Probably one of the most misunderstood of all personalities in the social sphere is the braggart. He is that guy who can’t wait to tell you how he broke par on the front nine or earned the biggest bonus in the history of his company. She is the woman who reports still wearing a “size six” despite birthing three extraordinary children or has been asked to run for the school board because of her masters’ degree in education. We smile politely while the ego-driven dialogue continues. And we hope that the steam that must be pouring out of our ears isn’t noticeable.
What’s going on here? Clearly, what we are witnessing is the demonstration of high ego and elevated self-esteem. We surmise that the braggart believes that his/her audience is really fascinated by his birdie putt or her campaign strategy. Perhaps, we are even a little envious that someone can be so confident while we sometimes feel insecure or uncomfortable in social situations.
But if the braggarts’ seeming self confidence and heightened view of themselves makes you feel insecure in comparison, I have a secret for my readers:
All bragging is a manifestation of low self esteem
Interesting point, perhaps, but what is the evidence in support of the above assertion? Well, let’s think of a few examples of highly successful “non-braggers”
Do Elon Musk or Bill Gates brag about how rich they are? Did Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus trumpet their successes? Does Celine Dion remind us about her gold records collection? I don’t think so. And why? Because their achievement, either as businessmen, athletes or entertainers, is obvious to even the most casual observer.
Bragging, therefore, represents an exercise in persuasion. It is an attempt to convince our audience that we have some attribute, skill, or status that is not self- evident. In essence, braggarts reveals their insecurities with their self-aggrandizing prattle.
Homework: The next time that you encounter bragging, be it either obnoxious or harmless, ask yourself, “What am I witnessing.? What insecurity or need is the braggart attempting to salve?” Recognize the behavior for what it is. And last, allow yourself to feel good about your ability to resist the temptation to brag in response. Confidence is silent; insecurities are loud.
Watch out for people who are always telling you who they are. A lion never has to tell you it’s a lion.