So the one who boasts must boast in the Lord. For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends.
(2 Corinthians 10:17-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)
There is a dynamic in us that wants to find things we have in common with people we meet. It listens to their experiences and brings to mind similar experiences we have had. It wants to connect.
When this dynamic is influenced by pride or by fear of rejection, either of these powers can change it into a wrestling match instead of a connection tool. Some people call this “one-upping.”
You tell me about the time you lived through a storm, and I tell you about the bigger storm I lived through. You tell me about a trick your dog can do, and mine can do better. No matter how impressive your shared experience it, my response is “That’s nothing! I…”
Some problems with this bad habit are: People want to connect, not wrestle. When everything you did is declared to be better than what I did, I begin to suspect you of being a boaster, which is unpleasant, and eventually untrusted. If it is fear of rejection that is the secret motivation to boast, your actions fulfill your fears.
When your God commends you, or when someone else who loves you commends you, it is much more valuable than having to commend yourself.