Perhaps as a child you were told not to toot your own horn, even when you accomplished something amazing. Or maybe you were told to stop dreaming of setting the world on fire, and “have modest aspirations, so you wouldn’t be disappointed.” Maybe when you try to express your authentic self you hear an old voice berating you for “being a show off.” Yet at the same time, out of the corner of your eye you see it was the big gestures that got all the attention in life. Glamour. Fame, Wealth. The trinity of what’s considered good taste and worshiped by the world. Or at least that’s the way the international best-dressed lists, the movie stars’ mansions that are glorified in glossy layouts. It’s not enough to write a finely honored first novel, it has to be a best-seller or you’ll have difficulty publishing a second one.
You can’t just be a talented actress, you have to win an Academy Award to be considered a success. Tell me, when was the last time you knew of a bronze medalist signing a $1 million endorsement deal? Most of us wouldn’t see our name in lights on Broadway, so we give up, sorry we even tried, our sense of self diminished. Being a modest success just doesn’t make it. We hear “modest” and think “mediocre.” What if modesty isn’t the self-effacing shy, retiring, nerdy virtue we’ve thought she is? What if modesty is really passion restrained? What if modesty is a virtue full of her own smoldering sense of self that she isn’t distracted by the glitz? The American writer and illustrator Oliver Herford believed that modesty was ” the gentle art of enhancing your own charm by pretending not to be aware of it.” People with an authentic style know what they are, but even more important, they know what they are not. They don’t care about labels, They care about personal expression.
Frank Lloyd Wright would never have asked Laura Ashley to decorate his house, even though both showcase the beauty of modesty in their work. The trick is to go deep enough to tap into the core of your authenticity and allow it to flourish. Are you wondering how to begin? First, find out what you love and remember that if you are someone who has tried to please other people or what we call a “people pleaser” this can seem like a daunting task. You may experience awareness that you are so disconnected from yourself that you don’t even know what you like do,much less love to do. You might want to talk to someone who is professional trained who can teach you how to go from being a people pleaser and help you to find your authentic self.
I leave this thought with you today. Goldilocks was a modest little lady who didn’t want very much. She knew what was “just right,” what was perfect for her . . . be it porridge, chair or bed and she made confident, creative choices. Now there’s a girl we should all want to be when we grow up. It’s never to late, you’re never to old, to young, to find your authentic self . . . and you clearly are not a trash can.