I’ve been thinking about bragging. These days we call it promotion. Social media is thick with it. Bragging used to be frowned upon, but it doesn’t seem to be that way so much anymore. I get it. I try to promote Solace in So Many Words and my writing.
That’s professional promotion that’s seems required these days when we each have a persona we present to the world. But let’s not get into the branding of Ellen Wade Beals–ouch.
How about when it comes to personal accomplishments? Is it bragging then? And what about bragging about your good deeds? Does it take something away from the charitable nature of the good deed?
Can you do a good deed and then not tell anyone about it?
If you do so, does the secret sustain you or frustrate you?
I think I may subject myself to this experiment (but if I am successful, you’ll never know).
It’s a thought process I go through every time I contribute to something and the form asks whether I want my donation listed under my name or anonymous.
I am always intrigued at those news stories about the person who lives a simple life, kicks the bucket, and leaves millions to a charity.
Is there a legitimate reason to tell someone of your good deed? Does it increase the likelihood that the person you tell will be impressed enough to then do a good deed too? Maybe bragging about it serves a purpose. Similarly, do the strokes you receive from telling about your good deed increase your chances of wanting to do another good deed?
Does doing a good deed and keeping it secret increase your chances of doing it again? Is this a good secret?
The May issue of The Atlantic has a jam-packed little dispatch called “Brag Better — How to boast without seeming to” by Matthew Hutson. (Imagine an essay “How to be more humble.”) It cites lots of studies, one of which sort of pertains here. That is, as Matthew Hutson puts it: “Broadcasting your own generosity impresses others only if they were previously unaware of it. In one study, A Facebook update about giving money to a food bank made the poster seem more altruistic than a post about going out to eat–unless his Facebook friends already knew about the donation in which case they saw him as less altruistic after he boasted about it.”
Anyway, that’s where my mind has been–thinking about the secret giver and the boastful one.
Peace, love, and solace