I recently watched one of those human tragedy type shows where mothers (and reluctant fathers) put their daughters through the pageant experience at age 6, or whatever.  You know the ones I'm talking about, very JonBenet, where the little girls get tarted up with make-up and are made to sing and dance and get crowned for how cute they are.  The kind that reinforces that girls must be beautiful in order to count.

So.  I was watching this show the way one can't help but stare at the car wreck on the side of the road.  Like, seriously, you have your six-year-old daughter do a Pretty Woman routine?  As in, HOOKER?  But there was one mother/daughter in particular that grabbed my attention.  Of course, they were the prime example of pageant life gone wrong, the mother over-intense, the daughter trying so hard, SO HARD to be perfect for her mother.  And the mother was being critical of everything the girl did, and really stressing to the girl how she had to be even better than perfect.  And there was obviously some issues here, because I think the mother didn't realize that they were two separate people, that the stress she was putting on her daughter was clearly the stress that she was putting on herself, and the daughter was just an external representation of all of this.

It all became clear to me in one little moment.  When, after the mother was going on and on about how things were not good enough, she said, "At least we're humble".

At least we are humble.

Of course, the first thing that went off in my head was, you criticizing your daughter does not make you humble.  That would be if she were criticizing herself.  Or you were criticizing yourself.

But lets stop there.  Because when did we get humility and self-judgment confused?  We are taught that we are supposed to be humble, and I think that is sabotaging us.  Because so often we think that if we are being mean to ourselves, that at least we are humble.  At least we don't think we are any better than any body else.  So in some odd way, thinking that we are bad proves that we are good.

But all that we are really doing, in this version of "humility", is taking a dump on ourselves.  Seriously.  We are just taking a big ol' squat over our hearts, and saying that we are ugly inside.  And really, is that getting you anywhere?  Because let me tell you, it is getting me nowhere fast.

To think that you have to think less of yourself in order to be a good person is a bunch of crap.

I have my own version of what humility means.  In my version of humility, we see our true inner beauty, not the garish made-up beauty of those pageants.  We see the true light shining within, which exceeds our physical form.  To me, humility means acknowledging our true power, and our true ability to do, be, and create whatever we desire.  And looking around at everyone else, and knowing that they have a beauty and power within them that is just as beautiful as the one within ourselves.  Humility means to me, acknowledging that I am a powerful, beautiful, wonderful being.  And so are you.

And so are you.

If someone sees the beautiful light that you are, and your response is "oh, I'm horrible, I'm not that great, I'm nobody", the only thing that you are sharing with the world is this idea that we are not supposed to believe in ourselves.  That it is somehow wrong and bad to embrace our unique way of bringing ourselves into the world.  That it is somehow wrong to take joy in what you have created, in what you have to give, in who you are, in your particular flavor of gifts to share with the world.  In who you have become.

But to take joy in who you are is to show others that they too have a beauty within them that is a gift to be shared with the world.

Looked at it that way, loving yourself and being kind to yourself is a gift that teaches others how to love and be kind to themselves.

Know that you are powerful and wonderful.  And so am I.  And so is she.  And so is he.  And so are we all.

Go on.  Show people what is possible.  That we all deserve to live in castles.  Or gardens.  Or magical tree houses.

In other words, stop shitting on yourself.  There is nothing spiritual or honorable about living in a sewer.