Humility is a strength; it is a superpower

In our egocentric consumer society humility is usually misunderstood and even defined in some dictionaries as being of low self-esteem, non-assertive, a weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The opposite to humility is arrogance, an empty, fragile egotistical state, which often manifests as pomposity, selfishness, and vanity. Arrogance has everything to do with ego; egos need to be right, to feel special, to feel better than others.

Arrogance is deeply destructive. It is the basis of fraud, dishonesty and corruption.

What isn’t humility? It isn’t bragging, putting yourself in the spotlight, seeking attention, believing that you are special or better than others.

In fact, one could describe humility as an ability to control our desire for attention, praise and approval from others.

Humility is to have an accurate perception of ourselves: our frailties, faults, and limitations. We accept them with an attitude of kindness to ourselves. Knowing all this, we are able to think well of ourselves.

Our culture is about consumption and feeding the ego. Social media is a temple to the essential emptiness of ego. It is all about self-aggrandizement, external accomplishments and appearance – all of which are make-believe, ephemeral and without intrinsic value.

Humility allows learning and change. It allows us to adopt the attitude “let everything be my teacher”, without a negative impact on our self-esteem. It opens us to curiosity, to new ideas, advice and criticism.

A great and unexpected benefit of humility is an inner freedom, as we do not have to waste time and energy trying to protect the parts that we try to hide from ourselves and others. In other words, we don’t waste time defending the ego. It’s not that we don’t have an ego (that would be absurd); it’s just that we don’t believe it.

Humility is the basis for a peaceful, stable, understanding and compassionate heart. Many studies have shown that humility is related to better relationships, better leadership, greater resilience, more tolerance, good self-esteem, a greater sense of gratitude and an improved ability to forgive.

It also is related to better physical health.

 

Beware of false humility. That is, making a show of humility for gain, to manipulate. The ego will try to harness everything for itself.

So how do we develop humility?

Embrace your humanness: To be human is to suffer, to be imperfect, to make mistakes. We can feel terribly isolated especially when things go wrong. In these moments it is critically important to remember that all humans suffer, all are imperfect and all make mistakes. You are no different, so fully embrace your humanness. When you fail at a task or you simply do not live up to expectations, it does not mean that there is something wrong with you; it simply confirms that you are human.

Practice mindful meditation and mindful attention: Before we change anything, we must be aware of where we are and what changes we want to make. I know of no better way to do this than the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness allows us to step out of our mindless autopilot. We notice our feelings and thoughts without judgement. We observe the crazy parts of ourselves with kindness and understanding. We are able to let go of limiting beliefs and behaviour.

Be kind to yourself: Learning and change are much more effective when our motivation comes from a place of love rather than harshness.

Practice gratitude: Gratitude for the great and improbable miracle of being here, alive, conscious; with the ability to connect, to appreciate. Gratitude for the gifts and good fortune in your life, but also for the difficult times which made you grow, for the people in your life. Express gratitude towards others.

Get out into nature: experience the wonder, the unfathomable mystery of being here, the stars, the trees, the mountains, the sea. For me there is nothing quite as effective as nature for giving me perspective and a sense of humility and joy.

Peace health and happiness from Finca Las Bardas

 

 

 

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