Modesty . . . in Actions


All modesty threads are pretty much the same. There’s a lot of bickering and the discussion never goes anywhere. There are, however, a few people every thread who point out that modesty is not solely about clothing. It is also about how one acts. Unfortunately, this point never gets elaborated on. Let’s do that now and skip over all the clothing related unpleasantness. I envision this as being more positive than a standard modesty thread being it will be less about what certain people can’t do and who’s is responsible for whose sin, and more about how all of us (men and women alike) can improve ourselves. I know that it wouldn’t hurt me to work on a few of these things.

Here are a couple of way that I thought of how someone could be modest in his actions:
*]Put others first.
*]Give credit where credit is due
*]When others do nice things for you, say “thank you” and mean it
*]When you do something wrong, say “I’m sorry” and mean it
*]Give others the benefit of the doubt
*]Listen to people you disagree with and take the time to understand why they think what they think
Anybody have any more ideas?

Just to be clear . . .
This thread is not about clothing. Talk of clothing will be off topic. Being off topic is rude and being rude is immodest. Don’t talk about clothing.**


The word that comes to minds when I read your examples is humility. I think there is similarity and crossover with the words modesty and humility but there are distinctions, too. If you can describe those distinctions or if they can be discussed it would help. I have some ideas but keep thinking the word humility is a better fit.


I don’t know if this fits but…

Do kind, generous things for others without drawing attention to what you have done.

Nothing seems more self-serving and immodest to me than when someone talks about all of the things they do for others. Ick. Kind of like they are bragging about their holiness, which kind of zeros it out, in my opinion.


Thank you for starting this thread, Gia. I have often thought that those so focused on modesty in clothing have hijacked the actual meaning of the word “modest”. Before I saw all those modesty threads, I always viewed modesty as humility, as per this Google definition:

**1. unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities or achievements.

“he was a very modest man, refusing to take any credit for the enterprise”


self-effacing, self-deprecating, humble, unpretentious, unassuming, unpresuming, unostentatious, unshowy, unflashy;
shy, bashful, self-conscious, diffident, reserved, reticent, coy

“she was modest about her poetry” **

I think the main way we can be modest in our actions is by not drawing attention to our accomplishments or talents.


Peace and all Good!!

Yeah, it great to see a thread where the wider meaning of modesty is being discussed & not just focussing (sometimes way too much) on 1 aspect, even if it is important


Yes I agree.
Would add to the list:
Not interrupting or making it obvious that you can’t wait to speak (a fault of mine!):frowning:
God bless you


What you are discussing is humility, not modesty. God bless you.


Could the two of you (and all who are of a similar opinion) be a bit more constructive than that? You both obviously have different definitions than I do, but you don’t offer any further explanation. Bruised Reed, you say that you see distinctions between the two concepts, but then you ask me to describe the differences. You’re the one who sees them, not me, so you’re the better person to tell all of us what they are.


pushes up her nerd glasses

The definition of modest is “unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities or achievements.” “Humble” is given as a synonym; it’s really another term for humility. “Humility” is defined as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.”

So really, we’re talking about the same thing. Or should be. :slight_smile:

As for modesty in action, I’ve found that St. Therese of Lisieux has a lot of great things to say about modesty/humility. Very hard to put into practice! But her “little way” to me is all about personal modesty, and I strive to be better at it every day.


It is called etiquette or proper manners.

Here’s a good book:

I was always taught to address your elders as Mister or Missus. To address strangers as sir or ma’am, or miss. To say please and thank you.



I was going to get into how modesty is mentioned in the CCC in regards to the 9th commandment and humility is mentioned in regards to the 10th, but I’m just going to go with etiquette.


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