...what does "humility" mean to you?
Wikipedia-Humility (adjectival form: humble) is the quality of being modest and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.
I have been given several examples in my time of what humility means and how it differentiates from person to person. (Holy cow! I spelled "differentiate" with out the spell check flagging it! My biggest success of the day ;)
My absolute favorite source of how to "operate" and practice humility comes from a little a book I was given years ago...
The Humility of the Heart
by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo
(this is super cool...if you click on the pic above, the link will take you to a free online copy!)
" Every time I esteem myself, preferring myself to others, I deceive myself with this self-adulation, and commit an error against truth."
"The more the heart is filled with self-love, so much the greater will be its anxiety and agitation. This maxim is indeed true; for whenever I feel myself inwardly irritated, disturbed and angered by some adversity which has befallen me, I need not look elsewhere for the cause of such feelings than within myself, and I should always do well to say: If I were truly humble I should not be disquieted. My great agitation is an evident proof which ought to convince me that my self-love is great and dominant and powerful within me, and is the tyrant which torments and gives me no peace.
If I feel aggrieved by some sharp word that has been said to me, or by some discourtesy shown me, from whence does this feeling of pain proceed? From my pride alone. Oh, if I were truly humble, what calm, what peace and happiness would my soul not enjoy!"
The words above were taken directly from the book. This writing struck me in such a profound way. Some down-right, kick you off your seat kind of reading. If you thought things were all "honky-dory"...this book will STILL straighten out your perspective.
And I must mention it is not only a "Catholic" read. I have had friends read portions of this book who were not of my faith and they too were left a little more wide eyed at the pages before them. Humility is not the sort of virtue that just resides in a person's faith. It is a characteristic. Simple as that.
There was an incident once, a while back, where I was fighting with a friend. I dwelled on the situation incessantly and lost many nights of sleep from it. I was simply trying to find where the fault lied and who ultimately had the "upper hand". Then I finally talked to my mother and she simply replied: "would it kill you to let it go. To let the situation figure itself out?"
This made noooooooo sense to me. (hahah ;)
I thought my mom was basically telling me to give in, let them win, and drop it. I did not feel that this would serve any justice to either party. Well, ya know what? When it comes down to it...exactly who am I to deserve this "justice" I was so eagerly in search of.
Life is not about win or lose. It's about your sister, brother, relative or friends. It's about how to get yourself straightened up to the point that you are able to help those around you. Sure, we have to market ourselves in the way of gaining a following and endorsing our passion to reach our goals. We have to work hard for that relationship, house, boat, land...etc....that we all wish to possess. But the true "calm" in life lies in how we sit alone in the chair...by our self. I guess I'm trying to say: If one relies so heavily on the words of others and allows a vicious storm (which I view as society) to tear away at our sails...how do we expect to help the lives of others? How do we expect to hold strong against these so often storms in life?
I truly believe that striving towards humility is key in life. Looking around us and searching out the acceptance from the world...from others just as flawed as we are...that gives way eventually and what are we left with then? Ourselves.
Thanks for the read!