I spent a while learning about the definition of Modesty and the subtle differences between it and humility. The clearest difference I found was modesty focuses more on protecting others’ egos and is intentional and external while humility is about subduing one’s own ego and is effortless and internal (Source). I believe the ideal I want to embody contains elements of both modesty and humility and will explore this more when I develop my personal definition. I hope you enjoy the rest of the post!
the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities.
1530s, “freedom from exaggeration, self-control,” from French modestie or directly from Latin modestia “moderation, sense of honor, correctness of conduct,” from modestus “moderate, keeping due measure, sober, gentle, temperate,” from modus “measure, manner” (from PIE root *med- “take appropriate measures”). Meaning “quality of having a moderate opinion of oneself, retiring demeanor, disinclination to presumption, unobtrusiveness” is from 1550s; that of “womanly propriety, purity or delicacy of thought or manner” is from 1560s.
I plan to explore the definition of modesty and combine certain elements of humility to complete my personal definition for this ideal. Modesty is often associated with being shy or reserved but for my definition and embodiment of it, I view it more as a means of self-realization. Being modest involves having an honest relationship with one’s own abilities and therefore gives one the means to grow in a more optimal way. I also believe there is an element of focusing attention inward on this relationship and development instead of vocalizing one’s achievements and abilities.
Modesty: Focusing one’s attention inward to cultivate a more honest relationship with oneself and abilities.
“He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.”-Confucius
“Endless effort, endless humility, endless modesty.”-Rain
I chose to represent Modesty as a closed eye with a bridge on top of it. The bridge on the top represents the necessity to bridge the relationship between one’s abilities. The closed eye represents the inward nature of the journey and the direction attention should be focused.
Of those who boast,
I am the most.
My attention is out,
My talents, I spout.
Energy is spent,
Day, came and went.
I have not grown,
Atop my throne, I am alone.
Gears turn, outlooks shift,
In my mind, I am adrift.
An honest look within,
Allows me to begin.
I journey into humility,
Soon a state of tranquility,
Fills me, and heals me,
This is who I am meant to be.
It took me a little while to lock down a painting idea for Modesty but ended up with what you see above. In the center of the painting is a human with his brain and heart connected. This connection represents the relationship between themselves and their abilities. The human is surrounded by eyes that have beams pointing inward toward the relationship and signify the process of directing one’s attention inward rather than outward. If you have seen my last paintings, this one looks like a combination of Moderation and Integrity which is very appropriate because I think both those ideals are intertwined in Modesty.
Questions and Answers
Why is this a value you want to instill in your life?
Being Modest is at the heart of the kind of person I want to be in my life. It allows one to have a more truthful relationship with one’s abilities which greatly influences one’s capacity to grow. This value reduces the amount of time and energy spent thinking about one’s existing qualities and abilities which frees up that time and energy for other more positive and growth-oriented activities. I know that I immediately respect and am drawn to people who give off an air of modesty and I hope bringing this value into my life more will have a similar effect on those I meet.
What activities bring out this value?
I learned about and employ a great tool to help grow this quality that I learned about in Jay Shetty’s book, Think Like a Monk. He suggested immediately redirecting praise received from others to those in your life that helped get you where you are or made the things you are being praised for possible. This is an excellent way to turn potential arrogance and building up of the ego into Modesty and gratitude for others.
How would the world be different if more people identified more with this ideal?
A greater amount of Modesty in the world would likely correlate to a greater deal of self-actualization. People would have a truer relationship with themselves and their abilities which would result in their ability to grow. It would also reduce the amount of arrogance and therefore people would spend more time thinking of others and collaborating. Overall, as usual with this question, the world would be a significantly better place to live.
What image comes to mind when visualizing this ideal?
I visualize a very stoic individual that is focusing his attention inward and growth rather than boasting. I also have a close friend I associate with being very modest and his face comes to mind as well.
How can people who want to do this first take steps to include it in their daily routine more?
A great first step is taking the time to develop a deeper relationship with oneself and abilities. This could involve thinking through one’s day while writing into a journal at night and identifying examples of unnecessary energy used praising oneself and making changes. Also, the activity of redirect praise mentioned above is a great daily habit to develop.
If you have any other questions you think would aid in the understanding and development of future ideals, please leave a comment below!
The following playlist is the beginning of my collection of songs that I believe embody Modesty:
If you have any other songs you think would fit in the playlist, please leave a comment down below letting me know!
Last Value: Nurture
I am finishing up the last of the ideals with Nurture. I believe it is incredibly important to develop a strong ability to nurture not just others in one’s life but oneself as well. I look forward to learning more and bringing more nurturing into my life.
Make Today Your Best Day Yet!
“Life is a series of fresh starts, the frequency of use is up to the individual”~Zak Keller aka amusingmonk~