Last night, the noise of a crowd of excited drunk people; all of whom are in town for the Sundance Film Festival, was deafening. I found myself talking to a man who flew into town to have a business meeting with me. During the conversation, he made the observation that the reason people like me so much is because I am “self deprecating”. He was waxing poetic about the importance of humility in a spiritual leader. Since last night, I've been thinking about the topic of humility, ego and self-deprecation.
People can’t seem to make their mind up about me. They either view me as humble because I am willing to smash the messiah complex by exposing my own humanity to the world, or they see me as egotistical because I think highly enough of myself that I have moved onto the world stage as a spiritual leader. The appearance of humility is particularly hard to maintain because of the absolute necessity of brand marketing. When you are a teacher or a leader, or a politician or an artist, the brand you are marketing is YOU. This means that your most valuable asset is your image. Marketers will tell you that the more you can push your image into the public eye, the more people will become familiar with your image and the easier it becomes to promote your work/vision. To today’s society, this blatant promotion of oneself looks narcissistic at best. And so, in the spiritual community, by promoting yourself, you are thrown into the category of egotistical, narcissistic spiritual gurus. I find this amusing because no matter how much I (or others) teach about the benefit of ego, ego is still treated like enemy #1 in the spiritual field. And then I find this even more amusing because to say that someone has a big ego, is to say that they have a big identity because that is all ego is, is a sense of separate identity/personality. And then I find this even more amusing because ANYONE who even comes up with the idea of teaching others or writing a book or starting a you tube channel or being in the public eye, has to by nature have enough of an ego (sense of identity) to even come up with that idea in the first place.
Without a large ego, Martin Luther King would never have thought to step on stage. The Buddha would not have accepted disciples. No politician would ever run for office. No performance artist would ever step foot on stage. There must not only be a strong sense of identity present, there must also be some measure of value that the person holds for their identity for that person to even come up with the idea to “put themselves out there” in the first place. Ego is a necessity for people who are in positions like I am in. That ego is both a gift; and a struggle. But that is the contrast you opt into when you are bent for a life of fame. In reality, you should beware of anyone who is in the public eye that doesn’t admit to having a big ego. I have an enormous sense of identity. I also have the awareness that on a higher dimensional level, this identity is an illusion that is entirely temporary. It is a temporary tool, which I am currently using for my expansion a well as other people's.
In general, people have an addiction to humility, and not for good reason. It is in fact a religious holdover from a time when high self-regard was considered a sin. After all, if one regarded themselves highly, they could not worship God or Church. That did not serve the churches, which needed life long worshippers. This is a sad world that we live in if self-deprecation makes someone “good”. And high self-regard makes someone “bad”. It is no wonder that the root of so many problems here on earth is the lack of self-love. We are confusing self denigration with humility. To regard yourself highly is not necessarily to regard others as low.
To be confident enough to acknowledge not only one’s own weaknesses, but also one’s own strengths is admirable. It is also necessary for success. It is a crucial part of self-awareness. All too often we think that the people who are self-aware are the ones who are acutely aware of their foibles. But he, who is aware of his foibles, may be unaware of his many wonders. And a person who is unaware of his positive aspects is just as lacking in the area of self-awareness as a person who is unaware of his negative aspects. But here is yet another topic of conversation; we are making a judgment call when we decide what traits are positive and what traits are negative.
I do not think that self-deprecation is an admirable quality. It upsets me that it is the foundation of being liked by others. Women are the very worst when it comes to this. In general, I have observed that if you announce to a woman what you like about yourself, they will look at you with an heir of judgmental disgust. Whereas if you announce to a woman what you hate about yourself, they will rush to your aid by complimenting you and establishing rapport. The lesson we females learn when we are very young, is that the way to get along with other women is to put ourselves down. And it works like a charm. That is, it works until you realize that you have destroyed your self-regard and self-respect for the promise of camaraderie.
If you are someone who deprecates yourself chronically, you have been sustaining yourself by suckling at the milk of humility. Even though this kind of humility is not really humility, it is self abasement which is merely disguised as humility. If we chronically self deprecate, we most likely gain our self worth from the fact that people are drawn to and validate our lack of arrogance. This makes us feel like we are a good person. This attachment to deprecation is ultimately debilitating though. It causes us to fully believe in and identify with our own inadequacy to the extent that we do not believe that there is anything good about ourselves. We will not believe any compliment that we are given.
If you struggle with self deprecation, ask yourself the following questions: “Do I try to manipulate how other people judge me by lowering their expectations of me deliberately?” Do I try to manipulate how other people treat me by belittling myself before they have a chance to belittle me?” “Do I exaggerate my own incompetence so that other people don’t expect things from me, and even show me their pleasant surprise when I succeed?” “Do I compare myself to others who I think are better than me?” “What am I really afraid of?” “Why do the judgments of other people matter to me so much?” “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” “where did this fear of being inadequate start for me? And most importantly, why is it so bad to think highly of myself and to express what I like about myself to others?”
Do not mistake self love for narcissism. It is important to focus on things that cause you to feel good about yourself. It is important that you engage in activities which cause you to feel good about yourself as well. Your relationship with yourself is your only guaranteed lifelong relationship. How well would your romantic partner or best friend fare if you thought that to be a good person yourself, meant to depreciate them? It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But this is exactly what we do to ourselves. We cannot live happy lives with a low opinion of ourselves any more than we can be happily married with a low opinion of our partner.
I challenge everyone to write a list of positive aspects about themselves today and to post it publicly below this blog in the comment section. I will go first.
I thrive on competition, which pushes me to my greatest capacities
I activate others
I am inspiring
I have a unique way of seeing this world, which helps others to feel more free and also more connected
I am full of passion
I possess the skill of articulation and oration
I am a brilliant writer
I am a talented artist
I am not afraid to put myself out into the world
I am brave
I turn lemons into lemonade
I am curious
I am successful
I have really good taste
I am an abundance thinker
I will abandon my previous ideas and beliefs when I encounter better ones that make more sense and are more beneficial
I am perceptive and intuitive
I am driven
I am intelligent and wise and clever
I am intense and that intensity makes other people feel alive
I am spontaneous and don’t let fear thwart me
I am responsible
I am a conscious capitalist
I am committed
I am eloquent
I am generous
I lead the way
I am genuine
I am deeply involved
I am technicolor
I am an accomplished athlete
I am original
I have incredible “star presence”
I “ruffle people’s feathers” and stir up controversy and because of it, I cause people to ask questions that ultimately set them free from limiting beliefs and painful ways of being
I am self directed
I am incredibly productive
I am an awesome cook
I can stay with people no matter how low or high they happen to go emotionally or mentally
I am not afraid of the shadow aspects of myself or other people
I overcome and transform
I am not afraid to switch horses mid stream
I have a captivating personality
I am multi faceted
I can admit to my mistakes
I do not understand the word “impossible”.
I lead a healthy lifestyle
I am dedicated to decreasing suffering on this planet
I perceive oneness constantly and so I am intimately connected with all beings on earth
I can access multiple dimensional realities
I am imbued with a multitude of “spiritual type gifts”
I am a very intimate person
I am bursting with creativity
My mind cuts through bullshit and illusion
I am regal and elegant
I am very talented
I am sensual and mystical
I am mesmerizing
I draw both fame and money to me
I “shoot for the moon” and I get there
I am immediate (the opposite of a procrastinator)
I am extremely deep
My life is full of significance and meaning
I feel my purpose deeply in my every breath and movement
I am dedicated to being as conscious and self aware as I possibly can be
I am fascinating
I am unstoppable
I am a visionary
I am physically beautiful to look at
I have laser like, unshakable focus
I am very spiritual and seek to merge physicality with non physicality in order to build a happy life and teach that process to others
I crave to see other people and beings happy and thriving
I am committed to living consciously and deliberately instead of by default
Now, if anyone felt uncomfortable reading this list of things I like about myself, I want you to ask yourself… Why? What is so bad about someone publicly exposing a list of things they like about themselves?