The presence of self-promotion

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

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7 Responses to “The presence of self-promotion”

  1. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Barbara – I love this BRILLIANT observation:

    “I had to promote myself to myself. It was a hard sell.”

    And since this post is focused on self-promotion, I shall blatantly use this wonderful forum to place a link to the trailer for my up-and-coming book: http://youtu.be/EdZBGGjBzd4

  2. jeffstroud Says:

    Barbara,

    Yes there is a trick to being humble, early on it feels forced, yet I believe once we awaken consciously we begin to know humility for what it really is. It certainly is not allowing myself to be used as a doormat or ignored when my voice needs or wants to be heard.

    Learning to ask for what I want and or need has been a difficult adventure but one that has provided the most lessons.

    As an artist/photographer I had to self promote, as a blogger I have to self promote, etc, yet not in an egoic way, when ego is in the way, self promotion is assertive, aggressive and down right rude. LOL!

    Good for you! for now you have promoted yourself, so now we can promote you too!

    Love, Jeff

    PS: don’t let the Laurie person get away with sharing her trailer on your blog, this is about you! LOL!! (Just kidding Laurie)

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      I know . . . that Laurie person . . . sheesh! She seems to know a lot about promotion. I think that her book will be a good place for me to learn a lot more about my own self-promotion.

      I am still working on the non-egoic humility. Everytime I feel humble, I pat myself on the back (sigh).

  3. sandiwhite Says:

    I think it’s a grand thing that you can list your accomplishments (and I know you didn’t have the space to do it all here), in a matter of fact way and show some pride in having cleared those fences. False humility is not only odious to listen to, it causes one to wonder what else might someone be deceiving us about. I enjoy a good, loud, “Look what I did!” from a friend and then we can both celebrate and enjoy the achievement in full honesty. No ego-stroking, no disclaimers, just jumping up and down with fist bumps. How do I find “Making Meaning”? Hooray for you!

  4. Barbara Kass Says:

    Hi, Sandi — here is the URL to Meaning Making: http://blog.loyola.edu/pastoralcounseling/2012/07/26/when-feeling-bad-is-good/. There are a couple of others that I have written at http://blog.loyola.edu/pastoralcounseling/2012/06/27/shamanic-revelations/ and http://blog.loyola.edu/pastoralcouns.eling/2012/05/15/%e2%80%9cdo-we-hafta-pray-finding-the-divine-spark/. I am trying to get Loyola to allow subscriptions and notifications. My biggest challenge is getting the writers to reply to comments!

  5. ntexas99 Says:

    barbara … I recently set my blog to PRIVATE … if you have not already received an invitation to view my blog, please send an email to ntexas99 at yahoo dot com, so that I can forward an invitation…thx

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