Stop Being Modest

Rachel Beohm
5 min readFeb 15, 2021

Modesty is not humility. So, stop already. Here’s how to practice true humility and find confidence.

Maya Angelou once said,

“I have no patience with modesty. Modesty is a learned adaptation. You don’t want modesty. You want humility. Humility comes from the inside out.”

You can spot fake humility, sometimes known as “modesty,” a mile away. Modesty, like “being nice,” is an act people adopt in order to influence the opinions of others. When you care more about how people perceive you than living according to your values, tricksy little manipulative behaviors like false modesty and sugary sweet niceness creep into your repertoire.

I do value humility, which may come as a surprise since I write and speak so frequently on confidence. Many people think these two attributes are mutually exclusive. They couldn’t be more wrong! It takes great confidence to be truly humble. And it takes humility to be truly confident. They are two sides of the same coin; you cannot have one without the other.

You probably know people who can’t admit their mistakes or flaws. (Perhaps you’ve been that person on occasion. I have.) You also know people who won’t admit their strengths. (Maybe you’ve had those moments, too?) And you know both types are equally annoying and off-putting. Why? They don’t acknowledge the truth. You can’t trust someone who isn’t honest, whether they’re hiding their problems or their success.

That’s why true humility (or confidence) does NOT do any of these things:

Humility is not berating yourself.

Whether it’s in your own head (aka “negative self-talk”) or in front of others, true humility doesn’t put people down. It doesn’t verbally abuse people. Including yourself.

Humility doesn’t minimize what’s good.

It doesn’t ignore or downplay contributions or achievements, because it is based in reality. Humility accepts thanks and praise graciously, honoring the giver in the process.

Humility is not poor self-esteem.

A humble person, because they are grounded in confidence, doesn’t think or worry about the self a whole lot. People with low self-esteem…

Rachel Beohm

Exploring relationship skills, communication (especially nonverbal), and how to live a full life. Promoter of kindness, gratitude, and joy.