Growing up I heard stories of my Great Grandmother Rosa who had a comically humble way of presenting her dishes. She’d set down a meal on the table and say with a sigh, “I hope it’s fit to eat.” My parents sometimes jokingly copy-catted the phrase at the beginning of our meals, and we’d get a little kick out of it. Ironically, I think some of Grandma Rosa’s attitude rubbed off on us.
Before we could take a bite of her cooking, my mom would highlight ingredients forgotten or parts of the meal that were a bit too blackened. My dad always confessed when the pancakes were too fluffy (we liked ours thin) or the peanut brittle was too hard (we prefered ours gooey). My sister told us about how her hair wasn’t quite right in certain areas when we complimented her new haircut, and just a couple of days ago I told all my guests about how I’d misjudged time and had thrown together snacks last-minute from the 99 cent store. I suppose we’ve never been a family for hiding our flaws. Our women wear pretty light make up and our hair is all our own. I still don’t wear a padded bra because it feels in a sense like I’m lying about my biology.
However, living in LA, where outlooks on self-promotion are just the opposite, I’m beginning to believe that highlighting my flaws isn’t quite the way to go. Every good salesperson knows that the attitude and perception behind a product is just as important as the quality of the product itself. Advertising the same product I could say “low carb whole wheat bread fortified with iron” or “still some carbs non-white bread with a little less flavor for added nutrients.'” Obviously the first marketing pitch is stronger, and I’d feel much more confident buying it. Turns out that a rose by any other name may not smell as sweet.
So, to get by selling ourselves short, we must look for the best parts of us. From now on we will think about the good things we’ve done or that we are doing, and be proud of them. Let’s switch outlooks like “I only did this…” to ones like “I did this with only…” When we see ourselves in a positive light, we let others see the same. Also, we will look for those around us who are maybe humble to a fault because recognizing others’ strength is another way to find our own. We may not all be diamonds, but if we are, what a shame it would be to stay in the rough.