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Self-praise is for losers! – Or is it?

Blog |   20. Apr 2020

Anja Navadvorskaya

I bet you have tried being told that you have great skills within a subject or that you did great in a particular exercise by your classmates or colleagues.

Your answer was probably something similar to “Oh, I just got lucky with the questions” or “Not as good as you” because somehow that was all you could get yourself to answer.

I believe we should dare to voice our strengths and accomplishments some more and not neglect the fact that we are quite good at something.

Self-praise does not have to be sickening and I am sure one can succeed in verbalizing self-praise without sounding like Regina George.

This semester, I truly realized that I have some issues when it comes to oral exams. I get so extremely nervous. Not like the normal butterflies in your stomach feeling with a slight sprinkle of vomit. Nope. It’s straight-up sobbing and a slight sprinkle doesn’t even begin to describe it.

It would be more or less understandable if I didn’t know anything about the subject I was going to be examined in, but that is not the case. I read my stuff and even though I might not obsess about reading every single article during the semester, I prepare myself thoroughly for the exams.

Somehow the more I know, the more anxious I get, because I try to remember only… EVERYTHING. That is, of course, completely unmanageable, and I know that, but still, I find it difficult to be confident about the exam if I don’t know most of the curriculum.

My friends and family are the best encouragers and always tell me that I get nervous for no reason. Somehow, them telling me just doesn’t always help… it’s like I don’t hear them at all, which has made me realize that I need to hear more encouragement from myself.

There is a saying that “Self-praise is no recommendation”, and I’m not quite sure that I agree. Why is it that self-praise is seen as something losers do because they can’t get acknowledgment from anyone else?

Do you dare to leave the kingdom of crap and insecurity?

And before we get any further, I want to state that I don’t mean self-praise in the sense of being delusional and saying that you are the prettiest and most precious little sparkly angel in the whole wide world okay?

 I’m talking about self-praise in the context of great accomplishments and hard work. Things that truly deserve appreciation. People can praise you for your achievements all the time, but if you don’t believe it yourself, it can be very hard to embrace. Of course, one’s confidence can get boosted by the praise of others, but I believe that true and fundamental confidence comes from within.

No doubt it can be repulsive when people overly praise themselves to others. In Denmark, we don’t do that. We feel (myself included) very uncomfortable about talking highly of ourselves.

No wonder when The Law of Jante is in the Danish DNA… “Janteloven” disdains a focus on individual achievements and stresses the well-being of the group. That is the nice way to put it. Others would basically explain it as ten commandments on how to forever stay an average, basic … who never dares to leave the kingdom of crap and insecurity.

Luckily, we don’t live in the fictional city of Jante… and I believe that we should challenge the unclear border between being complacent and solely having the desire to share personal accomplishments with the people close to us.

Oh well, there is a lot to consider… In the meantime, I can recommend that you listen to All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled. Somehow imagining that I’m a rich Hollywood rapper always helps.


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