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Being Humble Without Self Depreciating

This something I’ve wanted to pen down but got the needed boost after seeing Issa Rae’s speech for Women In Film Gala. As humans, women especially, humility is a required quality. This is great, especially for me as a Christian. However, I’ve realised that it has become very easy to reduce yourself to accommodate others and feed their ego.

I promise it is okay to sometimes appreciate yourself for being the glue that makes a team function. Being in the university meant a lot of group projects and it saddened and infuriated me when someone who doesn’t know the main points in the group work complains of getting a 15/20 on our group assignment.

If you did it, then you did it, okay?! Give all glory to God, however you are under no obligation to give undue praise to a person because you don’t want someone to be uncomfortable. If they feel uncomfortable, then they will learn how to put in an effort to gain merit.

I did it previously even with Africanism Today and I tell you that it is not worth covering up a person’s inefficiency to be nice. You can help a person willing to learn not one who wants only be involved with something for praise. Be confident, celebrate yourself, don’t diminish yourself or your accomplishments in order to accommodate (the inadequacies of) others.

A scenario most Africans and Black people can relate with are not asking a question in class because you don’t want to seem overly intelligent. Denying yourself (and others) the golden opportunity to learn.

I think where the confusion lies is equating arrogance with confidence, thereby masturbating with the truth and creating a continuous flow of self-depreciation in other to seem humble.

In as much as we work on ourselves, we should acknowledge other people. When people celebrate themselves, don’t quickly dismiss them as “proud”, “flaunting”, so as justify our false moral compass on humility.

This does not encourage pride along with its pitfalls but to assure you that you can be humble, and be confident. As it is with most opposites, it is easy to blur the lines or hide in the extremes. However, the key is understanding that while you are not greater than anyone, you are not lesser either.


I'm OnyinyeOlufunmi, a visual artist, writer and psychologist from Lagos, Nigeria.

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