Whenever I thought of the word “humility”, I used to think that it describes someone who is downcast and whose frame is stooped low to show he is just a nobody and good for nothing human being.
But when I read a C. S. Lewis quote on humility where he said – “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. – I thought wow what a statement!
Every one of us is created in a unique way and we have distinctive abilities – no two people are alike in thoughts, words and deeds. So to think of ‘yourself less’ is not to degrade or reduce your self-worth to nothing, but to think of others “better than yourself”.
- I had a boss who said with pride “I am the best boss in the world” and so he would treat all of his subordinates and even his superiors as rubbish. He was this ‘I know it all’ kind of a leader. He would backbite about almost everyone not even sparing his wife, and in his words reduce them to nothing. In a period of a few months he was terminated, as he was found guilty of fraud in the company’s business dealings.
There is always something lacking in you that others have! Be it intelligence, understanding, love, compassion, proficiency, tolerance, perseverance, self-control, faithfulness, goodness and meekness.
- For instance, if you are excellent in intelligence but lacking faithfulness in your marriage, be humble to appreciate the ones who are faithful and consider learning from them as this virtue brings joy and happiness in a relationship. Do likewise for other qualities too.
- Abraham Lincoln described humility in this way – not arrogant, haughty or conceited; unpretentious and unassuming; modest, courteous, respectful, teachable and selfless. Lincoln’s example of strong but gentle leadership has been studied and applauded for generations.
I began thinking as to whether I was guilty of any of these and I found the answer to be ‘yes, to more than one’.
- One day my pride took a hit when I thought I could do it better than others and did not need any advice or training. When the actual test questions came in, they caught me by surprise and I felt mildly hysterical, in shock, bewildered and embarrassed.
On the other hand, my friend, who was so unassuming and down to earth, excelled!
This experience humbled me and I guess it was a lesson in order for me to learn the virtue of humility. Many people do not like it when you blow your own horn, no matter how smart, successful, good-looking and how special you are.
Arrogance is always disliked.
- Hugh Jackman, the actor just turned in an incredible performance as Jean Valjean in the movie version of the musical Les Miserables. While many actors and celebrities are arrogant, Hugh’s humility shines through in interviews, as he speaks of how grateful he is for this opportunity, how hard the role was, and how great it was to work with amazing people.
- The star of the basketball team could score a tremendous amount of baskets in any given game, but instead he takes lots of opportunities to pass the ball to his teammates so they can try to score as well. This shows the athlete’s humility.
- Even though Kate Middleton married into British royalty, she still likes to do her own grocery shopping and cooking. She is humble enough to take care of her own chores, even though she has people to aid her in her responsibilities.
Some quotes on humility:
- When you’re as great as I am, it’s hard to be humble ~ Muhammad Ali
- Pride makes us artificial, humility makes us real ~ Thomas Merton
- The bible talks about Jesus as “being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” Philippians Chapter 2, verse 8.
In the Bible, we observe that Jesus modeled humility and humility ~ is acknowledged as this ~ that by ourselves we are inadequate and without value. It is only because we are created in God’s image that we have immeasurable value and dignity.
Therefore, humility has its roots in the understanding of “Who we are” and “Whose we are”; when we get this, it produces a whole lot of gratitude in us.
- A sinner needs to be condemned ~ and that’s what & who we are!
- But we are intentionally created by an omnipotent God who made us in His own image and then loved us so much that He gave His life for us ~ proves that we are of “great value”!
We are all greatly prized:
Humility is realizing the importance of others. It is not putting yourself down and under, but lifting others up ~ like saying “If I am considered precious to God then so are you”.
It’s really important to practice humility!
Fred Smith ~ “People with humility don’t deny their power, they just recognize that it passes through them, not from them”.
Let us take care to demonstrate humility that does not arise from lack of love, confidence, capability and self-image. But let it come from the fact of knowing who we are and whose we are.
This will permit us to trust and respect people as they are, with their strengths and weaknesses, and not to condemn and reject them.
- Humble people don’t insist on everything being done their way, they ask for help.
- Humble people are always attractive as they develop into better leaders and better persons. Those who are egocentric will be resisted.
- A humble person sees his/her own weaknesses and can readily admit to them; they are also quick to forgive.
- A humble person happily serves other people, and they don’t do it to be seen. They do it unto God, knowing their reward will come from God.
As we grow older we realize how important humility is!
It is not late to make changes to our attitude, though it may not change overnight, but as we trust in His grace we can begin to develop an attitude of humility and discover that life is so much happier and peaceful without pride!
So happy humility!