Give Self-Deprecation A Break Today. Add Your Honest, Unvarnished Proud Moments Here.

Are you guys familiar with the art of the humble brag?

Our good friends at Urban Dictionary define it at “Subtly letting others now about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humor or “woe is me” gloss.”

If we’re friends on Twitter or Instagram I’m sorry to say you’ve probably seen me do it, oh, all the time.

Tweet:
Oh, you know. Just busy inventing knee injuries so all the cool old ladies in water aerobics class will accept me as one of their own.
What I really wanted you know:
I went to a water aerobics class! It was really fun! I’m pretty proud of myself for trying something new!

Tweet:Oh god. Listening to lite jazz and making roasted cauliflower with nutritional yeast. I’m a caricature of myself.
What I really wanted you know:
I’m healthy! Also: I’m really into nutritional yeast right now.

Instagram:

What I really wanted you know:
I’m vaguely active! I used to live in New Zealand!

Instagram:

What I really wanted you know:
I am outdoorsy! My friends are interesting and awesome!

Exhausting, right? Why do we do this? Why the never-ending battle between loving our lives and undercutting ourselves and our accomplishments? Why are we (re: I) constantly toeing the line between self-deprecation and pride?

Pride is a tricky, sticky thing. I’ve pulled out a tiny soapbox and crowed about why you should stop pretending that your perfect life came easily. I’ve posted photos of good moments in my life and staunchly refused to temper them with self-deprecating humor.

Annnnnd then I got totally annoyed when my friend called herself funny and charming.

I’m not necessarily advocating for a world or internet filled with people pounding their chests and greeting each other with recitations of their accomplishments. And it’s important to know your audience. Maybe we shouldn’t celebrate our promotion with our friend who’s been unemployed for six months and perhaps the wedding reception details don’t need to be rolled out in front of our friend who just filed for divorce.

But I think we can all acknowledge it’s a little heartbreaking to internally labor over conversations or social media updates in our heads – thinking about how we can possibly frame our good news in a way that doesn’t annoy or threaten people.

So today, dear reader, let’s give that self-deprecation a break. Let’s just go ahead and be happy and unflinchingly proud.

I know being thumbs-in-your-suspenders proud can be hard. Despite the blog post you’ve just read, you might not be ready to tell Facebook that you love your job, you know look amazing in this cardigan, and yes, you’re aware that your new curling wand is doing wonders for your mane.

So let’s make this a safe place. In the comments, I’d love it if you told us a few things your proud of, no footnotes or asterisks allowed. You can even do it anonymously if you’re more comfortable with that!

I’ll start:

I’m proud of the home that I’ve made out of my little apartment. I’ve put a pretty ridiculous amount of work into it (like, custom-made wooden blinds levels of work) and it’s finally a cozy home that reflects who I am and where I’ve been.

I’m proud of my ability to (politely, diplomatically) complain to airlines/mechanics/building managers and make myself heard.

I’m proud of my ability to juggle five on-retainer clients, two blogs, a busy social life, and one very lovely partner.

Do you struggle to be openly proud of yourself? Do you find yourself tempering your excitement or good news so you won’t run people the wrong way?

In the comments below, tell us what you’re proud of!

36 Comments

Amanda @ Gourmanda

I'll start – I'm really really proud of the fact that I've lost 23.5kgs (51 pounds) since February. I'm at a really good weight for my height and build right now, and I'm proud of my efforts. I'm usually embarrassed to talk about it though, because I DO believe in the body positive, all shapes all sizes movement and I hate the fact that I'm conforming to what society believes a woman's body should look like!

I'm proud that I've been able to pick up the pieces since my mum passed away 18 months ago. I'm supporting my father and brother emotionally from another city, and in person when I can. We're a tighter, stronger family unit now, because we know how devastating it is to lose one of our own.

I'm proud that after years of dating losers (just being honest!), I've finally found the right man for me and we're getting married in less than a month! I feel like I've really turned my dating/relationship life around for the better!

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Anonymous

What a great idea! So great it's inspired me to stop lurking and start commenting!

I'm really proud of my advancement in my (newish) chosen career. After two years of volunteering as a sexuality educator, I now have two part time jobs in the field. It's enough work that I can finally (FINALLY) quit my day job!

I'm also really proud of my romantic life. After years of internal angst about my queer identity, I'm starting to pursue relationships with women. It's scary and awkward and wonderful.

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Anonymous

I delivered a baby with no drugs! Then I felt like I couldn't talk about it because so many of my friends had unplanned c-sections. But for me, things worked like they were supposed to and I'm super proud of my body.

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Abbey

Sarah I love how you can post your humble brags and deconstruct them! That's a great kind of honesty and funny and something we all do. 🙂

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Julia Cassels

I'm proud that I finally rescued myself from my own monopoly on misery and made a radical change! In the course of two weeks I quit my job as a partner in a law firm, sold all my stuff including my house, packed up and moved to California which I had wanted to do since I was like 7, growing up in South Dakota! I'm also proud that I was really, really honest about it publicly which was really HARD. I write about it here. https://nonsensicalnonsense.squarespace.com/thedesiremap/

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EB

I'm proud because I'm a female pursuing an engineering major at a really great school. The work is so challenging and time-consuming that I have regular breakdowns about twice a month (read: whenever a major assignment is due) but I keep pushing through. This is the first year that almost all my courses are engineering courses, and I'm learning and doing things I never thought I'd be able to do.

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Anna

Let's see… I'm proud that I have traveled (parts of) the world. I'm proud that I have a job in my field that lets me continue to travel the world. I'm proud that I work hard at it and that my colleagues think I'm a good writer. And I'm proud that, bit by bit, I'm becoming a competent adult and doing things like paying rent on an apartment I love and cooking food I've grown and doing my dry-cleaning. 🙂

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RubyTuesday

1. I have a badass resume that includes college coursework and very relevant jobs in the field of psychology, without a master's degree.

2. I finally made my mental health a priority. Our world makes it sound easy but it definitely wasn't for me. I'm proud that I stepped up and made that appointment.

3. I have saved up enough money to travel and pay for graduate school (eventually).

I need to put this on my wall.

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Manisha

I completed a Ph.D. in 2007. It is just in the last year that I am open about it and proud to share that with others. Also, I've been married 20 years now and we are experiencing a sort of renaissance in our marriage. Life is sweet!

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Kristie

I just recently graduated from college with an english degree. I loved every second of it and still miss it terribly. After graduating and months of job hunting (getting a job with an English degree can be tough!) I landed a great job as a secretary for a school district in Utah. It pays well, has great benefits,and is six blocks from my house. I know many people hear secretary and think that I settled for this job because I couldn't get a better one, but you know what? I really like my job and I'm awesome at it. My boss pulled me aside the other day to tell me that he's giving me more responsibilities than the other secretaries have ever had (district budgets, payroll, bus schedules, etc.) because I'm great and I have the aptitude. My husband's family are primarily english-majors-turned-teachers and tend to think I should really be a teacher and I sometimes am made to feel shame over being a "lowly secretary". This is where it ends. I am proud to be a secretary- and a damn good one at that! It's taken a lot to get me here and I'm happy with where I've landed.

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Karissa Barber

I'm proud that I made it out of the house today with all 4 of my kids, 6 and under, in one piece. I was dressed, with lunches pre-made in to-go containers. This might seem small, but for me, this is a victory. Winning!!!

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Gigi

I'm proud that I quit my stable freelance business to start doing what I really love.

I'm proud that I self-published four books this year and they sell every single day.

I'm proud that my first magazine just put me on retainer.

I'm proud that I've created a location independent career that has allowed me to live in Switzerland and travel around the world with my dog.

I'm proud of my reliability, that I'm the person you can always count on.

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Anonymous

Great idea! I would love a world in which we all can be awesome without worrying about other people's feelings. I've been living that way for years and just hoping people can get on board, but I'm very aware that I've lost some people along the way because of it. Oh well. Let's all be awesome!

In the past year, I've turned 40, lost my dad suddenly, dealt with the farm auction of his entire life, helped my mom make a plan (which has included building a new home in town), bought their farm, sold our house, continued to help my lovely little boy be someone who constantly charms people, and, oh, you know, got knocked up with Baby 2 who comes at Christmas. And worked my full-time job and my freelancing sideline. AND MY HAIR HAS NEVER LOOKED BETTER. 🙂

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Jessica

I am proud that I have finally, almost, nearly–there , finished my 300-odd page dissertation in ancient history. It has taken me three years (partly because I also had a daughter, who is now 2 and is also pretty awesome, btw) and I don't know if I'll be able to get a job in my field, but I will have a PhD, and know that I can write something as long and complex as a book.

I did a humble-brag just last night, complaining on fb about proofreading my own work, when of course what I wanted to convey is that I am so close to done that I'm proofreading and fixing little things. I have several friends who are still slogging through the process, or have dropped out of their program, and so I'm always wary of making them feel bad. That's the trouble with social media, I guess- so much harder to know how to tailor and modulate what you say, not only for who your audience is (there's always filters, etc), but how they're feeling that day when you're not there talking in person.

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maureenmachine

I completed and published my very own online course! It's for parents who want to help their children through the complex process of learning to read. My course is full of fun tips, tricks, and activities. It's the culmination of 5 months of hard work, lots of trial and error, and dipping back into my graduate school textbooks, which have been unloved for a year.

If you want to check it out, it's here: Helping Your Child Learn To Read

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Rachel Ann Pierce

I'm proud that I'm starting to build my own credit so I can become financially independent.

I'm proud that I finished my college degree in thee and a half years, the last year of which was completed remotely from halfway across the country. I proud that I've moved to a place I never would have thought to move to and managed to find a community here.

I feel like most of the things I'm proud of are already done, and everything else in my life right now seems like a work in progress.

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Kim Irish

Great post, Sarah! Kudos to you and everyone else who has posted what they are proud of – so inspiring!

I'm proud that after many years of not being physically fit, I run regularly now and am poised to run my first half marathon on November 16. I am also proud that I make time to volunteer weekly at a homeless shelter in San Francisco, and that I regularly try new things that push me out of my comfort zone.

🙂

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Anonymous

I'm proud of how I'm finally allowing myself to listen to what I need, and learning not to overload with my schedule with everyone else's demands – I've been on the brink of serious burnout and I'm learning that sometimes it's okay to put me first 🙂

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The Rachael Way

I love this post!
I'm really proud of myself for picking up my life in America and moving to China at the ripe age of 22 to teach kids. And I love it.
I'm proud of myself for no longer letting men treat me like dirt, because I know better.

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Anonymous

I 'm proud of myself that after years and years of battling one thing right after the other and never quitting, I 've finally seemed to find a formula that works for me right now and helps me work towards the life I 've always wanted! Thank you Sarah for allowing me to think and say it, it really helps!

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Anonymous

I'm proud that I completed my college degree at a prestigious university in 2.5 years. (I'm proud that I managed to get into the university in the first place). I'm proud that I took the other 1.5 years to travel and work abroad, alone and often in a completely foreign language that I've never studied! I'm also proud of my job at a major investment bank on Wall Street. YES I said it. I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I am so tired of hearing from everybody I meet that I sold my soul or something equally horrendous. My clients are governments and without groups like me, they wouldn't have the money to build roads and power plants or maintain power lines or school buildings and I'm proud of the fact that every time I take the subway or fly to an airport or drive on a highway, I know I played a tiny part in building it.

I love this post! I think it's a shame we put ourselves down- we've all done and experienced some amazing things just by being alive and human and we should recognize that in both ourselves and everybody around us.

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Nomad Notebook

Love this post!

I'm proud that I've committed myself to moving across the world to Australia in a couple of weeks. Even though i have bad anxiety, moving abroad is something i really wanted to do and i'm doing it regardless!

Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

Reply

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