Imagine you’re at a party, dressed to the nines. A person comes up to you and says:
Hey, you look awesome today!
What do you do? You look embarrassed, shrug your shoulders and say:
What are you saying? I’ve put on so much weight ya!
This person is persistent.
Not at all. That dress looks flattering on you!
You are persistent too.
Oh please! Have you seen these love handles?
Now it’s that person’s turn to shrug, let out a forced laugh and excuse herself from the conversation.
And you turn back to the people you were talking to, now more conscious than ever of your love handles, wondering if everyone else is noticing them too and feeling worse than you did when you entered that party.
Welcome to the world of way-too-much modesty.
Since our childhoods, we’ve been taught that it is well mannered to be humble. Hence, we learn not to shine too bright. Or brag too much about our achievements. To always counter compliments by highlighting a flaw.
Simply put, we learn to tone ourselves down so that we don’t stick out. So that other people don’t feel threatened by us. So that people can say nice things like “Oh she’s so modest & down to earth” behind our backs.
When in reality, the only thing all that ‘modesty’ is doing is making us feel more and more insecure.
You don’t realise it, but what you say to you and about you affects who you become.
When you refuse to bask in the glory of a job well done, you‘re telling yourself that your hard work can be taken for granted.
When you constantly shove compliments aside, you’re telling yourself that you don’t deserve them.
When you go around cribbing to your friends or colleagues about your flaws all the time, you’re telling yourself that you’ll never be good enough.
Your psyche takes in all these messages and starts believing them. The more you overdose on humility, the more you dim that sparkle in you. The more you try to blend in, the more invisible you become! But you do it anyway. Because you don’t want others to think that you’re a show-off.
In the process of being too humble, you make yourself seem mediocre. People don’t trust you with important stuff because you don’t seem to trust yourself either. They pass you over for the more ‘spunky’ones because they seem like the more attractive option. Your hard work goes by unnoticed. Your talents go by unnoticed. YOU go by unnoticed.
And you’d still be ‘modest’. For what joy?
Here’s my earnest request: Please STOP.
Stop thinking so much about what others think of you and start paying attention to what you think of you. Stop watering down your achievements and shying away from compliments. Stop trying extra hard to make yourself small. There are plenty others who will gladly do it for you.
Instead, be your number one fan.
Think of how you treat your biggest idol. You adore them. You think they are magnificent. You know they have their flaws but it’s their best that you focus on. You applaud extra hard at their best performances. You shrug at their failures, confident that they’ll make a great comeback.
Treat yourself exactly like that. Lift yourself up. Celebrate your spark. See yourself as someone really, really special. When you treat yourself like a star, you show others how you deserve to be treated. And they, in turn, start treating you like a star. It is up to you to set that example.
After all, if you don’t do it, who will?
However, you don’t have to be arrogant & demean others in order to cherish yourself. Just be confident enough to accept the glory/compliments/rewards when you deserve them. And be loyal enough to yourself to believe that you deserve them.
So start today. Give yourself a pat on the back. Blow a kiss at your reflection in the mirror. Say thank you when your colleague compliments you on your new shirt. Brag a little about that time you spoke in front of 100 people. Give yourself a high five when you bake that cake just right.
Go ahead and shine a bit too bright. Trust me, the world can handle it.