On Praising Your Self

I got disturbed not too long ago. It wasn’t from something I did in a counseling session … but from someone I met outside. This individual was a highly-educated, well-traveled, much experienced celebrity in his field of profession. For so many years, he held respected, prestigious positions in various organizations.

He emailed me his “credentials,” emphasizing that I have lots of great things I don’t know about him. I got the feeling that it’s extremely important for him that everyone knows who he is, where he has been, how he has done, and what he thinks. I did meet him a couple of times in a coffee shop, and some of my disturbing impressions were verified.

Of course, I had no intention to diminish the significance of his impressive credentials or record of achievements. But here was my point – he knew better than anybody else. When the two of us were together – short though it may be – it was hard to miss the distinct impression that the VIP or more important one was not you. He chose to be, quite frankly, a pompous man. The attitude of self-praise during our conversations was conspicuous.

Indeed, there is no greater deception than self-deception. It’s a tragic psychological trap. As Arnold Bennet says, “Falsehood often lurks upon the tongue of him, who, by self-praise, seeks to enhance his value in the eyes of others.”

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