With age and awareness, I realize that every step of the human experience is an exercise in humility. Just when I think I’ve figured something out, I am uprooted by a surprise curveball that reminds me that there’s more living and learning to do!
As a parent, friend, and co-worker, I encounter new experiences almost daily that require deeper understanding and adaptation. So, diving into the topic of humility this month was on point; a true adventure of unlearning and expansion. My first step was to deconstruct an old belief.
As a child, I remember thinking that being humble isn’t a desirable quality. I was told that, when someone comes from “humble beginnings”, it means they don’t have much (in terms of money, opportunity and status). I inferred being humble as being simple and having less success than others.
In my 40’s, my view of success changed along with my understanding of humility. Now, I recognize success as having a secure foundation (inside) and humility as a remarkable quality of (inner) strength.
Humility is the sacred ground from which we grow.
The essence of being humble is a state of being grounded and comfortable where you are. The latin word humilitas translates to lowness in the sense of being “grounded”, or humus which means “coming from the earth”. (There is literally no association with being of a lower social class.)
In my experience with humble people, they are secure in a strong foundation of mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Their sense of belonging comes from deep within, they do not seek it from outside of themselves. Some of these people include poets and guides, Mark Nepo, Yung Pueblo, and Richard Rohr, all of whom are helping me to understand humility. Everything they do is an offering of love, not for credit, accolades, or status, but as a contribution to the greater good. They don’t want or need recognition for their great work, they simply want to contribute to a greater quality of life.
Perhaps this explains my love of trees! They are a wonderful metaphor for humility. As they grow, they don’t need credit or status in the community for their contribution to the greater quality of life. Also, weathering storm after storm, enduring brokenness and betrayal, trees continue to grow from their secure place on the earth. So inspiring!
As an offering of love, I am sharing some of my research notes about humility in my newsletter, along with practice tips to stay humble.
Thank you for being here. As we learn and grow together, we keep each other humble. This is the path to true greatness.
Next month, we will explore the topic of traction.
Let’s journey together.