The humble brag about a humble brag that isn’t supposed to be a humble brag

This already got complicated.

The problem with humility is that when it becomes public, there is a very strong likelihood that it turns on itself. Humility in the limelight? Heaven forbid, that’s nonsensical! Oil and water, attention and humility. Hence, the long-winded title of this post.

Right, back to the post.

Zip team building

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My team at Kiva had an off-site team-building day last week. We stopped by a few businesses who have benefited from the 0%-interest loans that Kiva Zip and crowdsourcing provide. The day ended at Abbotts Lagoon in Point Reyes.

I have never been to Point Reyes. It was stunning. Also, this is not the humble brag.

In a team-building discussion, one of my managers paid me a very high compliment.

“She is so humble, when she has every right not to be.”

I heard this and felt two emotions:

1) Gratitude

2) Guilt

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I have a lot of experience. Well, a decent amount. I’ve worked for years in a unique field that requires communication, aptitude at learning and a tolerance for pressure and deadlines,

The last month, however, I have felt incompetent more than I would like to admit. I have been absent from many friends’ and family members’ lives because I felt like I was fighting to simply keep my head above water hour by hour. I have felt panic – sheer panic – multiple times since starting my internship at Kiva. I found myself constantly checking my email to ensure there wasn’t a task I had left undone, then realizing there was always something I could be working on.

While my manager meant his words as a compliment, he touched on something in my heart that I knew I had to articulate.

As someone who has “succeeded” in the worldly sense of the word throughout most of her life, these four weeks have humbled me. It wasn’t that I needed to be acknowledged for my display of humility. I needed to acknowledge my need for it.

While it is odd to share about one’s failings, I’m not the first to find this contrary belief the path to freedom.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

Once I did, the panic subsided. The incompetence shaken off, bit by bit. Now I know: I am humble.