Defeating 'Little Old Me' Syndrome

As women, we are sometimes afflicted by what I call the "little old me" syndrome. We describe ourselves with self-deprecating phrases that always start "I'm just …" When someone asks, What do you do?" we say, "I just stay home with the kids." When talking about our involvement at school or church, we say, "I'm just a volunteer." Are we being humble, or do we see those roles as less worthy somehow?

Have you ever met a woman who is essentially a partner in her husband's business? And yet if you ask what she does, she'll say, "Oh, I just help my husband with his company. I just keep the books." No offense to men, but if you asked a man who was doing that same job what he does, he would most likely reply, "I'm chief financial officer of a privately held company." As well he should. Most men, even if they struggle with self-esteem, have been conditioned to present bravado. They rarely say, "Oh, I just …" anything. Learn from your brothers. Your playing small does not serve the world.

While humility is a virtue, we sometimes quash our potential by thinking humility means avoiding accomplishments. Humility is not avoiding accomplishments. Rather humility is not thinking too highly of yourself, even though you have accomplished much. It's using those accomplishments to bless others and glorify God rather than self, and calling forth the best in others.