THE ROAD TO HUMILITY: CONSIDERING OTHERS BETTER THAN YORSELF

Humility, above all other character traits ought to be most sought after. Pride is a uniquely human condition, not only an act of the intellect (which some created beings have a lot of), it is an act of the will wherein one places himself or herself above others in mind and heart. My main question about its opposite, humility, is where does it come from and why do some people seem to have more of it than others? Following that, how can prideful people become humble? The Scripture says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

As I sat wondering about how to cultivate humility, this quote came to my mind. As I meditated on it, I saw something that intrigued me. It says “in humility… DO This”. In other words, the key to getting “in humility” is doing one thing, which will naturally manifest itself in the second. The first is an inward transitioning from natural self-value and self-love towards others . This is definitely the hardest part as it requires an inward change of the heart that we are seldom (if ever) able to effect ourselves (more on that on another occasion) . Although this first step is difficult to achieve, I believe there is a shortcut to meeting it. I firmly believe that the heart can follow the hand’s actions; if the heart is stubborn, a willing hand can soften it. The second part of the quote says ‘look’ to the interests of others; meaning we first must open our eyes to see and then lend a helping hand towards others interests or needs. As we extend a helping hand with a compassionate smile, an uplifting word, kind counsel or a myriad of other things, I believe that the natural reward of true altruism will speak the truth of selfless love to our prideful hearts.  Our prideful hearts, having been softened, will then be able to pour more freely onto others through giving selfless love. “What is this charity and selfless love you speak of?” You may ask, “I thought this was about how to be humble?” Well, humility is defined as: “the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.” Let me ask you, if you saw someone who genuinely  lived a pattern of looking out for others’ interests and needs, would you not conclude that they were a humble person?

There is an additional way that you can become meek and humble but it involves a lot of unnecessary pain. As I travelled in Latin America, I learned this corollary through the Spanish language. In Spanish, the word for “to humble” and “to humiliate” are the exact same word: “humillar”. Therefore, I conclude that you have a choice to be humbled [willingly] or to be humiliated. The choice is yours. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re already humble. That would be a dangerous mistake indeed. For, “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.”

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