PREVIOUS: ARROGANCE (Part 1)
SITE: “The key to Dignified Humility: Admitting you’re Wrong”
BOOK: “So, I’m not Perfect! – A Psychology of Humility” ~ Robert J. Fury (not religious)
QUOTEs: “True humility is strength, not weakness. It disarms antagonism & ultimately conquers it.” ~Meher Baba
“To be truly great one has to stand with people, not above them” ~ Charles de Montesquieu, French politician & philosopher
DEF: HUMILITY (H), from the Latin ‘humilitas’ = ‘low, from the earth, grounded’
• To not think oneself better than others (but never self-deprecating!)
• Recognize & accept our limitations based on an accurate estimate of our value & abilities. Opposite of grandiosity, narcissism, hubris, & other forms of negative pride
NOT H: IF Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt were to say that he is not a speedy guy, it would either be a joke, false humility or S-H, since he’s truly the speediest of all!
YES H: What he DID say was that – his accomplishments need to be placed in the context of Jamaican track-and-field emphasis & excellence, which reflect those who have helped him !
HUMILITY (H), sometimes called “modesty”, is most often talked & written about in religious terms. The great religions espouse it, spiritual teachers encourage it, preachers & parents try to instill it.
➼ However, here we mainly want to consider what it means as a social & psychological character trait.
• But even without a religious context, H can still take on a moral and/or ethical dimension. It’s the ability to acknowledge that we have problems, faults, pains, make mistakes, act in ways that we don’t want to, say and think things that we know are not good…. Humility is acknowledging how we actually are, right now.
Oscar Ichazo, in ‘The Enneagram of Personality’, gives a good clue to the meaning of H – a true virtue:
“It is acceptance of the limits of the body – its capacities. The intellect holds unreal beliefs about its own powers. The body knows precisely what it can & cannot do. Humility in its largest sense is the knowledge of the true human position in the cosmic scale.”
Appropriate H (not martyrdom, S-H or victimhood (click on chart) is firmly rooted in self-esteem, an inner security that comes from permission to be oneself, & the ability to provide for one’s own needs & wants. They way we don’t have to depend on what others think of us to be OK with ourselves.
H people are clear that, while they know they definitely have personal worth, they must put that in perspective, with the understanding that each of us is a very small cog in a very large universe. ➼ With this broad & realistic view, the truly humble person cannot be humiliated.
NOTE: To develop H, children need to form a secure attachment, starting in infancy, which comes from receiving balanced & consistent parenting, firm guidance & realistic role-modeling.
✥ As adults – a most important aspect of H is the realization that our lives & concerns are valuable, but no more important than anyone else’s.
DIAGRAM – Any extreme is unhealthy:
• Too much Pride & we act superior, untouchable
• Too much H, & we’ll let every one walk on us
• Healthy Pride is empowering
• Healthy H means we don’t need to do impression management
• LaBouff & Assoc. ran 3 H studies (2012) with college students, which showed that humble people are more helpful than those who are less so. Students who reported valuing humility were willing to help another student, even without much external pressure.
Other people matter too, & we can matter more to others if we matter ‘less’ to ourselves. Additional studies echo this conclusion – humility is a consistent predictor of generosity, making a H person a more valuable member of society
• H has been linked with better academic & job performance. Correlated with the Need for achievement (Na), it helps advance one’s fortune in the world, & is excellent for leadership.
• Humble people have better social relationships: tend to be cooperative, compassionate, flexible, forgiving, grateful, open, admit mistakes & avoid deception
• Exline & Hill showed that H people accept their limitations, are well-adjusted, kind, self-aware, & intelligent without needing to be all-knowing. They ALSO value the welfare of others, & are able to ‘forget themselves’ when appropriate.
NEXT: Humility (Part 2)