I’ve been thinking a lot about humility lately. Little reminders here and there seem to keep popping up in my life that I am not so great as I think I am.
I tend to be super perfectionistic about the things I do, so it’s really hard to accept when I’ve made a mistake or when I haven’t done something to the best of my ability. I also tend to notice and dwell on the mistakes I’ve made longer than necessary. This kind of mindset lends itself to a lot of prideful thinking and, on the other side of the coin, a lot of self-deprecating thought.
No matter how well things are going or how good I imagine myself to be, something will inevitably happen and I have to remember how very imperfect I actually am.
As hard as it is when I fall off of the little pedestal I build for myself, I’m grateful when it happens.
Maybe not so much in that moment… but eventually I find room for gratitude.
Humbling events remind me to be patient and understanding of others when they make mistakes. They remind me that I fall short, but it’s okay because my faith tells me that there is forgiveness for my shortcomings. Suddenly I can focus on the bigger picture and what my life should really be about.
With a humble mind, it is much easier to learn and to grow. If a person spends too much time thinking that they know everything or that they don’t need help, how do new ways of understanding the world ever push through? How much harder is it to ask for help when you really need it? Or to admit you don’t know something? And what happened when you really need help with something?
Besides making people closed off to learning or gaining new understanding, a lack of humility can also be dangerous to a person’s self worth. You see, so much of the pride people feel is rooted in being better than someone else. I’m proud of my clean house – why? – Because my neighbor’s house isn’t so tidy. I’m proud of the work I do – why? – Because my coworker is lazy.
Humility challenges us to rework our thinking and be glad for the things we do well and to keep working on the things we don’t do well. Who I am and what I do is no longer connected to other people and their behaviors; suddenly I am free to do what I do and feel good about it – or not – based solely on my own merit.
Humility, I find, is something to be worked on and is often thrust on me at the most inopportune times. It can be unpleasant and depressing, but those moments of imperfection can also be a chance to open my mind and grow.
I hope you are humbled this week with an open mind and a ready heart. And I hope you understand I mean that in the best possible way.