We are in a group - actually in a church, engaging in something. A 5 year old little one - that I like, full of energy - as you would expect, comes almost tumbling to knock things off. I'm looking at him holding my breath but thankfully everything is in place when he finally settles. Before I could take my eyes off him, he looks at me, raises his wrist towards up to me, flashing his bright lime-green watch, like to say, 'hey, notice my new watch?'. Well, for starters, it never bothers him that his energy was about to disrupt everything the adults were doing. Not one bit. Part of me is itching to say, 'is it possible that you can try and stay put, buddy? Or keep off this area?'. Needless to say that would be futile. So I have to look at the watch with surprise. I have to ‘recognize', just as he wants me to.
He has a nice watch, and he wants to show it off. Because that's what 5 year olds do. However, it would be a bit strange if a full grown man does something similar - though I think some come close. We don't go showing off new watches, shoes, phones to anyone who cares to notice. Or do we? The question is, do we brag? So, truth be told, from time to time we feel the urge to; to put our progress out there for someone to notice. So to a varying degree, we do brag, though not as confidently as my 5 year old friend.
But the fact also is, bragging is a very easy way of putting people off. In our interactions with others, whether we're trying to take a spotlight with a nice story - I find myself doing it; or trying to build rapport, it's a good idea not to be showy, because when you do, you push people away, rather than connect with them.
There are different ways people brag; some of them creative. For instance, placing your coolest phone on the market on the table while having a conversation makes a statement; walking around with car keys in display says, ‘hey, I got myself an automobile' - is it just me or owning a car is so overrated! I did see one that got my attention; I saw someone biting car keys. I'm not exaggerating. I mean, how would you explain you lost your tooth? I don't think car key handle is that clean either - but I thought that was taking it to a whole new level.
Now that social media is part of our life - it's amazing how life has tremendously changed in a span of just a few years - this is where most of us are guilty. Most of the photos shared are intended to give an ‘effect'. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with showing you new shoes nice fit - I mean ladies. Go ahead and share photos of you having a good time somewhere on a beach. Taking photos of your new car from all angles - including the interiors - and it's not for a car listing website, seems slightly over the top. Or in a phone conversation that is actually not meant for the person on the other end of the line, but those around you, ever encountered that?
However, no one can dictate to you, what showing off is, and what is not. It's the attitude, the motive and that's what matters most. But always be quick to be aware of it, because you might putting people off without realizing it.
This is usually my check. You might find it helpful. If I find the need to show something off, I know there is a problem. I become conscious of it, abandon it and take pride in knowing that what defines me, is not something that people can see by just looking at me. It's what's on the inside, and it's not in a good phone, watch, a car or anything material. My value system is what defines me. That's where our attention should be.
Read part II here: http://www.samuelwaithaka.com/2017/10/why-do-we-brag-part-ii.html