Refrain from Boasting and Bragging
By Father Kenneth Wasilewski
As attested to by the number of articles written about the Eighth Commandment thus far, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has a lot to say about the importance of using the gifts of speech and communication in appropriate ways — ways that both respect the truth and honor God. 
While these teachings apply to all people at all times in history, it seems especially appropriate to take the time to examine them thoroughly now, living in the culture and the time that we do. With the advent of virtually unlimited communication ability for so many people, comes the possibility (even the temptation) for misusing or abusing those same gifts. 
It also seems appropriate to do so at this specific time in our country’s history when a lot of prominent voices can be heard saying contradictory things making discernment of truth more difficult. 
Paying attention to the catechism’s reminders about basing our own speech and communication in Gospel principles is especially important now. Even if we don’t have control over how or what other people might choose to communicate, we do have control over our own communication choices. 
That being said, the catechism mentions an offense against the Eighth Commandment that easily gets overlooked. In section 2481 it warns us against boasting or bragging. 
This might, as with some of the other offenses mentioned, seem to be of little consequence in the grand scheme of things, especially with all the other things happening around us. Nevertheless, it is something necessary to pay attention to if we want to be the best reflection of God’s truth we can be.
There are a few reasons why bragging can be considered an offense against the truth. Sometimes it can be a form of exaggeration. Hence, it can be an example of at least partially obscuring the truth about ourselves (or someone else if we’re bragging about them). But it can also be an offense even if it doesn’t involve exaggeration. 
Boasting often involves heaping praise upon ourselves. Thus it can be an example of acting pridefully — either by thinking too much of ourselves and our accomplishments or by presenting ourselves as someone deserving of greater praise and admiration. 
Of course, boasting can also be indicative of a certain self-centeredness. In some cases, it might even contribute to the belittling of someone else — even if unintentional. We can probably think of examples where we’ve witnessed this. It would be the classic case of one-upmanship. Rather than congratulate someone for one of their accomplishments, we feel it necessary to show how one of our accomplishments surpasses theirs. The first person walks away from the exchange feeling belittled, unappreciated, or even shamed. 
For some people, this seems to be a very common exchange pattern — as though there is almost an obsession with the need to demonstrate one’s own superiority. Compounding this character flaw might also be the tendency to sincerely believe that they’re justified in speaking this way — being blind to their own boasting.
With all of this being said, where does that leave us in terms of sharing our abilities and accomplishments with others? Or legitimately celebrating our successes? 
It is one thing to share one’s accomplishments with other people — doing so can absolutely be appropriate and good. In fact, it can be a very real example of sharing one’s joy with other people — and at times even bringing them joy. Likewise, never receiving praise or recognition can be psychologically and spiritually harmful.  
But it’s another thing to actively seek the praise or admiration of others by flaunting our accomplishments — sometimes practically demanding their recognition. Herein lies a helpful distinction — am I sharing an accomplishment or flaunting it? Am I seeking to share something good that I’ve experienced or am I sharing in order to seek another’s good words about me? As is so often the case, growth in true humility will help us to know (or learn) the distinction.