On July 10th, my birthday, I got the email that confirmed what I had been diligently working towards for several years- my offer was accepted and now under contract.
Sixty days and plenty of paperwork and repairs later – I showed up to the title company’s office with my parents in tow – to settle on a house. At 28, I achieved what I set out to do years before – I became a homeowner before 30.
For the first time since probably my grad school graduation – I was bursting with pride, joy, and gratitude. My parents, who had both grown up extraordinarily poor in Jamaica, were able to be with their youngest daughter as she bought a home by herself. I’d spent months denying myself certain luxuries to get to this point and yet shortly after I made the announcement on Facebook – I deleted the post. Nearly 100 people liked it and I thought “This is too much. I don’t want to look like I’m bragging.”
I wish I could undo it.
I’m not well-versed enough in human behavior to properly dissect how and why we came to be this way – but people are conditioned to wear humility – no matter how disingenuous it is. I’ve only recently made a conscious effort to stop downplaying my accomplishments. You know how it goes:
Them: You did such an amazing job!
Me: Eh, half the work was done already.
Them: That’s such a pretty dress!
Me: Really? I got it from a thrift store.
I felt myself doing it and couldn’t stop myself as the words tumbled out of my mouth. Of course I worked hard and I was glad to be recognized for it. Of course I selected a dress that I thought was pretty and would suit my figure nicely – regardless of where it came from. In my mind, fully accepting your accomplishments, gifts, and talents meant that you were bragging. And bragging makes you obnoxious.
It wasn’t until I really thought about why I felt the way I felt that I started to shift. I was only diminishing my success to make other people feel comfortable. I didn’t want them to think I was feeling myself too much – or worse- that they were not good enough.
There’s this pervasive idea that you shouldn’t make mention of any wins, so as not to have people wish you harm. And as someone who is very spiritual, there is some merit in that – but it’s mostly bunk. There’s certainly a middle ground between keeping mum on life’s joys and snapchatting stacks of cash in your new house – with the address visible.
It should go without saying, but bragging and owning your accomplishments are not one and the same. I can own my accomplishments without letting them define me or be used as a weapon to disrespect or dismiss others.
Peace & Love,