The Difference Between Authenticity And Bragging – Insights from the Wilderness #185

bragDo you hold back at times because you don’t want to sound like you’re tooting your own horn? Not tooting your own horn is a powerful form of childhood conditioning.

My own confusion regarding the difference between claiming my strengths, and the fear of bragging, interfered for several years with my writing and my ability to speak clearly about my passion regarding the social impact of unconscious primitive ego thinking, childhood conditioning, and the urgent need to more aggressively support and encourage intentional growth in our global human consciousness.

As a result, I wrote intellectually and philosophically about Primitive Ego Psychology. I kept my passion and concerns out of my writing. Then one day, a writer friend who’s input I respect, commented that my writing lacked passion and conviction. She said it was too intellectual; too impersonal.

Her comment was an important moment of awakening for me.

What I had failed to fully internalize was the simple reality that we know when we are living our life purpose because we are driven by passion; we deeply believe in and care about whatever it is that defines who we are. Until we allow that passion to embrace our gifts and strengths, living out our life purpose will be all but impossible. And the opposite is also true. Until we fully embrace our life purpose; the thing we were born to do, our life will tend to lack passion.

However, to actually live out our life purpose, and do it with integrity, we must know when we are being authentic and when we are bragging. Until we sort that out, the light and passion of our life purpose will tend to remain hidden from the world—-one more dream that never sees the light of day.

When my worldview shifted as a result of this simple insight, I began to see that I wasn’t alone. As I listened to my therapy clients and my life-coaching clients, I heard the same confusion—-people discounting their strengths and gifts because they didn’t want to sound like they were bragging or coming across as too self-important!

Sorting It Out

The primitive ego of our inner-child psyche is very invested in having a strong sense of self-identity. We also know that it can be very narcissistic and self-focused. So how do we know when we are being authentic and simply owning our strengths as opposed to  those times when our primitive ego has unknowingly crossed the line and has started narcissistically bragging?

To add to the confusion, it’s also important to know when others are falsely judging us, or accusing us of bragging—–simply because they are envious of our strengths and are attempting to make themselves feel better.

Helpful Tips To Know When Our Primitive Ego Is Bragging

Here are a few tips to avoid the unconscious emotional trip wires that can easily devalue your authentic strengths and knee-jerk your primitive ego into bragging mode.

First, and most importantly, learn to awaken your consciousness and live in the present moment by intentionally paying attention to the energy you’re sending into the world. Learn to pay attention to your behaviors. Practice the skill of listening to yourself when you are talking with others. For example, if you find yourself comparing your strengths to the strengths or limitations of others; you’re bragging.  If you’re overstating or exaggerating your strengths; you’re bragging. When you become aware of these behaviors, simply back off and tone down the self-focus. Quietly shift the focus back onto the person you’re talking to.

Another good indication that your primitive ego has begun bragging is when you become aware that you have shifted the conversation back to yourself, or when you realize that your self-focused comments are no longer relevant to the subject that was being discussed. When your comments are backed up with facts that validate what you are contributing to the conversation, and your comments are relevant to the conversation taking place, you can be comfortable knowing that you are contributing to the conversation, not bragging.

On the other hand, if you become aware that you’re offering too many examples of your strengths, or if those examples have nothing to do with the context of the current conversation, simply stop talking. You’re bragging. Shift the conversation back to the other person.


The tendency to discount our strengths and strengthen our self-identity by bragging about how great we are is a common trait of our primitive ego. We all do it. When you become aware that your primitive ego has emotionally hijacked your mind, remind yourself that your inner-child is simply trying to strengthen your self-identity——and then quietly shift control back to the adult observing consciousness of your authentic self.

When we practice the art of intentionally paying attention to the energy we’re sending into the world, claiming our strengths and embracing the passion of our life purpose will reflect our true authenticity—–and our primitive ego will no longer need to brag about who we are.

We will be living who we are.

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