31 Day Writing Challenge Day 24: “A problem you have…”
“You sell yourself too short.” My friend said this a few days ago as we were leaving Panera and I remarked how the guy in front of us in the line was “too attractive for me.”
I tried to laugh off her comment, but its familiarity struck me. It is a sentence I’ve heard many times in my life, regarding everything from once announcing in the beginning of a work presentation that I was “not a guru” to being hesitant to apply for a spotlight feature at my favorite spoken word spot. Professional and personal confidence, especially post-college, are things I have had to learn to gradually attain. They no longer come to me quite as naturally as they did when I was a naïve and inflated college kid.
And, with good reason. Life has an uncanny way of humbling us, adversity serving as a memorable reality check of who we are and how we are not exempt from the vicissitudes of existence. Every now and again, we are reminded that we are only human and we sometimes royally mess things up.
These ups and downs make the line between arrogance and humility delicate. We live in a world where Kanye West has found a way to rhyme his name to that of the Messiah. On Thursday night, I sat back and listened to a poet brag of his sexual prowess (never great material for a poem, ladies and gentlemen.) Arrogance has become art. Explicit self-inflation seems to make for great lyrics or lines, so it is hard to know how much of it is authentic, how much of it is insecurity, and how much of it is just what sells and rhymes.
Perhaps as I have tried to teeter that line between arrogance and humility, I have sometimes leaned too far on one side, incorrectly identifying humility as talking myself a bit too far down the scale. Perhaps humility is not always coming up with a rebuttal for compliments, but instead graciously accepting them while not letting them get too ingrained in my head.
I agree that I need to stop selling myself short in all aspects of my life. I agree that by selling myself short, I have probably missed out on some opportunities. Because, selling yourself short simply means you don’t think you deserve more. And, on my better days, I fully know what I deserve and desire.