When you’re a child, you spend most of your time drawing attention to yourself.

From your parents, siblings, friends. I teach junior high, and the whole thing is one big competition. It’s all “look at me and what I did!”

“I got nine minutes on the mile.”

“Well, I got 8:45.”

“Oh I meant I got 8:30. So, I’m faster than you.”

“Well I’m getting an iPhone5.”

shirley mclaine quoteWe want to be noticed, be the best, we want to drown in praise from other people. We want to hear “good job” and our talents and skills acknowledged.

But at some point, it becomes unacceptable to be great. I see students of mine trying to hide a good score they got on a test, or downplaying their talents. It becomes “it’s no big deal” and we lose our ability to take a compliment. It seems like bragging to acknowledge when we do something well. We’d rather laugh it off and pretend we don’t want to be recognized for things we are good at.

im with stupidAs an adult, when someone compliments me, my immediate reaction is to reply with something they do better than me, or make a joke. In fact, I just wrote a blog about all the stuff I suck at! It’s much easier to point out my faults, or wish to trade my talents and gifts for others that might be more useful. For example, I can quote movies endlessly. I can lead a crowd, for better or for worse. I hear a song once or twice and have it mostly memorized. But I would trade those to be able to, say, play piano, write poetry, or be punctual. Those are qualities I admire in other people, and I will freely compliment them, but it is hard to “toot my own horn” about things I might be good at.

Today’s Daily Post Challenge prompt read as this: Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.

This is a good challenge for me today. I certainly don’t lack for self-confidence, but that’s a different thing than to force myself to name things I’m good at and proud of. And when my flaws get me down, I can remind myself that I is kind. I is smart. I is important.

I am going to make a list of ten of my favorite things about me, in no particular order. I encourage you to do the same, and notice that you are awesome.

  • look! I'm a seaweed monster. hahaha im funny.
    look! I’m a seaweed monster. hahaha im funny.
  • I am a good teacher.
  • I am a good volleyball coach.
  • I made great mixtapes for people as presents. It’s like a spiritual gift.
  • I am a good writer.
  • I can make people laugh.
  • I’m good at puzzles, card games, and Scrabble.
  • I am happy.
  • I’m loyal.
  • I’m adventurous.
  • I’m encouraging.

Because I feel so uncomfortable writing this and then publishing it, I feel like it was a good challenge for me to do. Out of all those things, I think my *favorite* thing about myself is that I can make people laugh. My boyfriend once said that whenever he asks me if I had a good day at work, and I say yes, it’s always because I have some story about making a kid laugh until they cry. I like making my grandmas laugh and my parents laugh. Sometimes my sisters and I start laughing and we’re not even sure why, and we have to pull the car over so we don’t pee our pants or crash because we’re crying so hard.

this is my "I'm fun" uniform. only fault - no butt flap.
this is my “I’m fun” uniform. only fault – no butt flap.

I’m really glad God made me funny and happy. Life would be much harder without those things.

Alright. I’m embarrassed. K um…bye.