Sunday, October 29, 2017

Humility and Pride

I had a great conversation with a student today about balancing pride and humility. I teach art and, though not every person feels pulled to artistic expression, everyone is capable of producing something they're proud of. You have to take the time, be patient with yourself and be mindful. The finished work may not be a master work, but it can be something you step back, look, and say, "I did that!" with pride.

Getting to that point, however, takes humility. Without humility we cannot grow. Humility opens us up to learn new things. I'm not talking about modesty or self-deprecation, but the real understanding that tomorrow can be better if you let it.

I think we get socially trained to be overly modest about accomplishments as if being proud of yourself is wrong. For many people it is difficult to honestly say, "thank you" when you receive a compliment. Many will deflect anything positive with something self-deprecating. I understand that not everyone may not believe positive words about themselves, but they need to give the bestower of the compliment the benefit of the doubt that they believe it, that they are sincere. Shrugging away those kind words is not only rude to yourself, but to them.  It's taking humility too far and making it harmful.

So, from my bounty of wisdom, I'm here to say that you have to balance the humility and pride. Pride alone is unhealthy--as is humility, sin and virtue aside. It's the combination that will lead to growth and self acceptance. This will end up on an inspirational poster someday. Probably with a puppy.

Where the heck is all this coming from?
Well, I'm dealing with positive reinforcement from my publishing house and quelling the urge to point out my flaws and fighting my humility when I should have allowed myself to be proud. I'm also dealing with line edits and finding out rules about grammar/punctuation I didn't know (and I used to teach English!). With the line edits, I had to fight my stubborn pride and absolute belief I was right and learn something new.

1 comment:

Susan Kane said...

Excellent. I have spent ducking my head, saying "I shoulda...."

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