Why bragging makes you feel unhappy



I SENT an e-mail to an old-time classmate in college some days ago, and promptly got an auto reply: “I’m sorry I can’t immediately respond to your email because I’m on a one-month vacation in Europe. If it’s urgent, you can send me a message on Facebook where I will be regularly uploading our family photos.”

I’m confused. Why can’t he simply say: “I’m on vacation and my reply will be delayed. I will be back on… If it’s urgent, you can call me at…”

Of course, I didn’t bother suggesting that to him. I fell into a trap, checked his Facebook page, and it didn’t take long for me to be puzzled why this person who was always seated at the last row of our class, who bought his thesis from Recto Avenue, and barely passed college, can afford an affluent lifestyle. Is he now working for the government? Is he an illegal drug dealer or a cybercriminal?

Or maybe, he won bigtime in lotto, as suggested by my objective, positive side?

I’m not a great pretender. I must admit I became green with envy. But Socrates said envy is the cancer of the soul. If you wallow in bitterness and jealousy, it would adversely affect your mental and physical health sooner than you can imagine. That gets me to think to help me recover my self-respect as I began to analyze my own situation.

That’s the fact of life. When you’re on Facebook, at times, it can make you feel unhappy when you see your friends who performed poorly in school have become rich in the real world. That’s what you can get if you’ll insist on remaining on Facebook. Be ready to be depressed.

So what’s the solution? I see several options. One, cancel your Facebook account. And do it without delay. Two, if you can’t cancel it for some reasons, stop following your affluent friends. Instead, follow and commiserate with your less-privileged friends on Facebook and find out how they appear to be happy as they continue being sustained by a diet of dried fish and a mountain of rice, inside a nipa hut, seven days a week.

It’s a less expensive solution. It also gives you a better assessment of your life—it can tell, you’re in a better situation than your other classmates, even if they occupied prominence in the premier sections of your school yearbook.

Of course, that’s not the proper way to do it. You don’t have to win in life because of the weaknesses or the poor situations of other people, much more, if they’re your classmates. You’ve to win because of your strengths as a person. Therefore, the better approach is to view your situation in a different light.

Would helping others make you feel happy even if you know they cannot pay you back? Ellen Vrana, a London-based full-time writer says you must “change the fundamental things that you value about yourself. Right now you list money, travel, good memories. But what if you changed what you value? What if you put your self-worth and life-worth into things that weren’t so material or “Facebookable” to things that actually matter in the long-run?”

In doing this, Vrana who is a graduate of Harvard and Stanford lists down several questions: “How do you treat other people? Are you kind to animals? Are you intelligent and curious? Have you meant something special to another person? Have you used your talents to advance knowledge? Are you kind and compassionate?”

Given all these questions, it can become easy for you to change your perspective into something that can be worthwhile on Facebook and at the same time can give a chilling effect to your detractors. You may not have all the money in the world, but you can show everyone that you’re happy, contented, and aging gracefully.

After all, money is not everything as they say it. Then, with some doubts, you begin asking another question: Are you sure? Of course, there are many poor people out there that they only have money in their pockets, in their bank accounts, and elsewhere, except that they don’t have legitimate friends.

Next time, do your bragging in a different way. Create an email auto-reply that reads something like this: “I’m sorry I can’t give you an immediate reply right now. I’m in the Mountain Province helping the people rebuild the rice terraces.”

It can make your friends salivate with envy.

Rey Elbo is a business consultant in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to elbonomics@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for his random management thoughts.


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  1. bitsy gonner on

    Your article is so funny that it is OK to feel envy or jealousy once in a while. You are only human.

  2. Joseph Lapif on

    That wa a good. Great sense of humor with a good punch. That is facebookable. People who brag are insecure.