Friday, June 29, 2012

What ever happened to humility?

I had a rude awakening the other day.  Humility is not valued in our culture.

Realism and success do not go hand in hand. To be successful, one must be overly confident. Is illusory superiority a natural trait in humans, or is this a recent development? Perhaps it is a side-effect of a society that from childhood tells us all that we are special just for standing there; that gives out awards for meer participation.

A New York Times article from last year stated that, "In the 1950s, 12 percent of high school seniors said they were a “very important person.” By the ’90s, 80 percent said they believed that they were." Causation aside, as a result, it appears that it is now commonplace to walk around with a bloated sense of the self. As this overly confident attitude has become the norm, I have to wonder how others perceive those of us who do not feel comfortable boasting about ourselves in such a manner. If exaggeration of one's abilities has become normal, does that mean that if you talk about your abilities in a purely realistic light it will still automatically be assumed that you are bragging, in turn leading others to believe your capabilities are lower than the factual level you stated?

Sure, I could use a little more confidence in my stride, but this goes beyond confidence. This is arrogance, and that is something I absolutely despise. Yet my experiences continue telling me I have to adopt that type of mentality to get anywhere.

So what, I become someone I hate for the sake of any possible success? Do I have to willingly brag about myself if I want to progress? Should I be running around telling everyone how fan-fucking-tastic I am? That I am something special? That I am unique?

I'm not. And neither are you.

None of us are.

I've got the sick feeling that this I am so fucking amazing attitude may actually be dangerous. If I am so fucking amazing, it would also follow that I am always right. If I am always right, why on earth should I compromise with that guy over there? I'm the amazing one. I am the one who perceives reality properly. Can anyone say they don't notice an unwillingness in our society to not only compromise with one another, but to try to fully understand the viewpoints of others?

While we're here, I propose we rid our vocabularies of the word "original". Rather I say we refer to what we think of as "original" and "new" as an evolution of something past, because that's what everything "new" is, isn't it? It's a reorganization, modification, or extension of something already in existence. We may think we have created something that has never been done before, but that creation was made with blocks that were already in existence.

I don't mean to sound negative, just realistic.


  1. The self esteem movement has corrupted our value system- entitlement and self absorption are paramount to our place in society now.

    Thankfully humility is as free as ever to cultivate and exercise.

  2. Hi, I totally agree with your post. Everything you said was what I had in my head, but just written more eloquently, lol. Just good to know there's other people who have come to the same realization as I do, and that I'm not alone. Unfortunately, I don't see this trend of over inflated self-esteem going away in our society, in fact, it's only going to get worse, blah....