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Modesty VS. Humility: “The Lyrics Of Life” Blog Series From The Make BELIEVE Musician

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2013 by Johnny Ryan Music

Part Of The Lyrics Of Life Blog Series; By Johnny Ryan The Make BELIEVE Musician

Johnny Ryan

So I’ve been seeing a life coach.  I know, right?  Even folks like me, who you may come to for advice or motivation, need to be inspired and re-access their priorities in their quest to achieve their dreams and goals too.  Anyway, in my last coaching session, we got into a subject that I think everyone can benefit from. Distinguishing between modesty and humility.

Cam Vuksinich, my life coach, always starts off by asking me what’s on my mind.  What would I like to discuss today that is blocking me or challenging me.  On this particular day, we had been discussing how important it is to share your gifts with the world.  In that moment of the discussion, I began thinking about a performance I had several weekends before.  My band and I had just finished our show.  As usual, we were talking amongst ourselves and saying hello to fans who came to the show, when one person came over to the table and wanted to compliment me personally for my performance.  She said that what I had done on stage had really touched her and helped her bring back memories of a great time in her life.  Wow!  Pretty cool right?  Well it should have been but I didn’t recognize the opportunity when it was right in front of me.  I responded with, “ah, well I kind of messed up on that song…I couldn’t really hear myself in the monitors and so I went off key…Blah, blah, blah”  What a jerk right?  One of my band mates who was standing there as I whined about my monitors was just shaking his head after the fan walked away.  He said, “Dude!  Just say thank you!”  As he smacked me upside the head.

Ouch!  In more ways than one.  He was absolutely right.  What I had failed to realize, was this fan took the time to come up to me and SHARE something incredibly special with me that happened in her life…then and again in that current musical moment that I provided…and I had just crapped all over it by complaining about my inability to hear on stage.  How insensitive and selfish is that?  Obviously, I was in no way doing all of this on purpose or to trivialize her moment.  But none-the-less, I didn’t recognize the special moment that was right in front of me.

ImageAfter I told Cam this story, she shared her experience of learning to distinguish the differences between MODESTY AND HUMILITY;  It went something like this; I’m paraphrasing of course.

“The first thing I did to understand the difference between modesty and humility, was to simply look both words up in the dictionary.  When you read the definitions of both words you’ll immediately recognize the distinction between them.”

“The overall meaning of the word modesty, is to hold or pull ones self back from action or reaction, so one doesn’t appear to be too full of ones self, because one may think they could intimidate others.

Whereas humility’s overall meaning is simply stating that “I am who I am.”

So when I reacted the way I did at my show, I was a coming from a place of modesty.  I didn’t have the confidence or awareness to simply acknowledge her praise and connection with me.  I was too concerned with myself.  I wrongfully assumed that she would not be able to handle that I believe in my talents.  I wrongfully made a decision FOR her, denying her full access to my gifts/talents.  How selfish right?  I know…when you look at it that way, absolutely!

Coming from a position of humility is a far more pure and truthful path for me now.  When I come from a path of humility, it’s ok to be somewhere that I’m sometimes afraid, or that I believe I can sing pretty well, or that sometimes I don’t feel confidence in my abilities.  But that’s who I am and it’s ok.  Take it or leave it.

To give you another analogy of the difference between the words modesty and humility, you can think of humility as something that is completely naked.  What you see is what you get.  No frills, no bells and whistles.  A person who is coming from a point of humility is not concerned with changing what others see.

A path derived from modesty would be in great need of accessory.  The modest individual would require a situation to be “dressed up” because of their concern for how others think.  Something a modest minded person may think subconsciously might be, “do they feel good about who I am?”

So I don’t believe in modesty anymore.  Only in the concept of humility.

What I took away from my last session with Cam is this; When someone approaches me to comment, congratulate or thank me for something I’ve done, I always take a moment, take a breath and simply say thank you.  By doing so, that “thank you” means so much more than that.  It means I acknowledge the actions you’ve taken to actively come up to me and share your experience.  That is an incredibly special moment that I want to thank you for.

So take a breath…

I’d love to hear your comments or answer any questions you may have.  Please leave your comments or questions below or contact me at 

**Johnny Ryan Is A Professional Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist And Session Musician And The Creator Of  The “Lyrics Of Life” Blog Series By The Make BELIEVE Musician’s; Based In Denver, CO.  

**For More On Johnny Ryan, Go To Johnny Ryan And Sign Up To Become A  V.I.P. Back Stage Member For Exclusive Music, Videos, And Health & Fitness Tips From Johnny.

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