We are getting caught in a sticky trap of mixed messages: we are supposed to be modest, even as we're supposed to be confident. But it shouldn't have to be immodest or arrogant just to acknowledge when we're good at something. Or when we look good. That should just be realism.
That they take from this article: Why Can't Women Think They're Pretty. The author (of the 10 reasons article then goes on to say)
For them, it wasn't that they couldn't think they were pretty. It was that they all knew, after lifetimes of being shown images of what is pretty, cute, beautiful or not in staggering detail, EXACTLY what kind of pretty they are or aren't, to what type of person they were most appealing, to what degree their prettiness abounds. Just saying they were pretty without acknowledging the exceptions seemed to be like admitting that you didn't understand how pretty works.
She then goes on to talk about how women can acknowledge that they are pretty, yet there is always a But afterwards e.g. I'm pretty BUT not as pretty as her. A lot of great stuff follows so read the article itself if you're interested.
The reason I bring this up is that I realized how guilty I am of this in my life. I cringe at the idea of listing a positive trait about myself without including a BUT afterwards. This goes way above and beyond beauty but into almost every aspect of my life. I can't imagine saying I'm smart without following up with something like "But I'm not Einstein" or saying that I've been successful at my job "But I'm not famous/rich/a leader in the field or anything". I have friends who are in higher income brackets who would do the same about their income or yet others who are truly kind/giving people who never actually admit how much they do for others.
Now, part of it I get. We have to be modest. We have to be realistic. God forbid we get big heads and start imagining that we can do anything because we'll end up being sorely disappointed. Certainly, the statistics are against us. To be the best at something you have a 1 in 7 billion chance, yikes! And that's not even counting if there's life on other planets. ;) Furthermore, if you're at all scientifically minded, you've been taught to be as honest and realistic as possible. You should state exactly in what parameters something is true or not.
So can we then be allowed to say "Of my small subset of 5 close friends I'm the most organized". Well, no, because that would be comparing yourself to others that you love and care about and that would be wrong.
Where does this leave us? Can we never acknowledge our skills, our achievements without a But trailing afterwards?
Here's my thought... it's OBVIOUS that it's statistically unlikely that we're the best at something. It's OBVIOUS that no matter what we do many of these positive traits are subjective. There's nothing wrong with discussing our faults and weakness, actually many times that can be a huge stress relief and helps us get a new perspective on life. HOWEVER, we don't need to mention them in every conversation. We don't need to always put a qualifier after our positives. Sometimes it's a good thing to just acknowledge that we excel at something without a long list of Buts afterwards.
So here goes. You've heard enough on my blog about my imperfections, I'm sure there will be more posts about some of them in the future too. But today, in this post I'm just going to say this without any Buts, without any further explanation.
I'm smart, I'm pretty, and a damn good mother.
Feel free to add your own in the comments. :)