A couple weeks ago my family and I were visiting my Uncle’s home in Pennsylvania (you may remember me talking about him in an earlier post regarding his belief, or lack thereof, in the healing power of crystals, if you want to read that post click here.)
My uncle has a beautiful pond on his property that was completely frozen over and so my kids got to ice skate for the very first time. - Yay!
Magnus, my 8 year old, really took to the experience and was doing very well on the skates! He was building confidence on the ice and was having a blast. Several times he said to me, “Wow, I’m really good at skating!” or “I can’t believe how good I am at this!”. He was genuinely proud of himself and I was proud of him too.
Then, after I heard his boastful comments several more times I jokingly said to him, “Yes, you're great at skating Magnus, and so modest too.” I shut him down. I don’t think he really knows what being modest means, but he could sense I was over his self-praise. I immediately felt awful that I said it.
A little later I heard him continuing to make similar comments to my husband about how awesome of a skater he was. And you know what my husband did? He said that same exact thing to him, “Wow Magnus, you’re so modest.” Then I really felt bad.
I try to foster confidence in my kids. I believe myself to be a very supportive parent. I’m constantly cheering them on and encouraging them to try their best and believe they can do anything. It’s never my attempt to shut them down or “humble” them by pointing out their weaknesses.
Magnus had every right to be proud of himself! He was doing an amazing job ice skating for his first time, and he was extremely good and naturally talented at that. Why wouldn’t I want him to talk about his success and share his accomplishments with us, his family.
It got me thinking how society encourages us to be successful, but not talk too much about our success. We should want to be the best, but never say we’re the best. We should be proud of ourselves, but not tell anyone how great we think we are. We should win, but not celebrate.
This is bull shit!
There’s a difference between talking about your success to share your happiness, or to tear others down. Magnus wasn’t saying he was a great skater and his siblings sucked. He was completely owning his successful forte into skating and making it all about himself, it came from a genuine place of happiness and pride. All he was doing was sharing that happiness with us.
So I learned something.
Too many of us are told (even by well-meaning parents like me) to be modest and not to "brag".
But I’m taking a different approach. I’m experimenting with what life is like when I’m completely proud and happy about my accomplishments, the accomplishments of my clients and friends and most importantly my family. And what happens when I actually talk about those successes.
I’m not going to encourage modesty! That’s not what I’m about. I’m declaring that I will celebrate my accomplishments proudly and I’ll share them with anyone that’s interested in listening and I'll cheer on others of you who chose to do the same!
There is nothing shameful about being proud of ourselves, just like there is nothing shameful about failing at something. It’s all just experiences, some of our life experiences will be amazing successes and it’s likely that many others will not be.
So, why not talk pridefully of those things we do well, those things that we’re awesome at, those moments when we nailed it, those days when we were the best.
I’m taking a lesson from Magnus and going forward confidently and proud of what I do well - we all have unique gifts and talents and if we don’t learn to celebrate them and share them confidently with the world we are doing a disservice to ourselves and each other! Wouldn't you agree?
Thanks for reading!