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Humility – such a powerful word that is often misconstrued. Many people see it with such a negative connotation, and yet humility may be one of the best qualities one can have. I don’t remember the first time I ever felt humbled, but I know that it is a feeling I have right now. Being here, sharing my thoughts with you today – that’s a gift that Pastor Natalie has given me.
What humility isn’t
The funny thing about writing blog posts is that they tend to get your brain working in strange ways. I had intended on sharing a very intimate portion of my life to highlight a period when I fully believed the wrong version of humility, but chose not to. After all, the post is not about me and my upbringing. Rather, it is about the lessons learned.
So what I will share is this;
Growing up, confidence was something I lacked. It wasn’t always this way, but after losing my mom and moving to a new environment, life became difficult. I found myself humiliated by my size, story, and life. To me, humility meant being embarrassed to be me. And yet that was so wrong.
Humility isn’t about being embarrassed or ashamed of who you are. It also isn’t about thinking highly of yourself but acting as though you are grounded. And it certainly isn’t speaking boastfully about the acts of kindness you choose to show others.
It’s about building others up
There are several definitions of humility on the web to choose from. So, like any normal human being, I decided to cherry-pick my favourite version and serve it to you on a silver platter. But don’t worry, I am not affiliated with the author of the dictionary.
Since we already know what humility isn’t, here’s what it actually is:
hu·mil·i·ty | \ hyü-ˈmi-lə-tē
Freedom from pride or arrogance. The quality or state of being humble.
By definition, humility is a quality – a positive thing to have. And by definition, humility is the absence of pride. But what does that actually look like?
In March 2011, there was a magnitude 8 earthquake in Japan. In simple English – it was really bad. Many people lost their homes and were bundled in cold shelters, eating just enough to get through the days. As I watched the events on the news and spoke to friends who were living the reality, I was left dumbfounded.
In any other part of the world, people would raid stores or selfishly hoard food. But that is not what happened in Japan. What we saw were people lining up calmly for their turn at basic necessities. People helping others through a devastating time. A population that worked hand in hand to bring each out of such a trying moment.
You won’t find my version of this word on the net, but after seeing what happened in Japan, I thought I would give you my definition.
Humility is knowing your self-worth but respecting and acknowledging others’ worth.
It also sets your firm grounding
Have you heard of the famous quote “pride comes before a fall?” Okay, that was a silly question. We all use this quote and know the best scenarios to use it in. So the question should be, have you stopped to dissect the phrase and grasp its true meaning?
Prideful people spend so much time building themselves up. And without a firm foundation, there is nothing left to hold them up, hence the fall. In real life, that would look like a boss that is full of himself yet thinks little of his team. What would happen to him when it was time for the team to stand for him?
Being humble doesn’t take anything away from you. Rather, it allows people to gravitate towards you, forming a pillar of support.
Related: “Don’t take it Personal” “Make Room” “Growth“
As much as I am writing this post, the honest truth is that I struggle with it quite a bit. That sense of entitlement, that feeling that I deserve something… it is all linked to ‘pride.’ Yes, I fall prey to this even as a Christian, but a verse that keeps me grounded is Romans 12:3-8.
Humility reminds you that you are blessed, not special
As I stare at the title of this section, a part of me cringes. The very first time I heard the statement “you are blessed, not special” was five years ago at the induction for my current job. A job I had applied to, and gone through seven interview stages before being selected. And after such an intense process, I was told that I was simply blessed, not special?
Hearing that as a new hire didn’t feel nice, but what followed brought context and clarity to the profound words. I was blessed to have been given the opportunities in life that allowed me to reach that specific point. I was blessed to have been chosen over someone else with similar qualifications. Yes, I am a special person as we all are, but it was a series of events that led me to sit in that very room.
Not only was it a monumental moment in my career, but it was a statement that stuck with me to this day. In every circumstance that life throws your way – good or bad – remember that God is shaping you. So when you are awarded something special over someone else, they are not worth any less. They are simply going through a similar shaping process that is specific to them.
Be humble, because you are blessed, not special.
Curious to know who I am?
Make sure to read Pastor Natalie’s wise words on humility over on my blog! Who knows, your detective skills might just lead you to some answers!
Follow: Michelle Da Silva GrowingwithSpawn.com
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10 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t be Allergic to Humility”
I’d like to make it to a point in my life where I would have humility, but I’m riddled with so much self-doubt that I have no faith in my abilities in which to be humble about. But it’s something to aspire to at least
As I’ve gotten older I’ve definitely realized my patience running thinner, making me lose the humility I used to have. I need to practice more humility these days especially with starting a new job and with all the new changes in my life. I needed this post today, thanks for sharing.
This is a great post, a great read to start my morning. I agree with how valuable being humble is. It is remarkable to see the difference in peoples behaviour during disasters. I have noticed so many managers who thought they were above everyone, have a fall. It is all so fascinating. We sure do all have our own journey. I strive to try and be humble as much as possible.
What a great post! I love your definition of humility – Humility is knowing your self-worth but respecting and acknowledging others’ worth. I also loved your point on God shaping us! I feel he is guiding us in ways that we can learn the lessons in life in order to move in the right direction to serve Him and remain humble when helping others. Thank you for sharing!
I like it when you said humility is about being blessed and not special. Humility applies in our daily lives.
such a great reminder.
Thanks for this post about humility! It’s one of those words that people don’t think of enough, so it’s nice to be reminded of what it truly means. I like your example of Japanese culture in a time of disaster too!
Thanks for sharing, it was a very insightful post. I definitely struggle with it sometimes in many ways, like knowing what it means, and how it applies with our daily lives.
I absolutely love this post! I appreciate the positivity and the humility that comes from knowing you are blessed. Thank you so much for sharing.