March 14, 2014

Let’s Download Our Humility Here. ~ Kathryn E. Livingston

megaphone scream

It seems that life has become one massive brag board.

Whatever happened to humility? Does it even exist anymore? Maybe humility needs to be chucked overboard, or redefined.

On a recent “Walk the Talk Show,” Waylon Lewis said that we need humor with our humility. There’s nothing wrong with letting your light shine—that’s why we’re here.

Be unapologetic and real about your greatness; don’t play small.

Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with publicizing one’s accomplishments—as a writer, I do it all the time. But, haven’t we gone a little crazy with this? Why are we all so anxious, eager, and willing to convince others that we’re great, happy and utterly amazing? Are we all so insecure—or hungry for money and/or recognition?

One recent visit to Facebook brought me this:

Pictures of someone’s adorable grandchild.

Pictures of someone’s adorable cat.

Links to blogs by various writers (including my own).

Links to yoga workshops by incredible teachers.

Pictures of someone’s delicious gourmet dinner.

Photos of someone looking really hot when he was 16 (though he’s now 60).

Products that people are trying to sell.

Images of exotic vacation spots.

Pictures of people on exotic vacations doing yoga poses and eating amazing foods.

Photos and videos of babies and children engaged in such phenomenal feats as crawling or hitting a baseball.

And more...including some great jokes, inspirational quotes and links to worthy causes. 

Surely it’s human nature to feel a need to be recognized and validated.

But in some ways it seems as if adults have turned into toddlers.

When they were young, my children used to always call out things like “Look at me!” or “Watch me brush my teeth!” “Watch me balance on the arm of the couch!” “Mom, mom, mom…watch me twirl!”

And my all-time favorite, “Watch me watch TV!” Believe me, there was nothing I would have rather done (and did) than watch them sparkle and shine. Yes, I even watched them watching TV.

Do adults really need this persistent attention?

I was brought up to value privacy, humility and modesty, but in this day and age, in order to survive, one must constantly shine a light on oneself. Our inordinate need to impress and grab the attention of others appears to be growing and growing. Instead of letting our natural light shine out from within, it seems as if we’re forced to set up artificial spotlights everywhere we go—particularly online.

I’m not asking for or expecting a return to days of yore. We should celebrate our power, our accomplishments, and our awesomeness, but sometimes I miss those aww, shucks days when the idea of promoting oneself would have seemed crass and impolite. Sometimes I wish, when someone asks me what I’ve been doing lately, I could just say without apology, one helluva lot of nothing, rather than, climbing Mount Everest or inventing a flavored and scented chia seed you can purchase at this link.

As yogis, we’ve all heard, “Nowhere to go, nothing to do.”

Addendum: Nothing to sell, nothing to promote, nothing to shout from the rooftops, nothing to brag about, nothing to shamelessly hawk and/or advertise.

As Ram Dass said, “The quieter we become the more we hear.”

It seems that things have gotten awfully loud.

Now, please excuse me while I go share this blog!


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Photo: elephant journal archives

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Kathryn E. Livingston