Nowadays I am called to give attention to this ’emotional competence’: humility. It has now and then posed a challenge to me and made me reflect on it. Here are my musings on it.
Every page of our lives, whether we were a child , or a teenager, or a youth or a middle aged person or older person, we always experience people who are something we wished we were and we are not. And at the other end, people who look up on us and who wish they were us. But this is something that will stay with us come what may, even if we consider ourselves contented with where we are , or on the ‘top of the world’ or ‘struggling and down in the dumps’.
The fact is that there never is a ‘top of the world’….. for the simple reason that there is always something more top than the world we are in now…Nor is there a ‘bottom of the world’ for any of us, because each experience is rich and unique if we consider it deeply.
And this is where humility enters as our best friend. Humility is often described as absence of arrogance or ego. I would rather describe it as a state of mind which embraces whatever situation of life that we are in with a full heart. A state of mind that helps us to accept that things are simply the best meant for us at this moment, for us to learn what we have to and live it fully. The moment we begin to see other people for validating ourselves, then we loose our energy and heart that we can offer to the present situation. We then make decisions from them and for them, rather than for what is true to us.
It is also the skill of looking at a person who is seemingly at that top of the world, with wonder instead of with a feeling of loss or envy. Take humility a step further, you begin to feel joy at seeing them succeed. Take it further more, you begin to understand and accept with the right kind of serenity, if any of those at the ‘top’ look down upon us. At the same time, we will know how to set our boundaries when they try to become exploitative or condescending.
Humility also comes in when we look at people who are seemingly less than us. It lets us know how to see them not with arrogance or smug superiority but with wonder and curiosity. Curiosity because we know they will have treasures in their personality and situations, which we might not have. We become humble enough to see that with joy and even learn from it. Take it further, you begin to understand and accept with the right kind of serenity, if any of those feel jealous of us. At the same time, we will know how to set boundaries when they try to become manipulative or try to put us down, due to their jealousies.
If humility is understood in its right spirit and practised as a skill, then it might do wonders for us. Its an emotional competence that can be developed and honed and will do nothing but help us. It will not stop us from stretching ourselves or evolving, but will only help us more to do so from a centre of peace and strength. This competence might not be that difficult either, if we are perhaps able to open ourselves to consider that quality and just make a strong intention to develop, nurture and hone it in us.
Religions advocate that humility can be best achieved through ‘surrender’, which takes us beyond our non-stop bickering of our rational stream of thoughts, to a state which is simple, calm and at the same time most effective, if we give that a try. It might well be worth the leap of faith.
How has humility helped you to achieve calm , serenity and strength? What challenges has it evoked or helped you face? Do you have any tips from your experiences?
Check out these links here for more perspectives on humility: