I found this quote the other day and it seemed like the opposite of what I was told my whole life:
Have few desires.
“Manifest plainness,” in particular, was something that was NEVER taught me, either by my family or society in general. Instead of suggesting that I manifest plainness, I was told that I should stand out. Buy this and you will stand out. Excel in school and you will stand out. Get a prestigious job and you will stand out.
I never once in my life thought that “standing out” might be bad for me.
But that desire to stand out has HARMED me. I have sacrificed money, emotion and time to it with no change in my feelings about myself. I thought that if I went to a prestigious school that I would feel better about myself. I didn’t. I thought that if I bought these cool clothes that I would feel better about myself. I didn’t. I thought that if I got that cool job I would would feel better about myself. I didn’t.
No matter what I sacrificed on the altar of “Standing Out,” it didn’t help me. No Coach purse. No fancy degree. No prestigious job. NOTHING helped make me feel worthy. It was never enough. No matter how many degrees, fashionable clothes or jobs I had, there was always someone with MORE.
And then someone told me I had to be humble and everything changed.
HUMILITY has made it all better. The realization that we are all the same. We all are born. We all die. We all are mere humans on this big, blue, marble. No one is higher than me. No one is below me. We are all on the same level.
That concept made all of the “Standing Out” seem unnecessary. Suddenly, I could see what “Standing Out” meant. Anyone who was trying to show how much better they were was someone who was trying to prove something that just wasn’t true. It was like holding up a huge sign that said, “I don’t think I’m good enough.” THAT is what the tags on designer clothes say. They scream, “I don’t think I’m good enough,” so loudly that I can’t hear a word the person is saying. THAT is what bragging about your alma mater or your job is: chanting, “I don’t think I’m good enough,” over and over.
“Manifest plainness,” isn’t about making yourself purposefully less than others. It’s about NOT screaming your inadequacies out to the world. It’s about not desperately trying to prove that you are better. It’s humility and true humility is far more attractive than anything in a fashion magazine.