To all the aw-shucks trying to (and all the braggarts who should) work out how to get ‘humility’ right, this one is for you.
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.C.S. Lewis
Be a better you
They’ll tell you that you’re only giving it off that you’re weak by being humble. That your lack of aggression makes you a target, confirms that you’re easily submissive. But they’re sadist, defeatist people giving you their two-cents on reality being completely oblivious of the fact that humility, when done right, can augment your latch on reality.
Overestimating your abilities leads you to take bad decisions. You sign up for things beyond your capacity; entice your colleagues and friends to rely on you and pile things up on your already full plate. Chances are that this train of events will either leave you anxious and exhausted or disappoint the people who you’ve reassured could rely on you. On the flip side, being sceptical of yourself is draining as well. It can compound self-doubt and restrict your involvement in activities.
When you know how to get humility right, you become more trustworthy, less prejudiced, and so, the go-to-person for support among your friends and colleagues. Humility, the acceptance of one’s abilities as they are, not inflated or deflated, is hence, hands-on in the pursuit of self-regulation and self-improvement. Knowing that you always have room for growth, welcoming both criticism and praise as part of feedback and learning, and understanding multiple perspectives, are all pluses for becoming a better you.
Dangers of false modesty
False humility is the same as devaluing oneself intentionally to seem humble, fishing for compliments, deflecting praise just to draw more attention towards oneself. To be more accurate, it’s a more socially acceptable form of hypocrisy that one uses to indirectly express their ego. This brings us to why knowing how to get humility right is so important.
When someone’s modesty isn’t genuine, it isn’t the reflection of how they truly feel about themselves; sooner or later, the people around do apprehend it. Let alone appreciate it, it gets rather unpleasant for them. They’ll start to question the credibility, and hence, the authenticity of the person showing false humility; this will eventually provoke interpersonal catastrophe.
Undermining our talents and achievements says a lot about the things we value in our lives. People who are already struggling with self-esteem, feel even worse when they realize that someone, who they regard as prosperous, has little value for their achievements. The worst threat is that a person, in an effort to be humble, starts to believe that they truly aren’t very good at something.
Things you can do to get it right
Being thankful for the things one has achieved, been blessed with, is the ideal recognition of such things. It reminds us that these things, are in fact, worth being happy about and cherishing. It also allows us to be thankful for the people who have helped us along the way.
Accept praise with grace and integrity
This is another way of acknowledging our accomplishments and the things we’ve been fortunate enough to experience. Self-deprecation and devaluing one’s achievements hardly serve the purpose of humility. We should always be thankful for praises; telling someone that they’re proud of them, that they’re admired, and complimenting them, are selfless acts that one could’ve just chosen to avoid.
Talk about your journey (with courtesy)
We’re not suggesting that you be boastful. But, when someone nudges a topic of such relevance, try to understand if they want to do similar things in life. If they seem interested in knowing how you got where you are, elaborate the things that went right, the things that you got right, the times that you got lucky, the help you received, the challenges that you had to face and look out for, etc. Consequently, you will be helpful for your listeners and also stay regardful of your raw experiences.
Mind the impermanence of your position
Be mindful that your power and position won’t last forever so you can make better use of your title while you still can. If you assign too much value to your position, you become more exposed to disappointment. Not letting your position define your worth makes you more prepared for transition in terms of your position and more accepting when someone else might be better at something than you are.
Evaluate and re-evaluate yourself
Humility is the absence of vanity. As implied several times in this article, it isn’t necessarily the devaluation of one’s worth. It is the authentic acceptance of one’s talents. Knowing our strengths enables us to decide what things we want to continue to incorporate in our daily interactions. Knowing our weaknesses is important for planning how we can improve in terms of how we treat people based on how they perceive us.
Build an outward focus
It’s important to prioritize ourselves and avoid doing things that are unbearably taxing for the sake of other people. However, if we want to know how to get humility right, it is important to understand the people towards whom we direct our humility. Empathy, is hence, an essential characteristic of a humble person. Even though it is impossible to get it right every single time, our efforts are more effective when we make sure our humility is specially personalized for the people we interact with.
Humility can’t just be achieved and no one is really born with it. It is an ongoing process that you have to put effort to maintain in your daily life; it’s not as easy as we might think (no wonder so many of us are detached from it). So, it’s okay if you mess up sometimes, none of us will ever have it consistently spot on.
The author is not a perfect example of humility by any means. But, the importance of humility is indispensable and this article was written in the recommendation of it.