Modesty =/= Humility
"Modesty is good. But not when it comes at the cost of honesty."
- Kangana Ranaut (Actress)
I think the dictionary has it wrong.
The words Modesty and Humility are considered synonyms. I don't agree.
Modesty has two usages. One refers to the nature of an individual's clothing. The other to the way they present their achievements. On the surface, these can seem very different. However, I think if you dig into the meaning of the first usage, you find the truth.
Modesty, as it refers to one's dress, is the original usage of the word. When we talk about clothing ourselves modestly, what we're really talking about is covering our physical virtues. Why do we need to hide our attributes from the world? We do it to avoid causing uncomfortable feelings in ourselves and others. This is effectively the same as the alternate usage of modesty, where we are hiding our achievements or abilities.
In the modern world, modesty is often used as a justification for diffidence. We like to think we're being humble when we are actually being modest. I feel, in most cases, it actually shows shyness and a lack of self-confidence.
I think a more apt synonym for humility is honesty. The truly honest person can talk about their achievements without being boastful or bragging. They are happy to honestly talk about their victories as well as their defeats. In my opinion, honesty tempers pride and turns it into humility.
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