Humility is the ability to view yourself accurately, with your talents as well as flaws while being void of arrogance. We often come across people who brag about their accomplishments. Some are so full of themselves that they turn garrulous while some others keep mentioning their milestones subtly. Most of them don’t realize that they are boastful but everyone around feels it.
Hence, it is important to recognize your self -state – Are you humble or are you not? Give it a thought and you may find yourself oscillating between two ends. When I spared a thought, I recollected one incident where I mentioned my highly paid content projects in pipeline to a friend who never asked me about my price plan. Now, that is not humble and, on another day, I did not feel like sharing about my new fitness regime when my cousins were talking about pilates and proteins. You will face the same but when you think a little deeper, you will be able to identify which way are you skewed. A few subtle indicators of your boastfulness are –
- You mention the same list of achievements to one and all
- You steer the conversation towards your lifestyle and your beliefs
- You listen only to reply back with your experiences
Sometimes you unintentionally demean the lifestyle and accomplishments of the other person while you are highlighting yours. I know this lady in my complex who is passionate about healthy intake. She develops new recipes using alternate substitutes that improve the nutritional value without compromising on taste. While it’s a good pursuit to engage oneself, that is the only thing about which she converses and she fails to realize that everyone is not interested in learning about the methods and benefits. As she casually shares, she often says – “We refrain from using this, we avoid milk, we don’t overcook for taste?” and suddenly there is an air of superiority. As if the conventional ways adopted by others are passe and unhealthy.
As I observe more and more, I have understood that pride is more self -created. Society appreciates everyone’s accomplishments and for them you are always one of the achievers. But you replay the accolades in your head and every time you do so your pride increases.
Understand how humble you are and delve deeper into knowing the source of your pride. This becomes the starting point of bringing about a change and developing humility.
Speaking metaphorically nature is the best example of humility. The trees bend more with every new fruit that grows on it, the river flows around, never expecting the rocks to move, the sun and the moon shine whether people appreciate or not, the birds chirp without seeking an applaud, the breeze soothes even if we don’t thank it back – I can give many more examples but I would want you to derive more from nature.
The three easiest ways to embark upon the journey of transcending from arrogance to humility are –
Keep learning – The wise say, one should keep learning as if there is no tomorrow. The more you are open to learning the more you are able to see things about which you don’t know. This discourages the feeling of ‘I know it all’ and keeps you modest. Especially in your area of expertise keep seeking more knowledge on latest developments – this pursuit keeps you so engaged that you have no time for self-praise. Knowledge about things other than your vocation, shapes your all-round personality and makes you more independent. For instance, an engineer who is also a good cook and a cyclist can engage in two other activities along with his profession making his day interesting.
Talk about the present – Consciously keep the conversation on the present day and you will find it easy to be grounded. It is only when you discuss your past achievements and future plans, that you get misled and in the flow of the conversation reveal a lot that is extra and boastful. I am not suggesting that you be an introvert and shy away from sharing your accomplishments, but talking about the current moment with short references to past and future, makes the conversation more relevant and interesting. You waste less time and there is room for knowing what more you need to learn, else the limited span gets exhausted with information overload.
Regulated use of social media – In the world of social media where even the smallest of acts finds a mention, it is hard to stay humble. Care less for likes and lesser for followers because this indirectly nurtures the habit of showcasing what you have done even to people who are not concerned about it. Also, it pulls you into having meaningless goals that otherwise would not have found you. Use social media wisely to learn more and connect.
Humility is often looked down upon as weakness or fear. Don’t fall in the trap and find better ways to make your presence count. Believe that it is your biggest strength and hold on to it even on the toughest of the days.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi – “It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”