brag about yourself

Apparently what fascinates most is my commentary on cultural differences. So here’s a quickie: do you know what us North Americans — especially women– do that puzzles the Europeans*? We self-deprecate.

North American women are experts at putting themselves down. We do it in supposed jest but it’s a form of displaying our inner complexes.

In NY where my girlfriends were a fairly balanced mix of cultures, us North American girls would actually try and out-do each other in our proclamations of self-criticism– how much we’re lacking in this, how fat we think we’re getting, how un-organized we are, how much we procrastinate, how incapable we are at X, Y and Z.

The French women would stand back and listen to us in wonder but would never contribute to the self attacks.

The closest I ever got to a Parisian girlfriend admit to a weakness was when I lamented my own inability to remain calm when my two-year old son was being a shithead. I complimented her on never seeming to get flustered when her young children ran amok.

She said, “Yes, but I take it all upon myself on the inside, Catherine. You must never assume that I’m not affected by the chaos. I am. I just don’t show it.”

We women, especially mothers, are so great at building other people up, at telling our kids, girlfriends, and sometimes even our husbands how amazing they are. We even post about it on Facebook.  We suck though when it comes to complimenting ourselves.

We even struggle with compliments from others.

Case in point: “That is a gorgeous sweater on you.”

Typical French response: “Thank you.”

Typical American response: “Thank you. I do like it but it itches. And I’m not sure the color suits me that well.”

So what is the point of this piece then? I’d like to propose a challenge to my readers. I’d like you to post a comment directly on the comments section below this piece where you openly brag about something personal– directly related to YOU.

I dare you to put in writing right here on this posting (vs. Facebook) something that has NOTHING to do with your children, or your next holiday destination or your latest purchase of whatever.

Why am I doing this? This is Thanksgiving week. We ponder how much we have to be grateful for. We look around and thank others for enriching our lives.

When was the last time though we actually acknowledged something great about ourselves and were grateful for it?

It’s not easy but I’ll start:


I am a fucking rockstar genius in the kitchen.


p.s. I wanted to add “but I can’t bake for shit” but then I deleted it. Damn. This is harder than I thought…

p.p.s. must now withdraw my “rockstar genius in the kitchen” claim. I burned tonight’s dinner. Sigh.


* The British are also masters at self-deprecation so have been excluded from my gross generalization on Europeans. They do not consider themselves European. They are British.


44 responses to “brag about yourself”

  1. I’m great in social settings – not too talkative, not too quiet, either, the perfect balance of charm, wit and good looks.

    • Tell you what- let’s throw a few Russians together, meet halfway in NYC and challenge some random night-club goers in the Meat Packing District to go up against us. The painkillers the next day to deal with the sore muscles and aching limbs are on me.

    • Ok you are a ROCKSTAR BAKER Kelly Kramer who should own her own business nationally you’re THAT good (Readers, please note this name in case KELLY KRAMER ever decides to open her own shop). I bow to your greatness. p.s. You kinda suck at complimenting yourself.

      • HAHA! Thank you, C. You are always so supportive and such a great friend. See, I am really good at complimenting OTHER people! But, you are right. I do suck at complimenting myself. 🙂

  2. I can throw a mean dinner party. Haven’t had the chance to treat you and Simon yet. And agree the Brita are not European!

  3. I overcame abuse, cancer, and raising three boys into teenagerhood & now adulthood, all while being put down by my family for everything from my healthy weight (insulted for being “too skinny” by people who were “too fat”) to “being too good for my (Gucci) britches,” and thinking I am “better than them” because I went to college and Uni. What I am proud about is instead of harbouring negative feelings over the past 43 years, I have turned EVERY poor event and word into a positive experience. I only have room for happiness in my life. And Gucci. Which is happiness, too.

  4. I am definitely NOT a rockstar genius in the kitchen. But I am very good at appreciating rockstar kitchen geniuses when they invite me for dinner. I am very good at always having a container of chopped raw fruits and vegetables on hand as snacks for my kids and any other kid in the vicinity. And I am a really great twin sister to Janet!

    • Wow Helen. You seriously suck at paying yourself a compliment! Fruit and veg for the kids?!!! Please try again. How about “I had four kids and still have the body of a centrefold” or “I am eternally zen” or simply, “I am one HAWT BABE with an stratospheric IQ!!!” Feel free to check all the boxes….:-) XO

    • Thank you Gorgeous Director General of the London Latin Mafia!! You were supposed to say something wonderful about yourself. Want me to do it for you? Okay here goes… “I am loyal. I have my girlfriends’ backs like nobody’s business. My kindness and generosity are unparalleled. Actually, no. My sense keen sense of humour is right up there too.”

  5. Catherine, love it as usual. Being fully American I seriously cannot compliment myself in print. The words are just not coming out. But we love you! XO

    • Elan, If I could log into my comments system as YOU, and post a self-compliment about YOU, I would post “I am filled with internal sunshine and I make everyone around me happy”. Just sayin’…

    • Okay this is a good start. How about I am a GREAT STUDENT who gets ALL A’s and kicks some major ass of students who are twenty years younger than me. Yes, I do believe that sounds much better…:-) Thank you so much for sharing XO

    • 46 old? no way.

      I just became a bartender and I am hands down THE BEST. I make a mean margarita – straight up with no salt!

  6. I am really good at holding my tongue and not having my head explode – usually at the same time! And I rock at quilting!

    • Quilting is such a cool cool art! So is not having your head explode when what you really want to do is stuff I probably would get more hate mail about if I wrote it out in black and white 😉 Thank you so much for posting.

  7. Why is this so hard??? Sad really, but true that it is painful to put in print something good about yourself! If I had to brag about myself, I would say that I am easily amused and pretty good at small talk… Kind of cheesy… See I couldn’t do it!

    • Mastering the art of small talk is no small feat! I just about shot off into a tirade at my inability to do this well but that would be self-depracting. Old habits really DO die hard. So I will just say, congratulations on recognising something that doesn’t come as easily to others and thank you so much for posting your comment.

  8. Holy shit Kate, this is harder than I thought! I had to ask Eric what he thinks are my positive attributes and he took no time in listing off one after the other. I of course replied to each compliment with “Do you really think so?” OR “No I’m not” ……….
    After much pondering (seriously, it took me pretty much all morning), I finally came up with:
    I am thoughtful. I am giving. I am grateful.

    Thank you for sharing yet another beautiful piece of your voice ….. You are a rock star in more ways than one!!

    love, Love, LOVE you Kate!

  9. Hmmm, where should
    I start? I’m good at swing dancing and it makes people think I’m 10 years younger when they see me dance. I’m also really good at recognising other people’s strengths and encouraging them. I’m a good cook.

    • Well done Michele! This is hard stuff. And yes, you’re amazing at encouraging others. Blows my mind really. Thanks for commenting. p.s. I love that you’re great at dancing and cooking. What a fab combo!!

  10. Let’s see….I would say I am a good cook and not afraid to try something new. I am a no-BS kind of gal. I am a loyal, trustworthy friend, lovingly referred to as ‘The Vault’! There…I did it! 🙂 That took some thinking!!!

  11. I’m extremely good at washing wine glasses. Really hot water and dry
    them with a pure cotton or linen towel, right away. I’m even better at
    finishing the wine that was in those glasses prior to washing them.
    I’m also excellent at starting up a conversation with the wine-seller
    about what’s a good wine to have with whatever, or a new wine to try. I
    have practiced a long time and developed a particularly stunning talent
    at bellying up to the bar. I’m good at flirting – fun chatter without
    leading anyone on. But I’m even better at gently, politely getting rid
    of idiots who want to chat me up when I’d much rather hunker down into a
    good conversation with my best gal pal sitting beside me.

  12. I give really good hugs!! I am a great facilitator and always see the positive in everyone. I am a good role model for my beautiful daughters. (You’re right Cath … that is really hard. And I’ve only recently been able to do that because of having to do it at work!)

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