Wednesday, 18 July 2007
"It's hard to be humble," says an old country song, "when you're perfect in every way." Very few people, of course, actually think they're perfect in every way, but it can still be pretty hard to be humble, especially when you live in a society that encourages competition and individuality. Even in such a culture, however, humility is an important virtue. Learning to be humble is of paramount importance in most religions and spiritual traditions, and humility can also help you develop as a person and enjoy richer relationships with others.
Appreciate your talents. Being humble doesn't mean you can't be confident or feel good about yourself. Self-esteem is not the same as pride. Both come from a recognition of your own talents and qualities, but pride--the kind of pride that leans toward arrogance--is rooted in insecurity about them. Think about the abilities you have and be thankful for them.
Keep in mind that being humble has many benefits. Humility can help you be more content with your life, and it can also help you endure bad times and improve your relationships with others. It's also essential to being an effective learner. If you think you know it all, you won't be open-minded enough to seek out new knowledge. Humility is also, somewhat counterintuitively, an excellent tool for self-development in general. After all, if you feel superior, you have no incentive to improve. Most of all, being humble allows you to be honest with yourself.
Don't fake humility. Pretending to be humble isn't the same as being humble, and often people who pretend to be humble do it in order to seek out praise. Other people will recognize this, and even if you fool some, you won't derive the same benefits as you would through actually developing humility.