Formerly modesty was valued as a supreme virtue, it was a prerequisite for the development of other character traits that embellish the 'good man', and the old saying was: 'the sign of greatness is modesty, and the petty ride in the chariot of self-love'. However, the definition of this character trait has changed so much that in modern times it is nothing but a choking of its own potentials, an energy blocker and the source of many problems, especially when it comes to business relationships. How can one trait have so many opposite meanings? Did it happen because new times brought new values, different "rules of the game" and changed the "list" of desirable features? Are we humble born, or are we becoming? Are our mothers and fathers responsible for putting modesty into character permanently and for not being able to break free from this trait even when it causes us problems? Or do we not have this feature "written" in our character? Is it possible at all to change character traits and personalities in order to keep up with changes globally? Psychologist Maria Lompedo answers these and many other questions. What is modesty really? Is the definition of this term unique or personality-dependent?
- Modesty is a character trait. Although, above all, it describes a person's relationship to himself, his personal qualities and achievements, at the same time he is also a way of introducing himself to other people. Modesty in behavior is positively valued in the social environment. It is also the basis of tolerance and respect for others and allows others to express their personality. Still, modesty is mentioned in different contexts. Sometimes this means that requests and desires can have modesty, ie. that they are not exaggerated, unrealistic and in line with possibilities. Also, many will describe modesty as a kind of awareness of their own significance in relation to the infinity of the universe, the wonder of life or the wisdom of God. In addition to these positives, modesty is also used in describing one's underdeveloped potentials and limited capabilities, but also as a trait that puts a person in an inferior position in a competitive environment. Therefore, different people will define modesty in different ways. We can understand it more fully through its opposite - immodesty. And it is defined as a mixture of lust, greed, arrogance, ambition, bragging, eternal dissatisfaction with what a person has and (or) achieves. If we are talking about our attitude towards our own personality and achievements, the humble person has no need to stand out, impose his own values and fascinate the environment with his specialty. We can say that in some ways a person is aware of their limitations, but on the other hand has something to be proud of. The humble are generally loved in their surroundings, people in their society feel extremely comfortable.
Once modesty stood out as a virtue, today it is often perceived as a flaw, especially in the sphere of business relations. What has most influenced the "value" of this property to fluctuate so much? - Modesty is a social virtue and has a strong communication effect on other people. Like many social virtues, modesty has a number of connotations that depend on what is considered valuable in society. This actually means that in times of changing social values, many of the social virtues will be neglected and receive completely opposite meanings. Such treatment of socially desirable traits is an indicator of the value confusion in which society is situated, but also of the person who lives in such a society. And that we live in a confusion of value is a fact that cannot be ignored. Modesty is a trait that, combined with, for example, honesty and honesty, can cause a lot of problems. This creates a great dilemma for parents how to educate their children, whether they should be "taught" by modesty, which can be more and more obstructive in their lives. However, this kind of dilemma can be overcome by developing a flexible attitude towards reality. How much modesty helps us, in what situations, and when it blocks the achievement of goals?
- And when it comes to virtues, ie. personality traits that society values, and when it comes to other traits, including personality itself, we do not benefit from their global appreciation. So for modesty as a character trait we can say that it has both positive and negative aspects. It is simply not possible for us to function flawlessly in all situations. Modesty is a desirable trait for society as a whole. The humble man has no expressed need to dominate and amaze other people. Since it is not competitive, it is rarely in conflict with its surroundings and people prefer it. From the standpoint of the individual, the humble person is more inclined to make prudent and thoughtful decisions that protect him / her from unnecessary and risky situations. Therefore, a modest person is less likely to fail and is less exposed to stressful situations. When they do, though, it is easier to deal with them than a person who overestimates their own strengths and capabilities. Modesty will not be socially functional in situations where an individual or group competes, because a competition philosophy involves group dynamics where there is no place for modesty as it can lead to a losing position. Also, at the individual level, it is sometimes necessary to take risks, step out of the comfort zone, examine one's boundaries, explore potential and encourage personality development. That cannot be done with modesty. Being humble and not highlighting your positive traits and accomplishments when interviewing for a job, for example, can compromise the chances of getting the job you want. Taking over your abilities and qualifications on such an occasion would probably not be a reflection of modesty but of some other traits. Are we born humble, do we inherit this trait or do we acquire it depending on the circumstances and life course? - From a young age, parents, school and peers have shaped modesty in their child. Of course, this design is more successful if it relies on innate preferences. Generally, a personality assembly implies a complex interplay of many factors, both innate and acquired, whereby the person himself, through his activity, forms an inimitable experience. In the course of development and in contact with other people, cultures, but also under the influence of significant and difficult life events such as illnesses, death of important and dear people, divorce, loss of business ... the modesty of modesty is finally formed and "enrolled" in nature.
What are humble people like? How to identify "false modesty", how different is it from "true"? - Humble people do not have to represent themselves better than they are. Mostly they perceive themselves realistically, see and accept their virtues and disadvantages. They also have no need to dominate others and compete to gain power or gain higher status. They are tolerant of communication and not overly self-directed. This makes them open to new ideas and opinions from other people. A humble person is certainly not shy, withdrawn, inhibited, uninterested in success and life satisfaction. A humble person values human diversity and social values. Considering that modesty is a valued trait, it is not uncommon for people to act modesty when they feel that it is worthwhile in a particular situation. This is what we call 'false modesty'. Understanding the true meaning of modesty is often "complicated" by a resemblance to decent behavior that excludes boasting, overly ambitious and intrusive behavior, but also self-expression. Responsibility in handling does not automatically indicate that the person is modest and that the two characteristics should not be confused. The tendency for a person to neglect or downplay his or her qualities and achievements is often regarded as 'false modesty'. It is not a question of trying to manipulate for the sake of achieving benefits, but of inhibition. Can we get rid of modesty? - A psychologically sound position would mean getting rid of "false modesty", which requires the conversion and unnecessary investment of energy into creating a false image of ourselves. Developing a philosophy of self-acceptance versus conditional acceptance of self strengthens potentials, clearer views of both flaws and virtues. Real self-assessment prevents us from constructing 'false identities'. Therefore, modesty is a needless maneuver, and modesty is a natural result of a balanced relationship with ourselves and the reality that surrounds us. Avoid the pitfalls of falsehood How to educate a child to accept and adopt only the positive aspects of modesty?
- The family, with its dominant behavioral models and educational practices that shape prevalent family values, plays a major, perhaps crucial, role in developing and consolidating modesty. At stake are the moral lessons that modesty carries as a character trait, which we pass on to future generations. It is one of the basic functions of the family. In spite of the turbulent times of concern, every family, except love and support, has the task of preparing and strengthening the offspring for independent living as best they can. Therefore, let us guard against unfounded generalizations and nurture a flexible relation to reality. We strive to develop positive aspects of modesty in our children, which is achieved through realistic relationships to oneself and self-acceptance. We teach them decency and how to avoid the pitfalls of "false" modesty. If a child is educated so as to be given unrealistic and excessive praise and criticism, if he or she is compared too much to siblings or other children, he or she adopts the view that it is much worse or much better than others, it emphasizes the wrong evaluation criteria and such upbringing will certainly not create humble children. However, one has to be careful and teach children not to underestimate their abilities, to develop their potential and talents.
Author: Maria Lompedo, Psychologist & Psychotherapist
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