What do you like about yourself? Ask yourself: “What is it about me that I love or admire?”
You’ve got this great nose, beautiful hair, smooth skin, expensive clothes, the latest car or gadget, or maybe famous parents.
You can’t help but boast about these things because you think you are better than other people.
Flipside. What do you NOT like about yourself? Ask yourself: “What is it about me that I am ashamed of or detest?”
Your always find yourself short of money, you’re not intelligent or you don’t have a college degree, you can’t afford good food, or your family is dysfunctional.
Because you feel you’re worse than the rest but don’t want to admit it you put up a front and lie about what you don’t have.
So whether people feel good or bad, they boast.
A male friend told me that it’s interesting how women sound the same when they get together. They share openly about themselves and others in one breath. And everyone talks.
But men don’t share. One kind GETS OTHERS to talk about themselves. The other kind TALKS ONLY about their selves.
In all three boasting situations, there is insecurity.
Because you think highly of yourself, you’re insecure that people may not notice you, so you boast. Because you think worse of yourself, you’re insecure that no one will like you, so you boast. And because you want to be liked by all people, you boast about everything you may or may not have.
People boast because they simply have the “me” complex: “I’m great.” “Poor me!” “I’m someone you know.” I am. Me.
Would you boast about beating your child at Scrabble or brag about tricking him to eat something he didn’t want to eat? You feel you won but remember the more you feel you’re “winning”, your child is losing. Is boasting worth that much?
Would you boast about being better or knowing more than your spouse? Remember that the more you jump every time your spouse does something differently than what you expect, you’re acting more like a parent, not a wife or husband. You are equals.
My late husband was an engineer who worked his way slowly to become a supervisor. I am a communications graduate who worked my way up to an executive position faster than him. But I knew better that praise and admiration are actually in every man’s top five needs in marriage.
So at home, he was the boss, not me. My rank stayed in the office and my love and respect for him abounded at home.
When he had to make reports in his office, he would shove a book at me, I would read it for him and compose his report. When I needed to make cost estimates for repairs or purchases at home or to compute statistics in the office, I ran to him and he would do the math.
I was the expressive and outgoing type. He was laid back and contented with family and friends around. But we still laughed at the same crazy jokes (even at my corny spiels) and agreed to disagree amicably on where to spend weekends with the children.
Why should spouses boast that one is better than the other? Why do some people think the world revolves only around them? Sadly, they boast to get the world to notice them. And they never escape the orbit of self-absorption and self-promotion.
God, through the prophet Jeremiah, tells us that “Wise people should not boast that they are wise. Powerful people should not boast that they are powerful. Rich people should not boast that they are rich.”
If we have to boast about anything, God says“… they should boast that they understand and know me…that I, the LORD, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things.”
Reality check again.
We can’t escape braggarts. They are around us and it can be difficult to get away from them. We may want little to do with them because their “me” complex is overflowing. On the other hand, we may feel sorry for them, knowing that they probably have a low sense of self esteem and that boasting is an attempt to cover this up.
So what do we do?
If the bragging happens occasionally, try to simply smile and accept that you are important enough to this person that he has a need to impress you. Take it as a compliment—and then change the subject to something that does not involve whatever your friend is bragging about.
If the bragging is more frequent or if you feel like you’re going to explode the next time your friend brags, then confront him. Your goal is to alert the other person that he is bragging so that he realizes that he is doing it and to let him know that it annoys you and (possibly) makes you feel bad about yourself.
No one likes a braggart. As the old Native American lore states, “A man who walks with his head high cannot see what lies in his path and is sure to stumble. Those who walk with eyes cast downward in humility will not stray from the path.”
Now make sure you don’t stumble and stray from reality.
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