Do you want definitive proof that we keep each other playing small? Here it is: we treat the word “brag” like one of the dirty four-letter words.
We’re quick to sing the praises of someone else but when they talk about that amazing thing they did or bought or had happen to them we think it’s distasteful. That it denigrates their achievement. That they should pipe down and stay in line.
But isn’t it the most natural thing in the world when you’ve dragged your big dream down from the sky, had an amazing stroke of luck, or created something wonderful that you want to shout it from the rooftop?
We’re social creatures and sharing our experiences makes them feel more real. Talking about our happiness and accomplishments affirms them and solidifies them in reality.
So why are we so quick to dismiss ‘bragging’ as a bad thing?
Perhaps we’re not really as happy to celebrate the good fortune of others as we’d like to think. Because it brings up those nagging fears that we aren’t good enough and we start comparing ourselves to what they have and seeing only what we don’t.
So we’ve created a culture where we downplay what’s going well for us or stay silent altogether.
But this is dangerous. Because happiness is power. Because bragging shows others what is possible. Because it helps us feel good.
We need to start wielding that power.
I love that Mama Gena’s sister goddesses make a practice out of bragging. They say “I brag…” and tell each other in no uncertain terms about their incredible achievements and every fabulous thing happening in their lives. And they know that doing so doesn’t threaten the fabulosity of anyone else. It encourages them to unearth their own desires and revel in their own delicious brand of wonderful.
And you should brag about the little things, not just the milestone pay raises, new houses, or holidays. Celebrate taking the time to buy flowers for yourself or get a manicure when you’re really busy. Boast about that delicious meal you made or that new dress that looks so good on you. All of life’s little pleasures are worth bragging about.
So how can we reclaim bragging?
Make a practice out of it. Call your girlfriend every week and list your brags to each other. Get into the habit of sharing your big achievements and the simple pleasures you’ve indulged in. You’ll be cultivating gratitude and encouraging your friend to own her happiness. Win, win, win.
Stop downplaying the good stuff. When you get a compliment, accept it graciously. If someone compliments your outfit, don’t point out some perceived flaw. If you get a thumbs up for scoring great media coverage for your company, don’t pass it off as luck. Just say “Thank you” or even more goddessly, “I know.”
Encourage it. When someone brags to you, express your genuine happiness for them and tell them how happy you are that they told you their good news.
Talk about it. When something wonderful happens, don’t hide it! Wield the power of your happiness. Bringing more happiness into the world is a good thing. So don't allow fear of other people's reactions keep you playing small.
So what are your brags today?
I’ll start: I brag that I just got an awesome new haircut. That I am heading off on a whirlwind trip to Paris next week. That this week I’ve been treating my body like a temple with loads of plant-rich meals. And I have one more BIG brag to share with you soon...but for now I'm going to be a big tease, because I need to keep it under my hat for a little while longer.
Come on babes, let's get our brags on!
Photograph from Death to the Stock Photo.