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False Humility


Have you ever worked with or been around someone who constantly apologized for almost everything?  They offer great suggestions. They offer great ideas.  They offer great advice.  But "sorry" seems to come along with everything.  If you're a bit confused (like me!) in these situations...deep breath...that's totally natural.

This was an issue for one of my colleagues.  The barrage of apologies would disrupt the whole flow of work when they happened...and they happened a lot! Several of us tried to provide reassurance of his value and how much we appreciated his thoughts & ideas.  But he persisted.  It bothered me that it seemed like he thought very little of himself compared to others but his actions didn't back that up.  After much digging & some sage advice from a mentor, we found false humility.

So, what's really going on here?

First, let's check out what Psychology Today published from Aqualus Gordon, Ph.D. on the inferiority complex.

False Humility: Why your feelings of inferiority are really all about you.

Second, this article says false humility might actually be pride in disguise.

4 Ways to Overcome the Danger of False Humility

  • Have an Attitude of Gratitude
  • Hold Power and Position Lightly
  • Accept Praise Graciously & Authentically
  • Focus on Serving Others

Experience this situation before?  My brother recently told me about a guy who reaches out to him on occasion and brags about how humble he is.  Here's a bit on the subtle nuance of the humblebrag.

HUMBLEBRAG - The Psychology of False Humility


*Picture from Vox

No matter if it's a complag or a bragplaint or a humblebrag's probably all just a waste of time.  When you can look back at the end of each day and can say you've done your are enough!


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