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Thoughts on Humility

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This will involve a paradigm shift for most people. This idea is certainly a shift for me. I, like most people I know, have always been aware of the importance of humility. Although humility is sometimes difficult to achieve or maintain, it is critical to peaceful living. Unfortunately most people believe in order to be humble we must put ourselves down. The idea behind this concept is to deflate the ego.

I agree that too much pride can be extremely destructive. I have certainly made many mistakes as a result of holding on to too much of it. However, to believe humiliation is the key to humility is an unfortunate mistake. Many are taught to be hard on themselves and gentle to others. I understand the idea behind this philosophy, but I completely disagree.

Kindness creates kindness. When I attempt to practice humility through self -deprecation, being kind to others becomes an act of desperation. This desperation is due to the need for any positive interaction. The problem is the humility seems false and the other person feels used. It may not be obvious but this has a tremendously negative effect on all relationships.

Seeing your own positive characteristics does not make you vain. What makes someone vain, or inappropriately prideful, is when the actions do not match the internal beliefs. In other words, if I am attempting to convince the world of what a good person I am but internally I am constantly judging others, I will come across as arrogant and prideful.

Listening to the positive feedback you receive from people will strengthen your character. Many believe that “reading your own press clippings” will create inevitable self-destruction.” It is important to hear positive feedback. The problem occurs when someone feels they have earned praise dishonestly or through means of manipulation. There are many simple ways to achieve and maintain humility. Here are a few:

  • Be honest in all situations
  • Be genuinely you
  • Seek feedback as often as possible
  • Respond to the feedback you receive, positive or negative
  • Be vulnerable so you connect with others 

All of these steps are simple and can be practiced daily. Do your best to be exactly who you are today. When this is the case, humility comes naturally.

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