their approach. They meant well and were simply telling me how proud of their accomplishments they were, and quite rightly so. They just had not mastered the art of bragging without ‘putting a choke on it’. So I began to ponder on the ways in which one can indeed ‘brag’ or sing one’s praises without making others gag?
As those who read this blog know, I always have a few suggestions.

a) If you’re going to brag, then do it within context. For example, if you’re addressing an audience and need to mention an achievement/accomplishment, then let it be relevant somehow. 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 elaborate; which brings me to the next point.

b) Let others brag about and for you. 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. Do not make out like you are some kind of superhuman. Painting that kind of picture will only undermine your hard work, the effort, perseverance and determination you injected towards achieving your goals. Showing others that you succeeded against all odds will encourage others and is as inspirational as one can get!

So, my dear friends, by all means, sing your own praises. Brag if you must. It is your right. You have worked hard to get to that place and you owe it to others to teach them how it is done. But for goodness sake, do not alienate those around you. I hate to say it, but humility goes a long way!
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