Let's start with the distinction of three approaches to describe your work and achievemnts:
1. Lack of modesty. Bragging, one-upmanship, forcing artificial compliments. False evaluation of your activities as irreplaceable, unique and sublime.
2. Modesty. The ability to accurately assess the value of your achievements and genuinely accept the compliment.
3. False modesty. Rejecting the compliment and diminishing the value of your work.
Mentality No. 1 stems from low self-esteem. When we don't feel that what we do is valuable, we make strenous efforts to convince others about that. If they recognize our actions as good, then can breathe a sigh of relief - the fear of mediocrity is momentarily defused.
Mentality No. 3 keeps our self-esteem at a low level and block its development. This way of looking at yourself may result from the belief "My work is worthless."
When people don't get enough feedback from the outside (appreciation from parents, praising boss), they tend to fall into thinking that their work does not matter much and is not valuable.
As a result, they block the mentality of wealth and abundance. This means that you don't believe you can earn the money adequate to the value of your work. And of course, this directly affects your actions and thought habits.
People who believe that their work is of a low value usually do not have color vision of the future and detailed action plans, because it never crossed their mind that they can earn more. What's more - they have the impression that they don't deserve it!
During one of my last coaching sessions I realized that false modesty often has a hidden agenda, worth paying attention to. There are people for whom it serves as a tool to achieve social goals.
These are usually people with low self-esteem, who perceive accepting compliments as bragging. They believe that as they will brag, their relations with other people will worsen. So they use false modesty as a way to please others.
Lack of confidence is a very common case, so those who can speak openly and honestly about their accomplishments are often condemned. That's why so many of us evolved false modesty within - to do well in building good relationships with other people.
We have forgotten that this falsehood hits ourselves and creates relationships that are not always authentic. It is that we base our relationships with others on truth and honesty (yes, even when being honest can hurt).
Big smile appeared on my face when I asked one (very accurate) coaching question, and the girl with whom I worked gave me her false modesty strategy on a silver platter.
This question was simple: "Why do you need false modesty?"
There answers were more or less like that:
- if someone tells me I'm good, I'll always have to be good;
- if I diminish the value of my work, others won't feel obliged to me;
- if I diminish the value of their work, others will think that it was easy for me;
- others will like me more, because they won't have remorse arising from the fact that I was given a difficult task.
Great discoveries, which show us how lowering the value of your work can help you win the appreciation of others.
However, one should realize that sympathy built on false messages about what we feel and think, will sooner or later become a cage - hard to get out of.
Rejecting false modesty and learning to accept compliments will allow us to maintain a healthy level of self-esteem in communicating with other people. At first it may seem that people won't like us, but the reality is quite different. Think about it: what kind of people do you like to have around? Natural, sincere and true or the ones who would do absolutely anything to be liked?
“I knew I was a winner back in the late sixties. I knew I was destined for great things. People will say that kind of thinking is totally immodest. I agree. Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way – I hope it never will.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Hearing those words someone could actually say that he is immodest.However, uttering these words, Arnold is 100% sure of them. He knows his worth and says what he really feels.
Be naturally modest - accept compliments and be thankful for them. They can be an important factor in building your self-esteem.
Recognizing the value of your work, will open you to thinking about the development of your personality and career. You will feel that you deserve an adequate payment for your work, and that will help you focus more on acting effectively and deriving more joy from what you are doing.