Success dumping. While not an actual psychological term, it was coined by writer Amy Beecham of UK publication Stylist earlier this year.
“What is it called when a loved one refuses to acknowledge that anything ever goes wrong in their lives, and can’t stop themselves from overwhelming you with all the good?” Beecham writes. “While there’s no official diagnosis, it’s something I’ve terms ‘success dumping’ — and it’s something I guarantee we’ve all been on the receiving end of.”
We tapped psychologist Rucha Lele, at online mental health platform Lysn, to learn more about what’s behind it, why sharing successes is important and some tips and tricks for sharing your wins in a way no one would ever deem ‘success dumping’.
According to Lele, the motivation behind sharing successes varies from person to person, but is common throughout our lifespan. When we’re children, we’re excited to show our parents how we learned to write, while as adults, we may want to share about our promotion or business venture.
“People share success to celebrate their achievements, to validate their efforts or to inspire or motivate their friends, family or colleagues in the same endeavours,” she says. “However, with the rapid and influence of social media, it’s hard not to have the cohort of people that share success purely to draw attention.”
Sharing successes is important because it allows people to understand what you did well and how you did it, inspires others to perhaps follow a similar path and can help facilitate learning of healthy, productive and necessary behaviours, she says.
In saying all that, there are some things to keep in mind when sharing your wins.
Stick to the Facts
Know that it’s very easy to get carried away when sharing success stories, particularly if there is a very positive response, says Lele. To avoid this, stick to the facts, including what you did, how you did it and what the results were.
“There may be someone hoping to follow your lead,” she says. “By creating parts of the story that did not happen, it’s easy to set others up to fail. Additionally, it becomes easier to be caught out by others if there are parts of the story that didn’t happen, as our memory will struggle to remember these during the retelling of the story.”
Next is to express gratitude when sharing your wins. Doing so helps to foster appreciation and relationships, allows for reflection and can reduce negative feelings or attitudes, says Lele.
Consider Your Audience
Also, when you’re sharing your wins, think about who you’re sharing them with. If someone in a similar situation is struggling with the same task as you or a block that won’t move, or doesn’t have the resources to achieve the same success you did.
“Being considerate of your audience means being mindful of who may be listening to your story, and the impact that it may have on them,” says Lele. “While you should definitely be able to celebrate your success, others may not necessarily see it this way and therefore may interpret your success more as a brag.”
Avoid the Humble Brag
“While it can be an easy trap to fall into, try your best to avoid the humble brag because whether you realise it or not, people can see right through it and know exactly what you are doing,” says Lele.
Instead of drawing this negative attention to yourself, she suggests you share your successes in a more open and honest way. You’ll be greeted more readily than a brag designed to be self-deprecating that’s really just drawing negative attention.
Keep It Brief
Finally, to further avoid sounding like you are bragging, keep your story brief, Lele says. “It’s understandable that you may want to expand on every little detail, but rather, speak briefly but allow for others to ask questions that they may be thinking about,” she says.