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How Toxic Modesty Keeps Us Small

Have you watched the Great British Bake-Off on Netflix?  I am obsessed with this competition baking show. 

I just finished season two where we met Ruby, a nineteen-year-old college student and amateur baker. 

Ruby was a fascinating character because she was talented but had an extremely damaging habit.  Every time she brought her bake to the judges, Ruby immediately pointed out every flaw.  She would hang her head in defeat before the judges had a chance to taste her dish.

The judges told her time and time again to allow them to judge for themselves.  And time after time Ruby would set down her dish and proceed to describe all the things that went wrong.

In the beginning, Ruby’s self-deprecation was endearing.  I wanted to give her a hug and offer words of encouragement.  But as the episodes aired and Ruby continued to put herself down week after week, her behavior became a frustrating example of self-sabotage.  I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop criticizing herself. 

Women are expected to exhibit modesty.  We should not be too proud of our accomplishments.  We should not be boastful or showy.  But too much modesty becomes toxic.  Too much modesty holds us back from being our whole, authentic selves. 

Toxic modesty keeps us small.

It is time for women to shed this toxic modesty and become thoughtfully selfish.  It is time we give ourselves permission to:

- be confident in our abilities.
- use our voices and speak our minds
- make the best decisions for us
- manage our time strategically
- uphold our beliefs and values
- maintain our healthy habits
- spend our money purposefully
- conserve our energy
- plan our goals
- protect our resources

We can often identify when others are holding us back.  It is important to be aware of when we are holding ourselves back from living an extraordinary life.

How are you holding yourself back?  What can you do to embrace your power and live larger today?


Hey there, I’m a confidence coach helping stressed-out people pleasers clarify personal priorities, create healthy boundaries, and say NO with confidence.  If you like this, you can grab my most popular free resource, The People Pleaser's Toolkit, and read more helpful posts at: www.naomiyaw.com