Blog: Who says?

Blog: Who says?

“I shouldn’t brag, but . . .” Fill in the blank:  “I just paid off my car/student loan/house.” Or maybe “My child made it into the gifted program/the select soccer team/Harvard.” Hardly a day goes by without this example of how women are conditioned to minimize their successes, to hide their skills, to quash their good news. This is so deeply ingrained in us. Who says? Why shouldn’t we take pride in our accomplishments?

Examination of this question is personal of late, as I think about the need to announce blog launched, books published, radio show to debut—at least if I want followers. Humility was drummed into me at an early age, growing up as a preacher’s kid. Even as I sit in solid mid-life (if you’re counting years, nearly two thirds into my life, statistically) it is hard for me, as for the women I listen to throughout my life, to even announce my achievements, let alone with pride. Women I know have written admirable books, started social movements,  reigned as national experts in their fields,  earned “Teacher of the Year,” created art that inspires, raised remarkable young adults. And the norm is to hem and haw and softly mutter about what we’ve done, lacing the speech with apologies and detractions. The equivalent of “oh, this old thing?” when someone compliments your brand-new dress. Those admonishments in our heads to be nice and not brag never seem to quiet entirely.

And why is this? We want to be nice girls. Nice girls don’t brag. Good girls don’t toot their own horns. This modesty is not for modesty’s sake, however. Nice girls are programmed to be cautious and concerned  about the feelings of others. Isn’t that what it’s about? We don’t brag (or even proclaim deserved pride) in our accomplishments because we don’t want others to feel badly. We don’t want others to feel that they come up short.  So we downplay our triumphs and miss an opportunity to boost ourselves up.

I’m not saying we should model ourselves after those who constantly broadcast their own victories, however shallow or magnificent, and are seemingly incapable of any topic beyond their own gold stars. As I often remind clients when talking about this life-changing switch to self-affirmation, I’m not that powerful a therapist that I can turn a self-effacing person into a narcissist. Nor is that the goal. Just calling for a little balance, swing the pendulum ever so slightly towards positive feelings about self and away from minimization of life’s prizes. Good friends and loving families want to celebrate with us. They realize that we’re not proclaiming ourselves “better than.” We’re trying on some well-earned self-praise and want to share the joy, not shouting nyah, nyah.

Let’s trust that others will share our pride. Let’s affirm that we deserve to feel good about our hard work. Let’s remember that there’s plenty of happiness to go around and our wins don’t jinx our sister’s chances. Let’s inspire with our strengths, moving other women toward their own dreams, rather than viewing life as a competition. Let’s embrace each other’s bragging, rejoicing not just in the lauded event but in the boost to esteem that healthy bragging brings.

Oh, and by the way, please spread the word about my blog. If you like my message, pass it on to your friends. And look forward with me to the launch of my radio show, “The Sanity Hour,” beginning February 22 at 7 p.m. CT on HerInsight radio network. I’ll need guests, if you want to share my fifteen minutes of fame. Link coming soon!

“Need” is not a four letter word

Posted by on Mar 16, 2013 in Expectations, Relationships, Self esteem, Self-compassion, Self-talk, Straight thinking, Stress management, Who Says?!, Women's issues | 0 comments

“Need” is not a four letter word

Ever since the Declaration of Independence 237 years ago, the concept of self-reliance has been instilled deeply into our consciousness. As a nation, the fledgling United States was not going to have to answer to some mother/’nother nation. Fast forward a few years to frontier days, and the concept of the lone cowboy or sole homesteader reinforced that independent ideal.  Perhaps the Women’s Movement piled a few more bricks onto this wall of expectation, with quotes (widely attributed to Gloria Steinem) such as “a woman...

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Let’s go surfin now

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Expectations, Health, Life Balance, Mind-Body, Stress management, Who Says?! | 0 comments

Let’s go surfin now

Let’s go surfin now Everybody’s learning how Come on and safari with me (come on and safari with…) Those are the lyrics to “Surfin’ Safari” by Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Mike Love, which are my latest earworm. Maybe they can bring a little feeling of summer to this crazy-temperatured winter, swinging here in Dallas from 32 degress this morning to 76 degrees earlier in the week. Thinking about actual surfing is not my intent, however, or the impetus that embedded that song on repeat in my head. The concept...

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Mind wars against the flu

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in Announcements, Health, Mind-Body, Stress management, Who Says?! | 0 comments

Mind wars against the flu

News about flu season is always a little scary, bombarding us with the latest figures on how bad the flu is,  shortages of vaccine, endless “woe is me” commentary.  I don’t like to read these scary headlines, but the reality is that this time of year we are bombarded with tips about how to stay healthy. Wash your hands, take your vitamins, eat chicken soup, get your flu shot, see your doctor within the first 48 hours of symptoms to try and rein in the toll. One of the most fascinating–and accessible–answers this...

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Holding up half the holiday sky?

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in Expectations, Life Balance, Self-compassion, Self-talk, Stress management, Who Says?!, Women's issues | 0 comments

Holding up half the holiday sky?

Grumble, gripe, and moan seems to be the less than merry refrain from nearly every woman I’ve encountered in the past week, as the break-neck pace of parties, school events, shopping, decorating, planning and scheming, card-addressing, and baking hurtles us toward Christmas. Women as a whole make Christmas happen, seemingly holding up way more than half the proverbial holiday sky. It’s a time of year that challenges the ever-teetering balance that we’ve carefully wreaked out for our lives. Yoga class, a daily run, healthy meals, time to...

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An antidote to Thanksgiving

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Just Like Us!, Life Balance, Stress management, Who Says?! | 0 comments

An antidote to Thanksgiving

Excess food, excess drink, excess shopping seem to have come to mean Thanksgiving.  I’ve always (at least for the last 24 years) watched the Black Friday madness from afar, secluded in a rural cabin (which was actually sometimes a luxurious lake house.) This year, the shopping tradition became even more antithetical to the true purpose of the holiday, with retailers throwing open their doors as early as 4 pm on Thursday. I still steered clear, but being in the city, it was hard to avoid traffic. Exhausting, counter-intuitive to the...

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To me, at twenty, with love

Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 in Blog Hop, Expectations, Just Like Us!, Relationships, Self-compassion, Straight thinking, Stress management, Who Says?!, Women's issues | 21 comments

To me, at twenty, with love

Such energy, such determination, such inspiring plans! For a scant two decades of life, you sure are cocky.  You know you’re book-smart. You’ve known that since you won that homonyms contest in fourth grade. You are beginning to believe that you are beautiful. This, thanks to a campus full of testosterone-driven boys, boys who didn’t know your gawky, clumsy, yet brainy seventh grade self, towering intimidatingly above their skinny, pre-hormonal selves. You have a dad who has preached, from his perpetual preacher’s...

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Fifty Shades of Grey You DO Need

Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 in Expectations, Life Balance, Self-compassion, Self-talk, Straight thinking, Stress management, Who Says?!, Women's issues | 10 comments

Fifty Shades of Grey You DO Need

Fifty Shades of Grey, the first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy by author E.L. James, has been on the New York Times bestseller list (along with the other two books in the trilogy) for thirty-three weeks, and counting. There is buzz about the film.  Even bigger buzz is about why the book has been such a hit, and inspiring either “love it or hate it” reactions. I confess, I haven’t read anymore than the first sample chapters that I could get for free on my iPad–and that didn’t drive me to instantly download the...

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Won’t she just grow up?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2012 in Expectations, Parenting, Relationships, Self esteem, Self-talk, Straight thinking, Stress management, Who Says?!, Women's issues | 2 comments

Won’t she just grow up?

Hardly a girl escaped exposure to middle school terrorism: biting criticism about clothing, mean notes circulating, gym class taunting, teasing about lunchbox contents, cliques loudly discussing parties from which some were excluded. Even if you weren’t a target, bullying was surely on your social radar. You may have cringed as you witnessed it, rigorously monitoring your own behavior to avoid attracting the same fate. Perhaps you eventually breathed a sigh of relief, finding your high school or college niche, feeling strong in your...

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Face Your Fears Day

Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 in Health, Life Balance, Mind-Body, Self-compassion, Stress management, Who Says?! | 1 comment

Face Your Fears Day

Fears. We all have ‘em. Fear of public speaking is the most common. Fear of missing out is the newest I’ve heard, with a handy acronym: FOMO. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of spiders. Fear of being alone. Fear of flying. Fear of messing up as a mother. You name it. Facing our fears is the basic human condition, as pointed out in one of my favorite films, Defending Your Life. When the clock radio turned on this morning, the DJ announced that now, to address this most basic human state of anxiety, we have a day dedicated to...

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Not your mama’s bucket list

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Expectations, Life Balance, Straight thinking, Stress management, Who Says?!, Women's issues | 3 comments

Not your mama’s bucket list

  Bucket lists inspire us to live life fully, drawing us into imagining all the high points we hope to experience in this lifetime.  Ideally, we seize the day, jumping into life to accomplish that bucket list well before any immediate threat of kicking the proverbial bucket that lends its name to the list. Bucket lists propel us forward. Ever one to prefer shaking up tradition by flipping ideas around, I’m inspired this week by the opposite process. Look back, versus looking forward. Memoirs and end of life reviews offer...

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