Archive for August, 2012

The presence of self-promotion

August 1, 2012

I am at it again. I am blatantly using my own space to promote the Making Meaning blog at Loyola University where I am obtaining my Master of Science in pastoral counseling. My most recent post is on feeling bad.

Self-promotion is a tough phenomenon for me. I grew up with the meaning of “humble” to read “kick me.” Being humble meant never sticking up for myself. Being humble meant taking the least favored soda, popsicle, and seat. Being humble meant never bringing attention to myself EXCEPT when it was in the service of others.

As I grew up, I noticed that being humble did not feel very good. In fact, it felt pretty crappy. Plus, it seemed that I was the only one expected to be humble. One of my siblings or parent was getting the good soda, the favorite flavor of popsicle, and the best seat. I thought “Why don’t THEY have to be humble, too?” I was in my teenage years when (fortunately) those disagreeable hormones kicked in and humble was suddenly not my preferred way of being in the world.

Growing out of humble and into self-promotion was not easy. We are instinctively programmed to move away from pain and suffering, but there are times when a little pain and suffering is good for us. Struggle makes us stronger. I have struggled with the marriage of suffering to my desire for happiness. If I were to totally avoid struggling and suffering, I never would have had a child, quit smoking, gone back to college, and moved to Maryland. All of these sound like wonderful adventures, but let me tell you: there is nothing — ABSOLUTELY NOTHING — that feels good about quitting smoking in the first six months. Intellectually, there is the reward of saving money, getting that monkey off my back, breathing easier, blah blah blah. But the withdrawal is fearsome. The good news is that I was willing to suffer through those months so I could be successful. Yes, success is associated with self-promotion. I had to promote myself to myself. It was a hard sell.

Self-promotion was a part of successfully negotiating Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health degrees. I had to get grants and scholarships to afford my passage. Self-promotion was a huge part of selling myself to my employer here in Maryland. Self-promotion is my prime method of sharing my words that can connect me to you.

I am still humble, though. I know I am not alone in my success. Many people and that ultimate spiritual being helped a lot. They promoted me when I wasn’t looking and I turn around in my life right now to find I am exactly where I need to be.

©2012 by Barbara L. Kass