Thursday, November 29, 2007

Humility vs. Self confidence

Hi Blogger.

Someday I'm going to compose, edit, and publish a post well before midnight instead of rushing to get a post written because must! post! every! day!

I want to write a coherent post about this, probably tomorrow while sitting in an airport, so until then, consider this an abstract.

Tonight I ambushed enthusiastically greeted my almost-roommate-turned-Dominican-nun at the Center for Ethics and Culture's annual conference. She and a few other sisters came down from Michigan for tonight and tomorrow. It's incredible how much she has changed in the six months since I saw her last. She used to be loud, joyful, and exuberant, with many adorable expressions like "keep it real, yo." Now, she's just as joyful, but it's contained within a disciplined and obedient exterior. She speaks with a soft voice and with the utmost politeness. In short, she's a nun. It's like she's aged ten years and gained maturity and humility overnight. She's still her- but she's also so different.

This experience, while wonderful, got me thinking. I have been raised under the ideology that the best women- the women who should be idolized- are spectacular. They are famous, brilliant, and altogether amazing. They stand out. We are taught to fight anyone who tells you to obey (as an adult) or take a backseat to an authority figure. Young women (especially those in college) are encouraged to be the very best- screw what men expect of you. It's pretty much opposed to humility, because your entire life you're taught to be proud of the incredible person you are. So which is right? Is the ideal woman Marian, humble, obedient, subservient? Or is she proud, fabulous, and influential?

These questions were thrown in stark contrast by my meeting with Sr. Kristin, whose changed demeanor naturally made me cringe. Tonight I'll just leave you with the questions- I'll try to post my thoughts tomorrow (from Birmingham!).


  1. Good questions Laura. I know what you mean. And Kristin has changed, yes.

    I don't think there's necessarily a conflict between humility and self the very least, taking a note from the lecture and conference, they should be in dialogue.

    You're right, the world tells us today to be out there and to stand out. But who's to say that the humble woman won't stand out?

    The ideal woman is Marian. Yes she's humble, obedient, subservient to God...but come on, Mary's the queen of Heaven and Earth, she's the most fabulous woman ever! She's joyful, exuberant, she stands out, she's the most famous of all, and altogether amazing.

    She gave her unconditional 'yes' to God, but don't forget when she wanted something she got her way (re: the wedding feast at Cana)

    So as women in this world what do we do? I think we're meant to encourage that dialogue between humility and self confidence, and we're meant to look to our Lady in doing so. There are a fantastic number of women saints who exemplify this.

    ...anyways, I look forward to your next post. Hope the airport's not too bad


  2. Laura,

    Good post and questions. It really seems, but to quite few though very wise people - like the saints - , that the most free and dignified people are those who obey ... the will of God.

  3. Mary Liz- Good points, I hadn't thought about it that way :-)

    Vlastimil- Thanks for reading! Are you a friend of Trent's? I saw on your blogger profile that you write on a blog with him.

  4. I went back to read a couple of your posts I missed, and this one really struck home as last evening I received a dose of humility vs. self confidence. I agree with Mary Liz. Which is right you ask? The questions seem more like humility vs. pride.

    Pride is self confidence perverted. Self confidence goes hand in hand with humility. We have self confidence more like grace from God to be appropriate when dealt a bad hand. What does humility require, the ideal woman or person, and again we look to the saints for this, seems to be living up to the gifts God has given you and always striving to become better - closer to God and let him guide. Never complacent in self because of self. Giving praise always to God for one's abilities and the courage or quiet to do what is called for. These things lead us to authenticity and in that we might see that being loud does not have to be prideful and being quiet doesn't mean you go without being noted.

  5. Laura,

    I've never met Trent, though I like him and his thoughts. The blog is already out of date and dead. Thanks a lot for your reply about the expenses of the Church.