Guilt of Bragging

Bragging... is it really? Or is it excitedly telling others about your amazing accomplishments?

I come from a generation where my parents told me if I talked about the things I did or accomplished, I was bragging. I was told that I would get a swollen head, or I would become too big for my britches. I was also told that I talk too much. I believe they were trying to tell me I would become conceited, arrogant or vain.

The question I have is; did I? Am I arrogant? What exactly is bragging?



Excessively proud and boastful talk about one's achievements or possessions.

- Oxford English Dictionary

On the day I received the YWCA of Lethbridge and District: Women of Distinction award, a local lawyer, came up to me and said; “Congratulations! This is an amazing accomplishment and honour.” Due to the words (triggers) I heard as a child and young adult, I was unable to accept her compliment. By truly embracing this spectacular award and accepting her complement, I believed it would cause me to act or become better than. Another word I heard from my mom. Better than what? Would I be better than I was already or others? What does that actually mean?



More excellently or effectively.

- Oxford English Dictionary

The dictionary certainly doesn’t mention anything to do with bragging. Ah, the power of words!

Still, It’s hard to totally embrace these fantastic accomplishments in my life. I just asked a friend, “Is it ok to talk about my accomplishments and be excited about them?” She said, “Yes, of course.” I had been told I was pompous. She also told me that I am the opposite of pompous. So I looked up the word and found the opposite meaning; modest, humble, self-effacing.



Not claiming attention for oneself; retiring and modest.

- Oxford English Dictionary

Now that makes sense. I didn’t want to bring attention to myself. I want people to recognize my wisdom and didn’t feel bragging about an award or accepting the beautiful words would create that. At the time, in my mind, the award was just fluff.

However, isn’t that what I wanted, for people to recognize what I had done and the wisdom it took to get there?

The award is the cherry on the cake. I had created the path towards this award and felt undeserving of it. It seems I can’t have one without the other.

I had another friend who told everyone that I was a Women of Distinction. That made me feel uncomfortable. My approach is different. My intention is to get to know people and allow them to know me outside of my awards or accomplishments. I feel it creates a balanced relationship. We get to see the person, not the paper they have.

What I could do is tell people about my accomplishments without feeling guilty or believing I am bragging. So, how do I do that?

Let me give this a try:

I am honoured to be a Woman of Distinction.

I am proud to be the pioneer and founder of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders.

I am elated to be following my dream of Life Coach and Teacher.

I love sharing my knowledge with others.

Now that wasn’t so hard. Ok, what are the feelings when I say those words?

  • Excitement

  • Validating

  • Freeing

  • Inspired

I create affirmations every day. So do they work? I have unknowingly done this in the past. When I thought about creating the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders and then spoke about it, it became a reality. So yes, it does work! What I realize is that it took weeks to create the momentum and years to develop a national voice.

Affirmations are like planting seeds in the ground.

First, they germinate, then they sprout roots, and then they poke their first little shoots up through the ground. It takes time from the first declaration to the final demonstration.
— Louise Hay

I believe we must have strong roots. So planting the seed and creating a solid base is vital to support future growth. I would always say, “I need to get my ducks in a row.” With each success, a friend bought me a duck. I have several ducks. These ducks are a visual form of validation for my accomplishments.

So now I am accepting my success! I am comfortable speaking about my success and recognize my success for what it is. My success helped thousands of people, and that was always my desire. It is incredible, beautiful and gratifying. My success creates a place for people to come and receive healing, to learn a new way of thinking, speaking and living. My success creates success in others.

This is not bragging... it giving service to others.

Connect to the emotions that cause dis-ease and to your personal truth. Maureen Gaetz-Faubert is a Heal Your Life Coach and Teacher based in Southern Alberta. You can purchase tickets for her upcoming workshop here.

Trina WallaceComment