My Humble Journey

Ok, so I’m in a rut.

It’s been, let’s say, difficult to maintain my efforts to become a virtuous woman.  Don’t get me wrong.  My motivation remains, and I hold true to the desire to become a better person overall, but my enthusiasm is waning.  I feel tired.  I feel spread too thin.  I feel desperate to follow through with something (for once!) but without the muscle to fight it through to the end.  My latest endeavor to become more humble has presented a new challenge.  I am much more conscious of my attitude- I strive daily to remain humble and modest, and I think I’m doing a pretty okay job at it.  The problem is that I don’t know where else to go from here.  After all, the biggest issue with humility is self recognition.  Most arrogant people are completely oblivious to the fact that they lack humility.  Humble people, truly, sincerely humble people, would rather die than act like the aforementioned arrogant people.  So that’s that. Once you recognize the problem, you fix it and move on.  Hello. My name is Mary Lauren, and I’m a pompous windbag that needs to work on humility.  See below.

  1. Recognize you are not humble.
  2. Make a conscious effort to develop humility and practice that attitude.

Then what?

I know it’s not that simple, and that like all other virtues, humility isn’t something you just check off the list and never have to think about again, but it’s certainly less difficult than developing self control, the first virtue I attempted to improve upon.  I guess I am experiencing some disappointment, just to be perfectly honest.  It’s difficult to be task-oriented with humility.  Opportunities must present themselves before you can test yourself, which are often out of your control.  Self-control is a much more tangible and measurable experiment: you either discipline yourself to exercise every day or you don’t. You either do a load of laundry every day or you don’t.  Experimenting with developing humility proved rather anti-climactic.  I was much more gratified with seeing my to do list checked off every day when developing good habits with self-control.

Oh, well.  Boring or not, developing humility is a worthwhile venture.  The book I’m reading right now by Tony Hsieh called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose has some interesting insights about humility.  Tony verbalizes the fact that humility is one of the ten core values of his extremely successful online company, Zappos, and that they hire and fire people according to whether or not they adhere to this core value.  Obviously, more people than myself view this as a positive attribute to possess.

Biblically speaking, I love how the Philippians writer put it.

Philippians 2:3 says:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

This verse indicates to me that humility is not something measurable, because it should be a constant state of being, more of an ever-present attitude rather than a work.  Always esteeming others better than themselves can definitely be a challenge, but I have come to the conclusion that the absence of humility indicates the presence of selfishness.  It’s saying, “I’m better than you and I’m going to show it with my actions.” Humility is just the opposite.  Humility is saying, “I love myself, but I love you more.  Let me show you.”

A few things I’ve concluded about humility are as follows:

  • Humble people don’t expect recognition or praise
  • Humble people care about others more than self
  • Humility does not mean lack of self confidence
  • When viewing the world through the humility lens, you can truly appreciate and value others’ talents without feeling inadequate or competitive
  • Humble people are happy people
  • Humility equates to contentedness: humble people aren’t seeking approval from others
  • Humility is always less embarrassing than arrogance
  • Humility is always more attractive than arrogance
  • The best friends/spouses are humble

So, in conclusion, I think it’s time to move on from this subtle but powerful virtue to something else.  After much consideration, I’ve decided to work on my tongue.  That’s right: my big mouth.  It’s time I attempt to bridle the tongue and better monitor the words I say and how I say them.  Stay tuned.

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