"True humility is not thinking less of yourself. It's thinking of yourself less."
-- Christiane Northrup from unknown source
I heard this quote on Super Soul Sunday yesterday, and it made me think of a recent phenomenon that I've been seeing lately. I've been seeing posts on social media or blogs where someone says, "I usually don't promote myself, but..." or "It's not my style to toot my own horn, but listen to this..." or an analogous type of statement where a person states how they don't like to call attention to their strengths, accolades or outside praise, but the statement itself functions as a qualifier. Essentially, what they do immediately after the qualifier is, quite pointedly, call attention to their strengths, accolades or praise from others.
I understand the inclination to want to qualify "tooting your own horn." Our culture tends to hold high regard for humility, in general. Being consciously self-aware of your own talent is considered unseemly, even arrogant. But, telling people how great you are by first qualifying it as not something you "normally" do, has both an inauthentic and self-conscious quality that taints the entire message.
If you want to toot your own horn, do it unabashedly, without apology! If you don't feel comfortable tooting your own horn, that's fine too, don't do it. But, no matter which category you lean towards, perhaps it's more useful to think about tooting your own horn in a different light. It's a light that, once you accept it's truth, you'll understand why the qualifiers are never necessary.
The truth is that anything you are good at, any gift you have, any praise you get from someone else, any result you've co-created is not about you. Or more accurately, it's not only about you. Marianne Williamson once said something to the effect of "everyone is special, therefore no one is special." Everyone has something extraordinary to share with the world -- whether you are a gifted listener, friend, musician, writer, athlete, cook, father, teacher... whatever you do well, and with your whole heart, whatever you've been able to transform into wisdom and grace, is your gift. And because it's a gift -- it's been gifted to you. Meaning your soul came here with it. Meaning it is your connection to spirit or divinity. If you choose to recognize and play with this gift (or gifts), you are then gifting others with your spirit. If you choose to underplay it or not recognize it, it doesn't mean you don't have it. It's still your gift, you just may not be bringing it to the world as fully as you could if you chose to step into it more deliberately and intentionally.
Which is why, you don't have to talk about your gift to get people to understand what it is, it's just there. And it's also okay to boldly recognize your gift by talking about it, with the full understanding that while you may have worked on it to hone it and strengthen it, it's still your essence, it's still a gift that you were given. It's still your divinity. There's no way to underplay that, or qualify it, even if you wanted to.
Your gifts are your divinity.