Some people scoff at the idea of lowering yourself or allowing others to get ahead of you, because, they think, it shows weakness. However, I believe, since it is unnatural to want to humble oneself or to allow others the greater benefit, the opposite is true. –In fact, I would even add that it takes great emotional and spiritual strength to truly humble oneself. All around us, society whispers to us, in different ways, “Take care of number one first and foremost, then you will have great success,” and even “Be successful at all costs, even if you have to step on others’ toes to get there.” However, I would attest that most people, who are truly successful and truly make the greatest difference in our world, turn these whisperings upside down—through their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. In fact, not only does humility grant us a type of success that can’t be measured by the society around us, but a humble attitude also has lasting benefits to you as well. Here are just some of them that I have observed when people (including me) demonstrate a humble attitude:
- Humility allows you to be your genuine self.—When we are entangled in arrogant pride, I find that we are constantly on our toes to try to impress the Next Bigger and Better person, sometimes in an effort to cover up our flaws and deceive ourselves and others, subconsciously, about them. It’s like we don’t want to face our flaws in ourselves, and we end up living in an illusion. Many people I have observed, who present themselves arrogantly, have deep-seated pain and/or flaws that they are desperately trying to hide from the rest of the world. They may be afraid of feeling rejected and unloved by others, or otherwise, being inadequate to the world. However, when we are humble, we are more likely to have a realistic view of ourselves. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. “Humility” that degrades oneself is not really humility, but reverse pride. Degrading oneself says that “I am so broken and “special” that I can’t be fixed by anyone,” which is, of course, a lie, no matter how true it may seem at the time. While having a humble attitude does acknowledge the self as a unique and beautiful creation, it acknowledges others’ beauty and worth even more! When you are humble, you are not afraid to be vulnerable with others and show your true self—the good mixed in with your flaws—because you are not afraid of rejection or lowering of status. Status and fear of rejection no longer matter to you. The welfare of others is more important.
- Humility diminishes jealousy and selfish attitudes.—I firmly believe that 99.9% of all jealous attitudes stem from pride. When we are jealous of others, it not only shows ingratitude for the gifts we already received in our lives, but also a kind of entitled pride that says, in effect, “ I deserve what that other person has, and he or she doesn’t! “ However, humility acknowledges and believes that everything, even life itself, is a gift. Humility says, “Even though I don’t deserve much, I am grateful when I do get something.” Humility has power and strength to think about the needs of others because it isn’t preoccupied with oneself. Humility does not ever compete against another, whereas pride wants to beat everyone at their own game, so only it gets the benefit. Humility can be demonstrated when we put others’ needs and egos, ahead of our own. For instance, if we have a humble attitude, we will readily admit when we do something wrong and sincerely apologize and repent of our actions. In contrast, when we are prideful, we will often excuse our sinful (morally wrong) actions or diminish the true magnitude and seriousness of our sins. Humility is happy when another co-worker gets the promotion we wanted, but pride is envious and resentful of the other coworker getting the promotion.
- Being humble will get you more respect in the end.—Although there are still some people who think being prideful will get you more respect, most people appreciate it more when one is humble. Being humble will get you more respect, because it allows you to consider their needs more. Having a humble attitude develops our empathy because you think of yourself less, and on others’ feelings and experiences more. Yes, there is a time for self-care, but all in all, being humble involves knowing that your needs will be met, in the process of caring for others. My faith hero, Rachel Scott, was a humble person. She didn’t tell everyone about all the kind things that she did to be noticed, but just did them out of her love and care for people. Her parents and others only found out about her kind acts from her recipients, and only after her death. Jesus Christ, another one of my faith heroes, and my Lord and Savior, also demonstrated great humility by being willing to die an excruciatingly painful death in our place, so we didn’t have to. Now, both Jesus and Rachel Scott, are greatly respected by many people because of their acts of kindness and humility.
As you can see, having a humble attitude has many benefits. Humility allows you to be your genuine self, without reserve or regret. Humility eliminates, or at least, lessens jealousy and self-centered attitudes, and humility can get you more respect in the end. Allowing others to be bigger than yourselves is a sign of great strength, not weakness. Humility does have a price of sacrifice to pay, but it is worth it in the end.