When something wonderful happens to us it seems normal to want to shout it from the rooftops for all to hear. But, at the same time, we don’t want to be known as that person that brags about our achievements. More importantly, it seems like we do not always know how to own our successes. In turn, in 2016 with more outlets than ever to share our achievements on social media, we turn to humblebrags, informing others of the news, but also downplaying how wonderful it felt. According to the Oxford dictionary, the expression humblebrag is an “ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.”
Humblebrags make me sad for two reasons. For one, I admire confidence and I love hearing about other’s success stories. In fact, I wish people had more confidence and shared more of their successes because they inspire me to find my own to share. Sure, I am human and I do feel twinges of jealousy for those that seem to have an abundance of great news. But, I know that it is human to want to share the joys of our lives and hopefully that makes it easier to show our sadness as well. That being said, when people “downplay” their successes with self-deprecating statements to play down their excitement I feel for them. I feel for a person that has a list of Facebook friends yet doesn’t truly feel supported by their said “friends.” Furthermore, I wonder why people feel badly about being proud of crushing a workout goal, or any accomplishment that makes them feel good.
The second reason I feel sadness when I hear humblebrags is that I immediately recognize how much that person needs affirmation. Yes, we all have accomplishments we do not share on social media, and we also have ones that are probably amazing, think engagement, new baby, new job etc. The posts we read as humblebrags are some of the common moments in between these two extremes where, for whatever reason, we want others to hear it and want more affirmation than ever.
Ultimately, we disclaim our successes and we need to figure out why. I certainly don’t have the answers but I think making small steps can make a big difference in changing this trend. For instance, the next time you want to post or say a humblebrag-don’t. Instead, toss out the humble part, state your great news with pride and confidence sans apology. And when you might want to call someone out for stating a humblebrag, try affirming them instead. I bet they need it. I look forward to the bold, confident posts and conversations I will be reading or hearing soon- lets own our successes.