So recently I had an interesting experience. In meeting a new person I began to share events from my life. These experiences came naturally in the course of conversation. For instance, he mentioned sushi so I spoke about the time I went to a sushi restaurant in Japan. He asked about my work, I told him about my grandparents and our family company.
As we had extremely pleasant back-and-forth he made a joke about how I should use “daddy’s credit card”. Suddenly I realized that my sharing had been taken as boasting which was not my intent. I told him that I have been financially independent since I was 18 and have never had access to “daddy’s credit card”.
School and my mission are really the only major expenses that I have been given help with by my family (which btw I am very grateful for and recognize was a unique blessing many don’t have). For years I have been responsible for my own rent, food, utilities, vacations etc. I actually pride myself on my independence and self-reliance, which is why the comment felt a little rude and has stuck in my mind these many weeks.
I don’t want to make this seem like a bigger deal then it was because I still had a good time and it blew over. No problem. That said- I couldn’t help but ask the question: How do you talk about your life and share what you’ve experienced without seeming cocky or conceited? I don’t like to over-monitor what I say, I want to be natural, but I also don’t want to ostracize people or give the wrong impression. Its a tricky balance?
Make no mistake- I have had many blessings in my life but I have not gotten a complete free pass- I am not a materialistic diva. Anyone who knows me knows I work very hard and have even been described as a “workaholic”. I know there are people who work harder than me with far less rewards but I do try to put out my best effort.
Doesn’t everyone have blessings in their life which if construed a certain way could seem privileged, exclusive or special? Are you just not supposed to talk about such things for fear of sounding conceited? All that would cause is a whole bunch of complaining in conversations and personally I prefer to error on the side of boasting. I mean other people gush about their husbands, kids or new homes and I’m fine with that even though I have none of those things. I see it as them sharing the most important things in their life with me not as boasting?
Especially when it comes to my fitness goals things become tricky. Exercise takes a huge amount of my energy and effort. No one can deny me that! Because it is so difficult and time consuming, I talk about it a lot and I can see how all that talk could be seen as bragging. Believe me when I say I still have a ton of work to do- about 100 lbs worth of work left to lose- but I am proud of what I have accomplished so far.
This process has been the hardest thing I have ever done, and I have relied on my friends/family/trainers/blogosphere to buoy me up. I am sure at times they grow weary of the constant lifting, but I am SO GRATEFUL for it. It also is partly because of my frequent belly aching that I am particularly effusive when sharing my successes. I see it as everyone’s success. I really do.
In the end, I can’t control the way people filter what I say; however, just know this- I am humbled and grateful for every blessing in my life. If I ever come across as conceited or boastful please forgive me. I promise it is not my intent. If I was going to boast of anything it would be my amazing family and friends who love me unconditionally- fat or skinny, employed or not, complaining or jubilant, they find a way to love me.
My “cup runneth over” with blessings.
The truth is I could do nothing, including finding happiness or achieving any goals, without my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I have the unbelievable gift of knowing who I am and how much I matter to God- this is a gift without price. Like Peter I say my trial and relationship with God is
“more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”
I feel like the Book of Mormon prophet Ammon when he said:
I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself but I will boast of my God, for in His strength I CAN DO ALL THINGS!”