Boasting?

I hope I don't come across this way!

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!”

8 thoughts on “Boasting?

  1. I completely undertstand what you mean. When someone has had many opportunities in life, others sometime feel that it is boasting. I have had a lot of opportunities as well and have had people misunderstand the intent of my stories. I’m glad that you told this person about your independance and hard work. That probably helped him have a better understanding of the situation. On a complete side note, where did you serve your mission? I served in Taiwan and count that experience as truly life changing.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I actually think his comment was meant as a lame joke so I took it as that (goodness knows I’ve had my share of jokes fall flat!).
      I served my mission in Indiana- Indianapolis Indiana Mission from 2003 to 2005. My mission was the most intense experience of my life- the highs were high, the lows were low. Life changing is a good way to describe it. I feel like it was a crucible experience that purified, refined and left me closer to God. What mission in Taiwan were you at?

  2. I don’t think life experiences is boasting. What I have noticed though is that people who have REALLY had to struggle see some of your “blessings” as the daddys credit card. They don’t mean it to be mean or think of it as boasting but sometimes it can be taken as that.

    I think being real is important. Sometimes the filtering will come at the right time and places. Just make sure that they get to share part of their life story and blessings. They might need some boasting of their own

    1. That is a great point. It is very important to let others share their life experiences equally with me. I do tend to gab on a bit (especially when I’m nervous) so it is something I have to watch out for.

  3. I totally know where you’re coming from. It is difficult to know how others will be affected by what we say or share about ourselves, however innocently we share it. When people come from different backgrounds and have had very different life experiences especially, it is very easy for misunderstandings & misinterpretations like this to occur.

    With exercise and athletics, it is especially hard. For the person who is very diligently working and training to achieve a physical/athletic goal, it can be almost all-consuming in his/her own mind and life, so that it is all s/he wants to think/talk about. And when s/he accomplishes small or large goals s/he wants/needs/deserves to share his/her successes with others. Because the “others” who may be on the receiving end of such sharing might not be able to relate to the sheer magnitude of the time, effort and accomplishment that is attached to the success that is being shared they may grow bored of or even resent the sharing of such things, and even consider it boasting. It is important to our own well being, though, to share specific successes with others, as it motivates us to continue reaching for higher and more challenging goals.

    I know for me it helps to have at least one person who I can share my experiences and successes with without the fear of judgement, and that is my husband. Perhaps you have a special friend or sibling who you can do that with. As far as everyone else goes, I just share things as they seem to naturally follow the flow of a conversation, or with special successes I may share them on a blog or FB or with all my friends and family…and I do so knowing that there is always the potential for awkward situations to arise or for someone to be rubbed the wrong way, but in the end we can’t control how others react to what we say.

    1. Thanks for the comment. My friends have all been so amazingly supportive that I forget when around new friends that they might not want to hear about my exercising travails and goals. I think the tricky part with sharing exercising goals is people can become self conscious and aware of their lack of exercising. This can be awkward. When it does happen I try to say something encouraging and then move on as quickly as possible. Still, its a tricky situation.
      You are also right about exercising being all-consuming in my life. That is soooo true. A friend of mine just broke up with a boyfriend and one issue they had was she was spending too much time at the gym. People just have to understand that when you have a tendency towards obesity you have to spend a lot of time at the gym. That’s just the way it is. Secretly I hope I meet someone at the gym who is also trying to get in shape. That would be my dream come true because we would both understand this trying process. A girl can dream right!

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