Modern society amply rewards beauty, charisma, intelligence, wealth, power, and rank. Humility?…not so much. Humility is rarely talked of and even more rarely demonstrated. A humble person is likely to be ignored, pushed aside in favor of proud, self-promoting people.
We are not humble by nature. Pride springs unbidden in our hearts. Our very nature breeds self-centeredness. We seek recognition and praise.
We have few role models in humility. Moreover, for many, humility and meekness are signs of weakness. Society’s unspoken etiquette requires a showing of humility in certain situations, but not the reality of it.
Humility is to forget oneself, to serve others, AND to have proper motives. As we turn from our own selfish concerns to the needs of others, we will do the right thing for the right reasons.
• maintain their image at all costs
• obsess about their appearance
• are motivated by recognition and praise
• often talk and don’t listen
• argue with others
• refuse to concede that someone else may be right
• cause contention
• are defensive and take offense easily
• won’t accept criticism or correction
• can’t show weakness or lack of knowledge
• never or rarely apologize
• avoid blame and fix blame on others
• must be right, and must be seen to be right
• protect themselves from criticism, yet are highly critical of others
• try to put their enemies or competitors in a bad light
• spread gossip and rumor
• put others down so they can get ahead
• resist changing; blind to their own flaws
• indulge their moods; can be irritable and grouchy
• carry grudges
• indulge their anger
• are often sardonic and negative
• are open and honest
• admit their flaws
• are authentic and genuine
• listen well
• respect different points of view
• are open-minded
• acknowledge there is much to learn from others
• support good ideas regardless of their source
• treat their political opinions as merely opinions rather than as revealed truth
• avoid contention
• invite counsel and correction and don’t take offense
• apologize easily and often
• work with others to correct problems in a positive manner, rather than blame others
• do not judge others
• give everyone the benefit of the doubt
• are patient
• readily apologize to those they hurt or offend
• refuse to speak about others behind their backs
• do not criticize others
• build people up and say only positive things about others
• are happy for others’ successes.
• invite counsel
• seek to learn and grow, no matter how old they are or how senior they are in a job or position, no matter their rank.
• express warmth, approval, and affection
• are cheerful and create a positive atmosphere
• take responsibility for their moods and feelings
• don’t complain
There are many people who are humble. They deserve our admiration and respect.
Embracing humility can have its costs: The humble are often misunderstood and seen as weak and are wrongfully criticized, and others may take advantage of their unwillingness to strike back or to sue. They are often overlooked. Humility will cost you something; perhaps it will be money, a business advantage, a promotion. Humility will likely bruise your ego and definitely cost you your pride.
I hope we can rediscover the virtue of humility.