• The Muse

Round Table Discussions: A short conversation about Modesty Vs. Humility

Chair One: Whats the difference?

Are humility and modesty the same? Are they different? Is humility a strength or a weakness? Can either of these traits provide a depth to your characters? Why? Why not?


Chair Two: Wow! This is a great concept challenge.

The striking difference I use to separate them is the concept of a "lesson learned." While what I say is not explicitly "true" or "fact" and is fully debatable, I am merely stating how I use them when Storytelling. I allow modesty to exist without a prior force to create it as opposed to applying humility (almost as a predicate) to a moral learned from experience.

When my character goes through something that stomps his image, forcing him to shut his mouth and think twice...that rough moment of silence, that excruciating change to shyness from conceit, literally defines the humility he is experiencing by experiencing the moral of his /her tale.


I position modesty as a prefix and sometimes as a subject to the long "sentence" to my story. I will create a neutral character and make them modest in want and safe with decisions, just before I present riches to his/her life.


Right after the corruption, abuse and actions of vice...comes the sorrowful fall back to reality and the reflection into "What the heck happened?"

That hurt from the journey, opens the door to defining humility. This also allows a contrast between these two "word-brothers. "


Chair One:

One of the main differences between modesty and humility is that modesty is being aware of ones limitations and flaws. Modesty keeps from having an over inflated view of ourselves.

Humility does not require this. Humility takes strength and massive amounts of self control. To be Humble, you have to be strong enough to ignore insults to your person, your integrity, your personal being in general.


Humility is NOT a weakness. It is strength of character.


Chair Two:

Sheesh...the way you describe it is so...rough. I don't know about the "ignoring insult to my person, integrity and being" stuff. It doesn't rub me well. I understand that humility, technically, is a level of submissiveness and all about knowing your place, but...there is something called 'Dignity' and that is the call within, that makes one stand strong against those very same crossings.


In the aspect of faith, religion and belief I think you hit the nail on the head with this being a character strength, because I don't know many people (especially nowadays) that can accept what you have described.


This is the "ME generation" and ignoring insults just won't hold up against the convenience to posting a quick, rude rebuttal.


I tried humility once...then I took Echinacea to make it go away.


Chair One:

*Rolls eyes at Chair Two*

Humility IS dignified.

People who manifest TRUE humility have a strong sense of dignity, both in how they feel about themselves and how they view others. Humility is that which they manifest to bring themselves to another level. The original Greek word for humility gives the connotation of a father stooping on bended knee to listen to the cares and concerns of his child.


Humility is NOT submission.


Chair Three:

Modest describes the personality trait or behavior of not flaunting oneself, talking oneself up or putting oneself on display. Modest behavior can be a response to compliments, praise or follow an achievement. Modesty can also be manifested physically (for example, "dressing modestly," "Modest accessories," "modest smile.")


In contrast, "humble" refers specifically to a person's inner state and feelings. A humble person is willing to accept or respect another's authority, intellect and wisdom or superiority without trying to challenge it or trying to assert oneself.


In summery, being modest refers to your behavior, being humble refers to your ego.


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