People treasure humbleness as a human characteristic. We praise people who don’t realize how talented they are. At the same time, we spurn people who practice false modesty. “Oh, he’s just fishing for a compliment.” I’m not one to automatically assume someone is being falsely modest, but I would like to share a parable about the dangers of practicing such false modesty. This one comes from the 7th grade chapter of Cecily’s life.
[Sweating my 7th grade butt on the track during gym glass]
Short boy: Hey.
[Now just vaguely pretending to run]
Shorter boy: Hey.
Me: You’re really short. I mean, hey.
Short boy: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: [Guffaws] No.
Short boy: What if I told you that somebody likes you?
Me: I’d say you were smoking crack. I mean, I’d say you were crazy.
Short boy: Well, shorter boy here likes you.
Me: [Thinking about the fact that someone would like me, and not thinking about the boy who actually did like me] Ewww.
Shorter boy: [Deeply offended] Ewww?
Me: That’s not what I—
Shorter boy: You’re really going to hurt someone’s feelings some day.
[Shorter boy runs off crying]
Moral of the story: Strangely enough, putting yourself down in front of other people can actually make those people feel worse about themselves.
Also, 7th grade boys are babies.