Humility is one of those words that has great depth in its meaning. I remember having a conversation once with someone who had just presented a very inspiring talk. I said to him somthing like, ‘that was really wonderful, you certainly have a gift’ and he replied, ‘yes, I do, thank you’. I remember thinking what a strange response that was. I, of course, would have probably said something like, ‘oh, did you like it….really? Oh, thank you’, and secretly might have wanted more praise and adulation. My response was so humble….or was it?
Humility is a strange thing. Being humble is not groveling about, lowering yourself so that others may elevate you. True humility is being honest with others and most of all yourself, recognizing your flaws and at the same time, celebrating your gifts. We all have gifts (notice the word gift, defined as something volunarily given without expectation of payment in return) and it is in humility that we identify them, develop them and use them. When others recognize them and comment on them, it is in true humility to be grateful, both for the compliment and especially for the gift.
Always putting yourself down or looking for affirmation from others can be arrogance in disguise. It may not be deliberate, but it certainly does not cultivate our potentials. We are created in the image and likeness of God and so, we carry the Divine within. If we truly humble ourselves, that light shines forth through us in our actions, our words, our very being. When others see it, or even when we see it ourselves, we can smile and know with confidence and humility that we are the vessels. It is at that time when we can say, ‘yes, I do have a gift, thank you’. And then, we raise our eyes to the Giver and bow in gratitude.
I had much to learn from that very inspiring speaker!