Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Four feathers, continued

More from BE FULL OF YOURSELF, a book by Patricia Lynn Reilly

A Reversal of Value: The Development of the Humble Self

Our desire for acknowledgment was judged as conceited, big-headed, self-inflated and pompous by our families. Daily, we walked through a mine-field of warnings and admonitions to be humble about our projects, dreams and accomplishments and adventures, to be humble and quiet about ourselves at the expense of our own healthy self-celebration.

Dont be so egotistical and full of yourself. Don't blow your own horn. Dont brag. Pretend you dont know what you know so you wont hurt his ego. Do well quietly so others wont feel intimidated by you. Dont be so obvious with your talents. Dont hurt other peoples feelings by being so good at everything. Youre too big for your britches. Stop showing off. Who do you think you are? Pride goeth before a fall.

The constant repetition of childhood commandments censored our natural desire for acknowledgment and recognition. We were required to be quiet about ourselves, to pretend that our ideas, projects, dreams and talents were small and inconsequential so we would be liked. Humble, discreet, and considerate, we learned that girls are supposed to applaud for others, especially boys.

What specific words, images, experiences, and expectations required the relinquishment of your celebratory self and the development of the humble self? Did you choose to conform by becoming quiet about your ideas, projects, dreams and talents? Were you unprepared for feminism's celebration of women, certain that something was wrong with you because of your inablity to shed the pseudo-humility of a lifetime? Or did you refuse to twist yourself out of shpae in childhoood by maintaining a relationship to your celebratory self and your desire for acknowledgment and recognition? What were the gifts and challenges of your choices?

Well, now...

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