How To Keep Yourself Humble While Recognizing Your Worth

Question mark

(Image: Ethan Lofton)

“Hey, Celes! Here’s what I want to know: How do you keep yourself humble whilst recognizing your own worth and potential?” – Krys

Hi Krys! That’s an interesting question. The assumption behind the question seems to be that recognizing one’s own worth is at odds with being humble.

In reality, they aren’t at odds with one another. They are very much in line with one another.

This reminds me of a common myth people have about arrogance and confidence. Before I started my Europe travels, I was conducting career workshops with JobsCentral for a year. One of the most popular workshops I ran was on how to ace interviews. During the workshop, I would teach participants about the 3 C’s and 1 P to acing their interviews, of which one of the Cs is Confidence.

One of the most popular questions I would get about confidence would be this: “How can you be confident and not come across as arrogant?” or “How can you ensure you don’t come across as over-confident?”

The thing is, confidence has nothing to do with being arrogant. People who are arrogant, or who at least, come across as arrogant, aren’t confident at all — if anything, they actually lack confidence. That’s why they are overbearing, it’s to compensate for the feeling of lack.

For the same reason, overconfidence has nothing to do with confidence. Overconfidence refers to the state of being pompous and full of yourself, while confidence is about knowing yourself and being self-assured. The former is linked with insecurity and uneasiness, while the latter comes with groundedness and inner peace. Both refer to different things.

Which is why I see overconfidence as a misconstrued word. It probably came about because confidence is often linked with an ease of expressing oneself, while arrogant/overconfident people often overly express themselves — hence the use of the term “overconfidence” to refer to the latter group.

Coming back to the question, humility is not at odds with recognizing your worth, because to recognize your worth is to know yourself, realize your worth, and embrace it.

When you recognize your worth, you become at peace with yourself. There is no desire to show off or overly assert yourself to others, simply because there is no need to. You may talk about your achievements, but that’s out of a sincere intention to celebrate and share your joy with others, vs. to brag. Humility comes as a natural consequence of that.

On the other hand, when you don’t recognize your worth, either of the two happens — arrogance, where you adopt an ostentatious personality and put down others because you feel insecure with yourself, or reticence, where you become reserved and overly shy in the face of others. Both stem from the same root cause (insecurity), just that they are different expressions of the same issue.

So go on out there and embrace your natural talents freely and truly, without restraint. For when you do that, that’s when you blossom and come into your own — while naturally living true to the higher virtues of humility, love, and kindness.

Be sure to read: