Great Explanation of Modesty

I was skimming over a blog about the misguided (read: idiotically stupid) self-esteem movement of the late ’80s. The author is discussing the unfortunate consequences of this nonsense and the damage it has done to our children, etc. etc. In the middle of it, she offers a one line about modesty that I think is absolutely brilliant. It encapsulates what to me is the core meaning of modesty better than anything else I’ve ever read:

“Modesty is not shame but decorum. Humility is not self-abasement but respect.” — Anneli Rufus

As a polytheist, modesty is very important to me as part of right behavior and right relationship with my Gods. I really found this description particularly helpful in describing the core of a concept that seems to always evoke heated debate from various contingents.

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at

Posted on December 14, 2014, in Polytheism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Indeed- that is real modesty- I do not see it as the automatically the same as slut-shaming (as some of your critics have claimed) it’s not just about dress and sexuality, it’s people of any gender and so forth. Among a lot of pagans, self-expression seems to be the highest value. It’s like yes you have the “right” to do/say/wear that, but not in any setting, and even if you are allowed to, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. I can respect someone on a basic moral level as a human being, while not respecting them based on their behavior.

    As for self-esteem, what matters more is a basic concept of self-worth. “Self-esteem” that is propped up artificially is more fragile than if someone hadn’t set up a special program in the first place. I think hyper-competitiveness in our society can be unhealthy, but taking it to the opposite extreme of “everyone gets an A for effort!” ill-prepares kids for life. (Also, as an albeit older Millennial (born 1982) I have to add that almost everything they say about my generation, they’ve been saying about every previous generation!)


  2. I love it when one of my college students writes to me, after not getting an A because they don’t know how to construct a sentence grammatically or spell anything correctly, and they berate me for not giving them an A, and mis-spell what they’ve asked in the e-mail…

    It’s the “trophies for all” generation run amuck…


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