21 - Humility
Humility is recognizing and acknowledging the people and factors that have shaped and influenced your life. Give credit where credit is due. Humility creates a desire to admit where and when you are wrong and realize your way is not the only way. It causes you to think of yourself less often and put the needs of others in front of your own. While today’s culture may display otherwise, humility is one of the most important elements of true success. You show an appreciation of where you came from, an understanding of the many contributions that have led to your success, and an acknowledgment of each.
Characteristics of Humility:
- Appreciation. You have not reached where you are in life right now without the help of others. Your parents or guardians have supported your nourishment, instruction, and opportunities, among other things. Teachers have guided, educated, and inspired you. Friends and coworkers have supported, helped, and encouraged you. And many others have contributed valuable resources and time as well. Show appreciation to every contributor in your life, and pay forward to others in response to the wonderful attributes shown to you. Respond in gratitude at every opportunity for all the love and support provided. And, of course, thank God for all He has provided.
- Acknowledgment. Acknowledge the help, support, and guidance from others. Sometimes that is the most effective form of appreciation, to let others shine for their attributes or even just on a personal level. When they know you are aware of their contribution and show the relevance of it by personally making it known, they will feel the appreciation you regard.
- Wisdom. Wise people are humble people. Be one of them and display humility in all circumstances. Especially in your victories or successes, be unassuming and down-to-earth. You will see that with this demeanor comes a more likable nature. And it is also common sense to know you didn’t get where you are without some form of contribution from an innumerable amount of people.
- Understanding. Embrace your humanity and realize you cannot perform perfectly in every endeavor you undertake. Realistically understand your limitations, yet acknowledge that your work is good, beneficial, and worthwhile. Failure only occurs if you quit trying. It is simply another way of not doing something. There are so many ways to accomplish a single goal. Open your mind to the possibilities. And understand the priceless effects of the assistance of others.
- Meekness. To be meek is to have the strength not to show a feeling of superiority or relevance. You do not need to be "showy." You are self-confident enough not to have to brag or talk yourself up. In other words, you do not display insecurity or need to "show off." Instead, you are secure with who you are, satisfied with what you have accomplished, and appreciate those who helped you along the way.
- Forgiveness. When it comes to forgiveness, humility will always need to be present. Whether you ask for forgiveness or offer your forgiveness, you must humble yourself in either circumstance. It involves "swallowing your pride" and letting go of the hurts or wrongs you have caused someone or that they have caused you. It is a brave and courageous endeavor to forgive or be forgiven. But a necessary act of love to partake in it. It results in freedom of your body, mind, and soul and a peace-filled surrender of negative energy.
- Subservience. When you are humble, you are not too proud to submit to someone else's authority. In this life, there is always a higher authority. We must all submit to someone…a parent, teacher, boss, elected official, leader of our country, God, and many more. It is a display of obedience and Biblical to be subservient to authority...but do not compromise your morals in doing so. Submission is also a sign of strength and self-control. It can be a difficult task requiring a high degree of self-discipline, but you must obey some form of authority. Humble yourself and serve others. We are called to serve others. You are especially called to serve those under your leadership as a leader. This type of service precedes a great leader.
- Respect. When you are humble, you show respect for yourself and others. You respect the gifts and abilities given to you and that others care enough about you to offer their resources to you. Respect the fact that they did not have to choose you to help or support, but they did. Respect their sacrifice and the gift of time, love, money, encouragement, advice, etc.
- Self-control. Humility takes extreme self-control not to compare or "one-up" someone else. When someone shares a positive event or accomplishment, they tend to want to present an example from their own life, either similar to the situation or result or perhaps even more extravagant. It is human nature. It takes disciplined self-control and a spirit of gentleness to listen to the other person’s story, fully and presently, and share in their joy or grief. Avoid the tendency to revert the conversation back to yourself. Exercise self-control and allow the other person to own that moment. Later when the time is right, you can share your own experience, successes, or grief.
- Contentment. Have you ever been in a situation where you reacted too quickly or maybe bragged excessively, resulting in embarrassment or feelings of awkwardness? Perhaps others were displeased or even repulsed by your actions and chose to part ways or avoid further contact with you. By practicing humility with your responses and successes and thinking before you act, you will enjoy joy and contentment that no amount of bragging could ever provide. Being humble saves relationships and even encourages the development of true and lasting friendships.
- Strength. As mentioned above, it takes a great deal of strength to be humble. Humility is a quality of courage, bravery, integrity, self-respect, and self-confidence. It shows a person with self-control and a gentle and admirable ability to serve and honor others.
“Some ask if lowering one’s pride is conceding defeat. I think not. Humility is a sign of inner strength and wisdom.”
“Humility must accompany all our actions, must be with us everywhere; for as soon as we glory in our good works they are of no further value to our advancement of virtue.” Saint Augustine
“I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.” John Ruskin
“I always say be humble but be firm. Humility and openness are the key to success without compromising your beliefs.”
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