Monday, July 9, 2018


‘I am a novice compared to others in the room.’

‘I am way behind the worthy elders in the hall.’

‘I am lesser to the greater personalities around me.’

So often people over express their deference whilst reciting a poem, delivering a speech, suggesting an idea or performing in the presence of relatively senior persons. Some may be faking humility. Some are preparing ground to avoid being judged critically. Some are dropping their confidence. Some are playing it as reverence.

Deference is a position of surrender often leading to passivity. The state of submitting to the espoused influence of one's superior, often leads yielding to restrictive judgement of capacity and competency. While it is good to express reverence to the ones we respect, over deference is no good!

Deference will be oft seen by the others, as well as by the self, as a confirmation of inability. Deference cannot be confused with humility or respect for others. It may be a cunning act or a reflection of low self-esteem or just a cultural habit that believes that being submissive is of greater glory than being assertive.

Many wrongly feel that deference is the opposite of aggressive pride. Hence they choose submission instead of aggression. But it is pertinent to note that positive assertiveness is the right choice instead of needless deference. We can retain humility, modesty and respectfulness while being firmly assertive.

Modesty is a virtue… as is reverence
But a bane is unnecessary deference!

~ Pravin Sabnis

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