I find humility to be an interesting attribute because, if you think you have it, you almost certainly don’t. It’s one of those things that others notice about someone else while the person in question generally remains oblivious.
The thing about humility is that you don’t become humble by trying to be humble. You become humble by taking the focus off yourself. That’s easier said than done because most people like attention whether they admit it or not. I’m not saying attention is bad, in and of itself… it’s how you handle it. I think that’s why the more attractive, charismatic, famous or popular a person is, the more difficult it is for them to be humble.
It takes tremendous discipline to not believe your own press.
I am a huge C.S. Lewis fan. He had the gift of clarity. So, not surprisingly, I love his definition of humility.
He expands that definition to include this truth…
“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
Humility always looks up.
I don’t know about you but I’ve met lots of nice, kind and/or caring people. But I’ve rarely met truly humble people. Humble people touch your life in a deep and unique way. You don’t forget them. It’s also not unusual to find that humble people have experienced deep hardship, failure and/or loss in their lives.
Humility is often born from great difficulty.
I want to be humble. I want to stand out from the rest because of who I am as a person. I want to be secure in who I am as a person but not focused on myself. I want to give more than I take. I want to be the opposite of self-centred, selfish, and egocentric. I don’t want pride in my life. I want my life to reflect Jesus, the most humble – and only perfect – person to ever walk the face of the earth.
According to Mother Teresa – an extraordinary example of humility – these are a few of the ways we can practice being humble:
Speak as little as possible about one’s self.
Mind one’s own business.
Don’t desire to manage other people’s affairs.
Accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
Pass over the mistakes of others.
Accept insults and injuries.
Accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
Be kind and gentle even under provocation.
Never stand on one’s dignity.
Always choose the hardest.
The bad news?
I realize just how far I am from being humble.
The good news?
That realization may well be the seeds of humility.