“We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.”– Rabindranath Tagore
Humility is a funny thing. In fact, my grandfather used to tell us that he won a medal for his humility, but it was taken away when he began to wear it.
It seems like an increasingly rare trait these days and a difficult characteristic to emulate.
But what is it? What does it mean to be humble?
Humility is the act of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive.
It is the opposite of aggression, arrogance, pride, and vanity.
On the surface, it appears to empty its holder of all power. But on the contrary, it grants enormous power to its owner.
It offers its owner complete freedom from the desire to impress, be right, or get ahead. Frustrations and losses have less impact, and a humble person confidently receives the opportunity to grow, improve, and reject society‘s labels. A humble life results in contentment, patience, forgiveness, and compassion.
How to Be Humble
Understand individual limitations
Humans, by definition, are finite and thus, limited in our understanding. Our talents are different, our minds are different, and our experiences vary from one another.
Individually, we comprehend only a small, unique fraction of the world. But together, we arrive at a far-grander view of the Universe. Humble people realize their understanding is limited and embrace it. As a result, they wisely look for answers outside of themselves.
All human life carries inherent value. Our souls hold no more value or importance than the person sitting next to us, no matter where we may be sitting.
A humble person appreciates the fact that the world does not revolve around him or her. And accepts their position as just a tiny piece in the giant puzzle.
Respect others and their opinions
Just because an opinion is different doesn’t mean it is wrong. Please don’t misunderstand me, the opposing opinion may be wrong (there are countless either/or arguments where both sides can’t be right). I’m only saying that it is not wrong just because it is different… and that is a far better place to begin the dialogue.
Listen more and speak less
It spends more time understanding… and less time being understood.
Humble people don’t just nod along and wait for their turn to talk. Instead, they actively listen and stay present, engaged in the conversation. They ask questions and don’t mind letting the person they’re speaking to feel good about themselves.
Withhold judgments over intentions as much as possible
The quickest way to win an argument in your mind is to make sweeping judgments concerning the intentions of others. It is the easiest way to discount any valid, opposing argument. It is also one of the most damaging. In fact, in my opinion, it is one of the primary reasons that humility has completely vanished from our political discourse.
Being humble allows you to practice putting yourself in their shoes and to see where another person is coming from. You don’t seek to win. You seek to come to understand others better.
Help others and promote others
Joy is not found in being right and arriving at the top. Instead, joy is found in helping others grow and succeed. Humility realizes that in those cases, both win.
Humility always begins in our hearts. As a result, it offers significant control over attitude, outlook, and actions. It has nothing to prove, but everything to offer.
Have you met someone who exudes the above traits?
If you know someone who this article describes perfectly, spend more time with them and learn to emulate these qualities.