On Humbleness

Humbleness has rarely been far from how I feel and live.  It was brief times away from humbleness here and there that soon resulted in me falling on my face, swiftly bringing me back to this initial state of being.

Confidence, on the other hand, felt ever-elusive for so much of my life. Now, I find myself thinking and acting more confidently, while out of a sense of humbleness. Among other things, staying humble keeps me open to learning and knowing more clearly what to actually feel confident about.

It is painful for me to witness how difficult it is for some to simply be humble, which, to be clear, does not mean groveling and/or being smaller/less than others.

8 thoughts on “On Humbleness

  1. I love when you write about things I have to look up the meaning of and work at understanding. Not that I don’t have an idea of what that meaning is but making sure I truly know what that word means. Today that word is humility. I likened humbleness to humility and needed to make sure my thinking was correct. Freedom from pride and arrogance. Pride is about competition and therefore not a virtue (C.W. Lewis). As a young child, I was often told I thought too much of myself and I learned I needed to become someone that didn’t have that characteristic. Learning to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” in my 20’s and trying to live by the words of “The Serenity Prayer”, to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference helps to remind me that living my life in that way keeps my head out of the clouds and lessens my need to control every aspect of my life. I needed to cultivate humility to avoid “falling on my face” and the neverending “butting my head against the wall” that was creating such havoc at that time. Wisdom to know the difference is the hardest part for me. It helps to remind myself that I am a work in progress and am learning every day just how to navigate this world we live in. Thank you again for such great topics!

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    1. Oh that darned part, “the wisdom to know the difference,” always stymies me. How to tell the difference between what I can change, and what I can’t. Sometimes it’s obvious and easy, but more often its a mushy mix of sorting out whether I’m just in denial about my power to shift something because I’m too scared or just lazy, or whether it’s something I truly cannot change.

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      1. Another favorite “there, but for the grace of God go I” keeps me in that state of humbleness and open to the state of grace that allows me to feel his presence in times of need and thankfulness.

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  2. Gosh this is a great thought-provoking post! The magical balance of living with confident humility can be so hard to strike. Off and on for the past few years, I’ve been wearing one of those gel bracelets that says “humility” on it to remind me. For a long time, I conflated humility with humiliation, and confidence with pridefulness. (And as with most people, that lack of clarity is rooted in childhood learnings.) Oh, how deluded and extreme I can be. Slowly, I’m coming to learn that even when the universe (in whatever way) conspires to “humble” me for my behaviors, it’s not humiliating me but just reminding me to be balanced. And when I feel that occasional confidence emerge that lets me speak out or show my creative work for example, I’m not being prideful. I’m just expressing my own truths within a larger context of humility, knowing I’m no better or worse as a person than anyone else, just who I am. So no matter what, there’s no humiliation. Unless I say or do something that hurts someone. Somehow I think it’s like the difference between guilt and shame, where guilt is about a behavior, but shame is about the person.

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  3. Starting IFS therapy three years ago helped me immensely in sorting through what was truly mine and what was a product of my upbringing. Sadly, so much of what I was dealing with were childhood burdens created by ancestral burdens passed down to me. The compassionate nature of IFS therapy has brought so much joy to my life and learning about all the parts I’ve used has lessened those burdens. I was very fortunate to have a spiritual part that guided me since infancy. The importance of building that spiritual resiliency rests with both my parents and the generations of ancestors before them that knew how essential it was for surviving the many adversities we all face at one time or another.

    I’ve come to realize for me, guilt and shame come from something I’ve done that I need to make amends for. The shame that is hard to bear is the shame that was passed down from ignorance and intolerance through a parental need to facilitate the mistakes of their own parents. The lack of boundaries at times creates so much confusion in a child that their only recourse is to escape inside. I believe this disconnect is the most pervasive thing that saps children and adults from the confidence needed to navigate the ups and downs of an ordinary or possibly an extraordinary existence. Living one day at a time and sometimes one moment at a time is how I am able to venture through this maze I call life avoiding any pitfalls that may cross my path. Surprisingly, I have found out that I am not alone.

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