Musing: Why Self-Promotion Is An Act Of Self-Love (Part I)

Let’s be real: when you hear self-promotion, you probably cringe, thinking about filtered duck-face selfies or your braggy co-worker. However, there’s another kind of self-promotion, a kind that gets overshadowed by this cringe-inducing kind.

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When we talk about self-promotion on BYOM, we’re not talking about that kind. When we use the term, we mean being able to confidently express yourself, your interests, and your goals. We mean being comfortable enough with who you are and what you care about to be proud of your accomplishments. We mean sharing these passions with generosity and humility, and without feeling self-conscious or shy or insecure.
We mean embracing what you love in a vocal way, and consequently, embracing and loving yourself.

We confess that the first time we questioned our understanding of self-promotion came with our experience with Be Your Own Muse. We’re new here! We’re less than seven months old! But we have big dreams.

From the get-go, we were determined to grow organically, through friends and friends of friends. We wanted to ensure that the community stayed connected, empowered and healthy. That meant that when it came to growing our audience, we had to confront our notions of self-promotion. We had to question whether and how to promote our fledgeling movement through personal channels. Then came a harder question: how much can we share our site without being annoying or self-absorbed?

We haven’t quite got the answer yet. Given the fact that we’re the founders and editors, everything we share feels special to us in one way or another, so naturally we are inclined to share it. But we wonder, do the people in our lives (or more accurately, our social networks) actually care enough about our interests and passions, our inspirations and role models, our ideas and concerns, to make sharing them worthwhile? Who knows, but we’re growing and meeting amazing people that make us glad to be doing this work.

We are not unique in this concern. Even our Muses, who deserve all the kudos we can give them and then some, are sometimes hesitant to share their interviews with friends and family, worrying they’ll seem self-absorbed or like they’re tooting their own horns. About half of the time, the Muses choose not to share their own interviews on social networks.

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We can’t say for sure why so many choose not to share their incredible work, but we have a few guesses, which we will explore in upcoming essays:

  • Women in particular seem hesitant to publicly express self-confidence and self-love. It seems to go against so many of the lessons we’re taught – to be perfect, to be quiet, to be placating, to be small, to be accommodating, to be unselfish – even when we should or need to be confident. See: this NY Mag article discussing women and self-promotion and this interview with career coach and author, Tara Mohr on the subject.
  • There is a negative stigma around self-promotion, in all its forms. Maybe this is because more often than not, it gets associated with its boorish cousin, selfishness, rather than its better half, confidence.
  • We don’t feel worth it, or good enough, or powerful enough, or loved enough to actually earn and then share the commendation. That is, we’re more than too hard on ourselves – we’re hiding our light.
  • There seems to be a belief that when you choose to share something on social media, you are inviting commentary and/or feedback. Given that most of our social networks include acquaintances and coworkers, rather than just our close friends and family, we seem hesitant to expose ourselves to this type of vulnerability. 

Check out the vivacious Santigold’s new single, which pretty much sums up this ethos perfectly. She always seems to know what’s up…

+ Stay Tuned for Parts II and III of this Series in the Upcoming Weeks! Do You Feel Inhibited by the Stigma Surrounding Self-Promotion? Tell Us About it in the Comments!

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