Modesty Is Overrated

I put up that post on Instagram on May 8 2015 and 3 ½ years later I still stand by it.

As a society we are conditioned to believe that humility is a virtue. “Sit down. Be humble,” Kendrick Lamar tells us in the Grammy winning debut single off his fourth album.

In some ways, humility is important. Having an inflated sense of self is highly unattractive. Just look at Donald Trump. He has a grandiose sense of his superiority which I imagine has only been elevated by his current office. As per Wikipedia, grandiosity refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority, a sustained view of oneself as better than others that causes the narcissist to view others with disdain or as inferior. It also refers to a sense of uniqueness, the belief that few others have anything in common with oneself and that one can only be understood by a few or very special people. So yes, in some ways humility is important. But not in all ways.

Humility is not the antithesis of grandiosity. You can be proud of your accomplishments and revel in your awesomeness without being narcissistic. I may not spend my days listing off all of my achievements since I skipped the third year of pre-primary and went straight to Standard One, but I do let my friends know when I am proud of something I do. More often than not our success is preceded by a struggle but it is more acceptable to talk about our struggles than our successes. Why is that so yet both are equally beautiful? The struggle teaches you to appreciate the success and vice versa.

Last week Snoop Dogg was given his much-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After spending almost four minutes thanking everyone who has been part of his journey Snoop went on to thank himself.

I want to thank me for believing in me. I want to thank me for doing all this hard work. I want to thank me for having no days off. I want to thank me for never quitting. I want to thank me for always being a giver and trying to give more than I receive. I want to thank me for trying to do more right than wrong. I want to thank me for just being me at all times. Snoop Dogg, you a bad motherfucker.

I just love that so much!! He has kicked major ass in the 25 years since Doggystyle came out and thanking himself is so major, justified and exemplary.

Something that irks me is when people fish for compliments. I am no expert but I think it stems from low self-esteem and/or modesty being touted as a standard we should aspire to. As a result you will find people that are unable to have a sense of worth without validation from others.

For example, you kick ass on a project at work but your boss does not tell you that you did a good job. Does that now mean that you did not do a good job? Of course not. What it means is that sometimes people do not respond as per your expectations. Your boss may not have said “good job” because it slipped his mind, or because he assumes you already know. So in all aspects of life, if you know you have done something well, give yourself a pat on the back. Do not wait for someone else. If they congratulate you, great. If they do not, that should not invalidate your belief in yourself.

Another thing that irks me is the need to downplay accomplishments in the name of humility. It is one thing if someone would rather not tout their achievements. It is another when society makes one feel like they should keep their achievements to themselves. Women especially are expected to strive for humility in a way men are not. It is okay for women to be excited and brag traditional stuff like getting married and having children. But dare you brag about your well-deserved promotion at work! When men brag about themselves, they are applauded. When women do the same, we are considered arrogant.

Shonda Rhimes, the highest paid showrunner in television, posted a short video to her Instagram last month about starting a bragging revolution. She encouraged her followers to brag about themselves in the comments. That same month she gave a rousing speech at the Elle Women In Hollywood event, urging women to sing their own praises. Below is an excerpt from her powerful speech.

I will not hide. I am going to brag. I am the highest paid showrunner in television … I tell you this for two reasons. One, I’m awesome. And I work with a ton of other equally awesome women. And women do not brag enough. The other day I came to this conclusion that men brag and women hide. Even when they don’t deserve to brag, men brag, like Trump and Kavanaugh. When men do deserve to brag they are good at it. They do it so well. Men brag about everything. Even things that aren’t things.

So borrow a leaf from Shonda and brag about it. Celebrate the fuck out of your achievements, whether privately or with loved ones. You worked hard for them. You earned them. Be proud of them without shame or apology.

One thought on “Modesty Is Overrated

  1. Val! Val! Val!
    The more you write, the more of you I get to learn and it is interesting that there are a lot of things we have in common! I too skipped the third year of pre-primary and went straight to Standard One so hypothetical fist bump on that! I joined campus at the age of 17 so yay to me! 😉

    Your feature image says it all; it is not bragging if it is true.
    Acknowledge who you are because it begins with yooouuu! The more you appreciate yourself then others will appreciate you too; it is a sign of confidence of who you are. Confidence is appealing.


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