Understanding Modesty

Posted by hanjeno.o
2016. 11. 21. 20:57 EDITORIAL/문예 :: Literature

    There is nothing worse than being around people who are full of themselves. Though self recognition is important for one’s confidence, the vulgar expression of pride is irritating. This has raised the value of modesty. The social norms demand more humbleness from more talented individuals. However, the expression of modesty is in fact the ultimate form of narcissism.

    Prior to discussing the nature of modesty, it is important to understand why many people tend to be so full of themselves. Among the swarm of people, the value of an individual seems trivial. Humans are thus born with the quest to discover and protect one’s identity. Ironically, identical traits do not aid in defining identity. Identity is found from unidentical features. People thus live with different principles and values, in search of self. However, not every idea is accepted by others. Or more importantly, most people are not satisfied with the amount of recognition they get. This dissatisfaction triggers self to advertise one’s success. The emptiness that is not fulfilled by self, is subsequently demanded to be filled by others in an immature way: bragging. Too afraid to admit that one simply wants recognition, one pretends to be completely satisfied with oneself.

    Simply not showing off one’s pride does not make a person modest. Individuals without any accomplishments or enough confidence are not being humble. They are more lost in the search of self. This is a phase that every individual goes through multiple times in his/her life. But this is far from being humble. It is important to distinguish modesty from such silence. While one is the epitome of confidence, the other is its deprivation. Only when one is confident with oneself could one be modest. Self growth cannot be triggered without loving oneself. Narcissism is not only instinctive, but also needed for one’s growth.

    By this point, I want to categorize four stages that lead to modesty. At first, people start off unrecognized and unconfident. At this stage, it is important to gain confidence to step up and make the effort to get recognition. The next stage is unrecognized yet confident. This is when a person starts to make accomplishments and boast about them to get recognition. Then comes the third stage, recognized but unsatisfied. An individual starts to doubt the worth of one’s accomplishment and tries even harder to be affirmed by others. Finally, an individual becomes both recognized and confident about their accomplishments, and turns modest. Being modest is the last stage in the combined ladder of recognition and confidence. In this last step, the support of others is necessary. Without the appreciation of others, the stage could not be reached.

    So, it is the modest people who are the most full of themselves. I want to pinpoint that narcissism is not bad, and only those who appreciate themselves enough could appreciate others as well. Life is not lived in solitude, and many areas need the help of others. In the context that every individual loves oneself enough, the rapport with others is critical. We can reciprocally fill in each other’s voidness. This could make people modest and satisfied. Praising others when they deserve it could make modest gentlemen out of the most irritable braggarts. Those who know me, now know why I behave like I do. Please help me be modest with a few kind words.


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