I have always liked myself. I look in the mirror sometimes and say, “you cute.” During one such self-adoration session, when I was an 11-year-old, my cousin informed me that people would think I was vain after she overheard me complimenting my own face. Back then, I wondered, what would be the harm. Why should I care what someone else thought of me? Plus, I questioned why vanity was a bad thing. Both questions my cousin answered with biblical verses.
Another instance came in high school. I was excited about receiving the highest grade on a mythology project. I waved my booklet around, pumped my fist as I exclaimed that I had, in fact, crushed my report on women in antiquity. I proclaimed myself Athena of the class as my classmates jeered, cheered, and laughed. After class, my teacher asked me to stick around and admonished me for “bragging” about my accomplishment. Boasting was unbecoming; she informed me.
Fast forward to adulthood to a boyfriend asking me why I “hold court.”
“Why do you always feel the need to give your opinion to your friends,” He asked me. To which I asked him why it bothered him so much. I don’t recall his response. It didn’t matter.
But my cousin and that teacher did matter, I respect them and know they are brilliant women. Why, hold back? Back then their words annoyed and perplexed me. Years later I understood the words as caution and protective. These women viewed my actions through a lens colored by society. A society that then and now teaches that little girls should be seen and not heard.
Some women remain uncomfortable with other women claiming their worth, let alone claiming their own. Like a 10-year-old girl pretending not to get math, women continue to avoid showcasing their talents to be liked. They apologize before they voice, “this is what I have done, and this is why I am important.”
Why? Because we are taught to be demure, to speak softly, and carry humility. Because we are told by those (who learned from generations before) that the “meek shall inherit the Earth.” Because we are classically conditioned to believe that being boastful is unbecoming. Because we witness strong women being admonished every day by politicians, media, and those around us. Keeping women in line equates to control.
I am grateful I did not understand the lesson, I am glad it never registered. My youthful vanity and boisterous self-adoration laid a foundation that some would try to shake only to walk away shaken for it. I remain haughty. I sing my praises just as loudly as I compliment others. And why not? I embody my achievements, and I give voice to my virtues. It is okay if you observe them on your own, but I prefer not to leave that to chance. This week, I challenge you to do the same.
This week, celebrate yourself. Throw a virtual party celebrating you and write a toast to yourself that will inspire others to do the same. Post your favorite picture of yourself without the humblebrag. Just list everything that makes you, you. Claim your crown this week and read it every week to come. Know, own, and broadcast your worth. Let your haughty inspire others. #Mavensboast