In our innate pursuit of recognition, we misconstrue Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in pursuit of validation. This is the difference between expressing your soul’s purpose and your ego basking in the glow of success. We want to be seen, not for our achievements, but for our true character. How can we experience esteem and remain humble?
The call to brag about our achievements, be it through virtue signalling or something less discreet makes us question whether we have truly achieved something for ourselves. Does the need for validation from others indicate an insecurity in our achievement? A void left unfilled that we are seeking to fill through recognition? Humility means that we have integrated our achievements into our way of being and thus displaying our prowess does not satiate the ego. It can be difficult to determine who is bragging and who is being, but only you know if you have a desire to brag and only you know how you feel when you hear someone else bragging, and whether there is still something to conquer. This does not mean that we should live in silence or guard our actions, because we may be depriving the world of the wisdom of a true master.
Remember that it doesn’t matter how objectively successful you are or how easy success came to you or another, everyone is pursuing something different even if it doesn’t seem that way. Everyone needs a certain amount of struggle to achieve their success and while some may appear more talented or lucky than others, they will have other struggles in their life which may or may not have contributed to their visible success. How many failures must one have until they discover the easy route to success? It becomes easier as we narrow our path. Is success for you to make beautiful music which touches people’s souls or to have international fame and recognition as a DJ? Recognition provides the support we need to continue pursuing our dream, but the goals should always be set by us and pursued by us.
Pursuing recognition through a measured value system of numbers and symbols is a pursuit of egotism and is tantamount to throwing away the chocolate and keeping the wrapper.
While we understand modesty to be the opposing force to arrogance, we can sometimes confuse arrogance for confidence and modesty for meekness, depending on the narrative being exhibited and our internal narrative. There is no formula here, only to take a step back and observe what they are seeking to portray and how you as the other interpret it, and either to adjust to their narrative or adjust your own. We detect the arrogance in one that is seeking to assert power on the situation, rather than the confidence that we are given when empowered.
To be open enough to new ideas but sure enough of yourself is confidence. Arrogance is merely insecurity masquerading as confidence and passiveness is insecurity masquerading as openness. There is peacefulness in true confidence and openness as the ego is not defending itself through these false representations. Representations which are symbolic of true character, much like a fake house plant is symbolic of nature.
There is no shame in sharing an honest part of yourself when it comes from a place of earnestness, rather than a desire for power.
The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest thing without it — Carl Jung
Large feats which capture the world’s attention are often just phallic shaped buildings or rockets, on which substantial fortunes have squandered in order to satiate the ego of a few people. You could walk around wearing the title of Doctor all day, but that person you casually say ‘hello’ to on the street may have been the one in desperate need of life-saving human interaction.
It is not just the moment you should be mindful of, there is a holistic picture of you forming the context of the moment that requires conscious attention. Be proud of your achievement in overcoming adversity, in whatever form it came in and express it through inspiring others, and remember that there are no trophies for intangible mastery, only the emotional response it evokes in others.