Oh, teach me humility without the misconception of necessary self-deprecation. Teach me humility that doesn’t rely on others’ perception of the quality. Teach me humility that doesn’t rely on my own perception — a quiet humility that I don’t even notice. Teach me to be humble without knowing I’m humble.
Sometimes I say things that seem like a brag to others, when in reality it is my child-like, inferior extraverted feeling function that requires validation from the outside world. For as introverted and independent as I am, I find myself feeling like a toddler when I don’t receive praise for the work I’ve done, particularly from my parents and sporadically from other people. It’s an interesting dichotomy in that I truly do the work for myself and myself alone — no one has asked me to do it, I would do it even if someone asked me not to, and I would still do it even if I knew no one else would ever see or hear it — but then as soon as I offer it up to the world, I feel as though I’m naked, running through a crowd of people, desperately trying to look into their averted eyes, screaming, “LOVE ME, GOD PLEASE, LOVE ME! PLEASE THINK I’M GOOD, PLEASE THINK I’M OKAY, PLEASE LOVE ME!”
I relate this to my nephew, who is one and a half years old. He is constantly going, dancing, hitting baseballs, singing, playing piano, climbing, learning — but he always looks back to my brother and sister-in-law for approval. I’m learning so much from him, it really is crazy the things that stick with us for so long. I know and admit that I look to the outside world for validation and I no longer despise this notion — I am openly exploring it.
I didn’t understand the insecurity and need I had for the outside world and I hatefully wrote off these thoughts as me being a big, unloveable brat. But if you treat a child like a brat, the child will most likely act like a brat, and I didn’t know that I was still a child. I am much better about it than I used to be. Before I would be thrown into an emotional hurricane at a negative response or even a response that I didn’t think was quite good enough; now I know my weaknesses, forgive myself for them, and treat myself with patience, understanding and sensitivity, as you would a toddler. I have this sense of being “born again” and I really feel like I am raising myself, my inner child.
I focused on my strengths for so long that my weaknesses became even weaker, but through the breakdown of my psyche, I recognize that and address it. It happened today, I said something to my dad about a play that I’m doing that I now know came off as a brag and was received as such, when in reality I just wanted him to think I was doing a good job. I responded with a tiny morsel of hurt feelings and even though I stumbled, I didn’t fall, and I am proud of myself for that. I caught myself in those feelings, instead of letting it unnecessarily spiral into a fit.
The main problem lies right there in those few words: “wanted him to think”. I will never control what anyone thinks. Even if I influence, I do not control. And truly, I don’t want to control what anyone else thinks. I live my life as authentically as I can at the time and as time goes on and I grow, I become more authentic. It is such a blissful peace that I would never want to take away from anyone.
I forgive myself. I know the reason for my reaction and therefore, I can work on it. I am proud of myself for not acting as I did in the past. I am happy with myself for learning. I think you can still acknowledge yourself in a positive way and be humble, the problem is when you acknowledge yourself for the sake of someone’s approval. I am learning.