Are You Blog Bragging?

I have always considered this blog to be an accurate reflection of our retirement life and I don’t censor or white wash it in any way. We are who we are. Who we are is two happily married, proud of our kid parents, who happened to have retired early and are now living the life we worked and planned for. We share our joy in pictures and words and invite others to picture retirement through your own lens. We cannot control perceptions and the myriad of filters that distort the opinions of others. Presenting ourselves truthfully is the best we can do.

A fellow blogger recently shared a post about humility and it got me thinking. She was concerned that her readers saw her as boastful. That notion doesn’t come across at all when you read her blog and she seems like a very thoughtful, enlightened individual. But, I certainly understand her concern.

Writing a blog and communicating with an audience made up of people from all walks of life exposes us to criticism of all sorts, but I don’t think lack of humility or accusations of bragging should be one of them. In fact, I think it is quite the opposite. Putting our words out there reflects both courage and humility.

Let’s face it, blogs are self promotional to some degree and wanting to paint yourself in the best light is natural. I truly believe that most of us come from a good place, with the intent of helping, not hurting others. Most of us are not professionals and we don’t rely on our blogs for an income. We are simply people with something to say and we try to say it as responsibly as we can without compromising who we really are.

What is distasteful and can clearly be labeled as ‘bragging’ or possessing a lack of humility is when we talk about our accomplishments with the express intent of making others feel small or inadequate. That type of behavior is a defensive and misguided attempt to deflect pain or hide our own insecurities. We all know that person and occasionally, we may even BE that person.

Without a doubt, we could all use a good dose of humility from time to time, and being more humble is an admirable trait to aspire to. I personally believe that when we come from a place of confidence, kindness and authenticity, humility becomes less of an issue. Honestly, I worry more about being judged for my grammatical errors, misplaced commas and spelling mistakes than the appearance of bragging.

How about you? Are you concerned that people judge you through your blog as being less than humble? Is it something you have ever thought about?

About Suzanne@PictureRetirement

Writing about life as a retiree - travel, photography, health and fitness
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49 Responses to Are You Blog Bragging?

  1. I hope that people don’t judge me as being boastful but there’s really nothing I can do about what others think. I am more concerned about not coming across that I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to be in the privileged position I am in, in this stage of my life. That I have my health and that I am able to retire from working, let alone retire early at age 60. Yeah, OK – I made some wise decisions and was careful with money along the way…but I am fully aware that I have inborn privilege too…being a white westerner. So I do speak of that on my blog from time to time. I don’t ever want to take this good life of mine for granted. I’ve had some very dark periods in my life, so I truly appreciate what I have now. And if that comes across as boastful, well…nothing I can do about it.

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Deb, this is such a departure from my usual posts, but I thought it was a subject worth exploring, both internally and through the eyes of other bloggers. I have honestly never considered humility to be an issue on any of the blogs I read and appreciate the authenticity that everyone brings to the table.

      What I see here and one of the reasons I enjoy this forum is because of the abundance of gratitude and positivity that shines through. It is definitely part of what attracted me to your blog. You have a real, approachable style that is laced with humor and you don’t hold back. Blessed and fortunate are words we can all relate to. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I never thought about this before. If anything comes across as bragging it is purely by accident. Like you, I am more concerned about grammatical errors or that someone will think my photos are bad. I blog strictly for fun, and am not selling anything or pushing any ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sure hope I don’t come across that way. I share my accomplishments not to brag but to demonstrate what my retired life is like. It’s made me feel good when a reader tells me I’ve inspired them to take up a hobby they used to love but they let fall by the wayside over the years. I can say the same about all the bloggers I follow. No bragging at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda, thanks for joining the conversation. There are about 50 bloggers on my right side-bar that would not be there if I felt that any of you displayed that trait. I have only read a few of your posts, but I ‘followed’ right away because of your eclectic style. I love that you write what’s on your mind and it comes across as genuine. I feel exactly the same about sharing my life. If my words or photographs entertain or inspire just one reader, then it’s a good day for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Joanne Sisco says:

    From my perspective, you summed it up perfectly with the line “Putting our words out there reflects both courage and humility“. All of us have been there – hesitating to hit the ‘publish’ button, wondering if we really want to say what we said in the way we said it. Will others misunderstand our intent?

    On the flip side of blog bragging, there is false humility – stories wrapped in self-deprecating language intended to elicit compliments. I suspect accusations of either (overt or otherwise) generally come from people who aren’t bloggers. Within the blogging community itself, I find people are generous with their understanding of our real intentions. This is simply a creative outlet to share our stories, our photos, our artwork, whatever. When we’re lucky, this allows us to connect with others who share our interest.

    As the Widow Badass said, we can’t control what others think of us. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all-world. We can only be true to ourselves and trust that the right audience will show itself … and understand who we are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne, I had a whole paragraph about ‘humble bragging’ in the original version of this post, but I cut it for fear of misunderstandings. I am one of the lucky ones, and the connections I have formed here are important to me. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and for expanding the conversation to include false humility. Please come back to your blog soon. I miss your energy!!

      Like

  5. Ingrid says:

    Interesting subject! Even after all these years that I’ve been blogging, I still worry about grammar, punctuation, and my style of writing above all else. Sometimes my tone or subject may not resonate well with others and I’m okay with that …. but that attitude took time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ingrid, I have only been blogging for three years and until last week it never occurred to me that anyone would judge another blogger as not being humble. It has never happened to me, but something I read made me think of that possibility and I wanted to share my thoughts. Like you, I worry about tone, and style but I think content should speak for itself and readers can choose to read and return or tune out. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your interest in the topic!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Natalie says:

    Hi Suzanne – I hope my blog readers don’t judge me as being less than humble. I share what I’m experiencing and life is good at the moment. We all know too that life is fragile and things can change in an instant so if I write happy news or sad news, that’s what it is for me. When I read the blogs that I follow, I see authenticity and I love the uniqueness of our lives. If I see bragging, I have the choice not to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I also read Laurie’s post with interest. I have never had the impression that she was bragging in any of her posts. I enjoy reading about the accomplishments, the occasional disappointments, the travels, the goals, and sometimes just the day-to-day lives of others. If someone comes off as overly bragging or excessively complaining, I probably wouldn’t follow them. I think we just naturally want to put our best foot forward in our posts, just like we often do in life. The key is to also strive to remain authentic.

    Like

    • Janis, I completely agree that the blogger who prompted my quest for clarity is so NOT GUILTY of blog bragging and is indeed a very engaging individual that I happen to admire. I have never felt that any of the bloggers I follow fall into that category, and if they did, I would cease to follow. I was so intrigued by the idea that anyone would think it possible that I had to examine my own mind and motivation in light of the concept. Humility is a very personal pursuit and of course we all want to present ourselves with authenticity. Thanks for chiming in, all two cents are welcome here. Looking forward to your next adventure!

      Like

  8. Tracey says:

    I wondered if I might be judged based on whether I used one space or two following a period (haha). Seriously, this was a thought provoking post for me. I don’t worry much about what other people think, mainly because I find WordPress such a welcoming and mature method for communicating with others on similar interests. There don’t seem to be many bullies or jealous types here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tracey, you expressed my sentiments (with eloquence) and I completely agree that I have found this forum to be welcoming and encouraging, not judgmental. I definitely would not still be here if that was not the case. P.S. I have a friend who is personally offended by two spaces following a period. I can’t break the habit, learned in HS typing class in 1971!! Yikes!

      Like

      • Tracey says:

        I would never had known this spacing business was a thing had my niece not informed me. I resisted until I finally found an article that explained why the spacing was no longer needed (most of the info out there was pretty judgmental about Boomers just not getting it.) I learned it in HS too!

        Like

      • I wondered when it all changed. It was a real faux pas to leave out that extra space at the end of sentence and we even got marks off for doing it in typing class (I am seriously dating myself here). Personally, I still think a document looks better with two spaces at the end of a sentence and that’s that!!

        Like

  9. Hi, Suzanne – When I first saw the subject of this post, I must confess that my heart sunk a little. Like so many others have experienced, I’ve been struggling with the hours that blogging takes. My first thought was, “not another ball to juggle”! Then I came back to what keeps me blogging every single time — the outstanding friends that I have made here (many of these friends I now see regularly in my everyday life). I follow many blogs, and have never once thought that someone was bragging. I hope that others feel the same about my writing. At the end of the day, as so many others have commented above, if a reader chooses to read a blog post as bragging (humble or otherwise), s/he has the choice to move on. I would encourage you not to change a thing about your posts. They are heartful and sincere and I always look forward to seeing them in my inbox!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Donna, sorry I made your heart sink, definitely not my intention 🙂 Deep breath! Just keen to raise a thought that piqued my attention this week. I don’t plan to change anything, except maybe one space instead of two at the end of a sentence!! I love my readers and feel confident that they know by now that I wouldn’t even know how to fake it! XOXO

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Erica/Erika says:

    (An aside, Suzanne, I don’t think you moderate your posts. I placed a comment on your site four times early this morning, going about things from different directions. Three comments did not appear. The fourth showed up on your site and when I logged out and rechecked, the comment had disappeared. This happened to me about 4 months ago on another site. The remedy at that time was to unfollow and then refollow, which I did just now. I place my comments in a note file, for easy retrieval – copy/paste.) Hopefully this now works.)🙂

    I really enjoy your blog, Suzanne. I appreciate your candor and sharing some of your ups and downs. I also appreciate seeing life through your lens. I quickly found the blogosphere is overall a positive, supportive part of cyberspace. As some of the other comments highlight, it does take “courage and humility.” I really like your words “kindness” and “authenticity.”

    As we are all pouring our heart out here, I have received some back handed compliments, almost criticism from non writers, non bloggers. I don’t talk about blogging or bring up the subject in my personal life unless someone brings it up first to me. It happens very rarely, and I try to not let it ‘rent space in my head.’ I think I digress here from the main topic in your post. Joanne sums up this point well, “Within the blogging community itself, I find people are generous with their understanding of our real intentions.”

    It may help how many of us are mid life bloggers. We have learned tools to manage criticism and self-doubt even when self-doubt is often present.

    I have a few mantras that help me when I am debating on whether to write on a topic, or hit the publish button. ‘Speak from the heart.’ ‘What am I really trying to say.’ ‘Who’s life am I living, mine or someone elses.’ ‘If someone doesn’t like me or my story, they don’t have to read it.’ ‘Be your genuine, imperfect self.’

    Suzanne, your genuine ‘sharing and caring’ is why you have a following of loyal readers. Thank you for being you!💕

    Like

  11. Hi Erica, I think the WP Gremlins are after me. Your three comments went to SPAM for absolutely no reason. Likewise, I am not receiving email notifications from WP blogs that I have been following for some time, which totally stinks! Oh well, thank you for your persistence and glad you got through. I love your mantras and do something similar every time I have to push the ‘publish button.’I sincerely have a visceral reaction to some of the things I write and that gut check tells me to edit, edit, edit. I guess that is why I am so intrigued with this question. I assumed that bloggers in our arena do the same.Otherwise, what’s the point?

    Sorry about the backhanded compliments. Don’t know why people feel the need to do that. Insecurity or outright jealously, I suppose. Thanks for chiming in, your comments are always illuminating.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jo says:

    To an extent, maybe. More than anything I worry that people will think that my life is easy and always cheerful – not because I’m trying to make it sound so but because I truly don’t like to dwell on the negative. Thinks might not be perfect – far from it – but my aim is always to look for a silver lining and, as my mother says, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Also, I truly am not envious of the way other’s life appears so it really doesn’t occur to me.

    Like

    • Hi Jo, I want to read about what you are cooking, where you are traveling and what stage of development your next book is in. No offence, but thank you very much for keeping the rest to yourself.Shit happens in everyone’s life but how dreary it would be to read about it here. Well, unless you are Joanne and you write about loosing your camera, laptop and all your SD cards while vacationing in Portugal!!! Man, we all identified with that one and felt her pain.

      I am glad the bloggers I follow and the ones who follow me feel good in their own skin and expresses themselves freely here. It is what keeps me coming back and I think it is in keeping with the spirit of what we are all about. Thank you so much for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting post and so many thoughtful answers from many of the bloggers whose blogs I like to read. I think it helps that Ben and I edit each other as we share responsibility for the blog and that way check on grammar, weirdness, keeping things personal as possible and real. And on a few occasions we have both asked each other whether something might come across as bragging. We both are optimists ( like Jo commented) we both prefer not to dwell on the negative. And then at the end of the day, after we have out in hours and hours of writing and editing, we hit publish and like so many have said, we don’t worry too much about readers misunderstanding or misinterpreting.

    Peta

    Like

    • Peta, I have enjoyed reading the responses I am getting to this post and expected much of what is being said. I tend to run away from blogs and bloggers who are in your face pretentious and gravitate to more mature individuals. It’s great that you and Ben review posts together. Malcolm didn’t like this one and thought it might be misunderstood, but I wanted to put it out there and see if other bloggers consider it an issue. It is so nice to be surrounded by grounded, secure people (even if it is not face to face). I think age has a lot to do with it as we have all reached a phase of life where we are comfortable with being and expressing ourselves without fear of judgement. It is what it is!

      Like

  14. patwdoyle11 says:

    Interesting and I also read through many of the comments. I’ve personally felt guilty for the blessings I have in my life – the white privilege, the financial stability we have with good health care coverage, even my solid relationship with my husband. I do know I’ve made choices in life for having that now- good ones and some not so good ones like delayed gratification & a workaholic lifestyle. But I’ve never considered that my blog was bragging about my life where it is now. Nor do I read a sense of bragging in any of the folks I follow…. if I did, I’d not follow them. What I read is people sharing their thoughts to make connections (you are not alone in your feelings/challenges), to amuse folks, and to inspire others. That’s my tribe… and I’m so happy I found it. I would hope my readers feel the same,

    Like

    • You know Pat, it’s not only white privilege, it’s American privilege. I used to think that life was so good that something bad had to happen at some point and then I realized that I can’t live life feeling guilty that it’s too good.We made good choices, we caught some breaks and we are eternally grateful that this is the life we were gifted. Has it been easy, absolutely not. Will it continue, who knows? Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I always appreciate what you have to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Nancy says:

    Nope, not bragging, at least not in my head. Just putting out there what I am thinking, feeling, doing.

    Like

  16. Laurie says:

    Suzanne, I would never think of you as boastful. You and your hubby have every right to enjoy the retirement that you worked and planned for. You are doing retirement right! You are inspiring. I love to read about all of your adventures. Thanks for your thoughts on humility. As you know, I am studying that word this year. This post and the resulting comments will have me pondering for days! 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Laurie, while this post isn’t about me, I do appreciate your vote of confidence. I have enjoyed reading the reactions of other bloggers as to whether they have even considered bragging in the context of blogging to be an issue, so thank you very much for prompting me to explore the question.

      Your woty is not an easy one to examine or apply and I wish you well. Humility, like obedience and surrender are terms that make my head spin and are almost impossible to live up to (in the biblical context) as non of us are perfect. The best we can do is to be decent human beings and live honest lives, trusting that our actions reflect our beliefs.

      The thoughts you ponder and share on your blog both intrigue and challenge me and I especially loved the zinger you threw out this week. Ladies, indeed. You forgot the best one though; little lady, accompanied by a condescending pat on the head! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        Oh, yes! Little lady is just as bad as young lady. How could I forget that one? Thank you for the comment. I know I will never get there (humility), but my goal is to move in that direction.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Dr Sock says:

    Suzanne, you have raised a very interesting topic. This is something that I worry about quite a bit — not so much that I am blog bragging, but that I am presenting a somewhat one-sided view of my life. I have a natural inclination to share the joys and fun activities of my life, as well as “big ideas” about issues that concern me. And, as it happens, retirement has turned out to be a particularly happy time of life. But I rarely write about the worries and troubles that I (and I assume all of us) have. Why? I think it’s mainly because I don’t want to compromise the privacy of other close to me, as many of the worries have to do with daily ups and downs of relationships, and with life challenges of loved ones. When I do write about such topics, I tend to make the blog post generic in flavour, rather than about a specific individual. The other thing I sometimes worry about, like some of your other commenters have mentioned, is that I am so fortunate to have the wonderful life that I have and I know that some of my friends and followers are living in much more challenging circumstances. I don’t want to appear to be flaunting my good life; that is not my intention.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

    Jude

    Like

    • Jude, I think a lot of what you have said is exactly why I love being part of this community. We all respect that some things are just too private or might unintentionally ‘expose’ others. The level of genuine concern and maturity on this forum is so refreshing and I am glad that everyone feels comfortable sharing their stories while guarding what needs to be guarded. Gratitude is something we all exhibit in spades and you can find at least one post per day from someone you follow on that topic. No worries here…thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  18. Kemkem says:

    Now l would love to read the blog that inspired this post :-). I don’t read too many blogs but the ones l read, I don’t see bragging, but rather a sense of accomplishment. I for one, can only write about what l see and experience. Yeah, sometimes l brag about snagging an awesome price on a hotel room for instance, but it’s because l’m proud of being able to save money. That being said, I think there is bound to be resentment from a lot of readers because you are living a life they can only dream about for different reasons. You can’t help with how they interpret your words. Write your truth, and let others worry about theirs. Besides, I think someone who brags constantly *knows* it. Instagram is littered with it. Acknowledging it is a whole other can of worms. Taking pride in what you’ve accomplished in life should be celebrated. Who knows, it might inspire people. Ooohh… which reminds me, at our last group lunch, three couples told me they had moved to Valencia after reading the blog. One said she felt like she was meeting a celebrity.. Hahah! Another said it gave them the final push needed to leave the states after hemming and hawing forever. Am l proud? damn tooting! 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Kem, I finally tracked down your original comment – gobbled up by the WP Gremlins. That happened to another ‘legit follower’ last week. Still don’t know why. Anyhoo…love your take on this whole thing that really isn’t a thing, but still fun to talk about. I’m with you regarding ‘write your truth’ and hope that a byproduct is inspiration. P.S. you always make me want to be somewhere else, no doubt people are moving to Valencia after reading about your life in Spain.

      Like

  19. kemkem says:

    Oh man! I think my comment disappeared and l am too lazy to write another :-).

    Like

  20. Karen says:

    I too blog strictly for fun and certainly hope that people don’t think of me as being boastful but I guess you never know. I always say that I have the nicest readers and that they only have kind words to share. I hope that will always be the way it will be for other bloggers as well because if it isn’t fun, why should we continue. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  21. We just post what we experienced and offer our insight into our travels. Tips and tricks to help our followers in making their travel decisions. Our blog is a hobby and our diary for our old days when we can no longer travel. By and large, we receive very positive and encouraging comments. Travel bloggers are a unique bunch!
    Thank you for your interesting and thought-provoking blog post!
    Cheers!

    Like

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