Life Lessons Learned: Part Two (How To Be Humble)
"A man who is at the top is a man who has the habit of getting to the bottom." — Joseph E. Rogers
In continuation with the series, I have to decided to share my thoughts on the concept of humility. This virtue is rare to find, but when practiced, can make a world of difference. I often find myself struggling in this area, but I know I am not alone. If we are all honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that humility does not come easy. Why? Because being prideful is easier and more acceptable in today's society.
Why does practicing humility make a world of difference? How does one become humble? How are the flames of pride extinguished? Let's take a journey with open minds and discover the answers to these questions.
What Is Humility?
Webster's Dictionary defines humility as not being haughty or arrogant, but rather submissive. According to the quote above, humility is learning how to live life on the bottom. Now what kind of statement is that? Who wants to live life on the bottom? That seems meaningless, of no value and interest. This statement means that one must be willing to live behind the scenes, not having to be constantly noticed in the spotlight. Humility is putting others before your self. It is making the needs of others a top priority.
Not A Walk In The Park
Humility does not come easy; it is not in our nature. It is brought about through hard work, determination and practice. I think we can all agree that humility is not a normal way of life. We enjoy to live life large and be noticed. We desire to rewarded for our accomplishments and usually a pat on the back does not suffice. But, being noticed isn't a bad thing, so we must find the proper balance. How and where do we draw the line?
Drawing The Line Of Balance In A Dizzy World
I want to inform you that there is nothing wrong with feeling good about accomplishing a goal. The problem arises when that feeling of self pride starts to control you and captivate your thoughts. To avoid this dilemma, there must be a healthy balance between pride and humility.
What has always helped me is to recognize how I have arrived at point B. I make mental notes of who has helped me become who I am now. This process aids me in the realization that it is not all about me. I am not the only actor in the play, if you will. "Other actors" have come along side me to support me, and without them I would not be where I am today. This way of thinking seems to help me not become overly prideful of my accomplishments in life.
Let's Imagine Here For A Moment
What if everyone thought of others instead of themselves? What if everyone didn't care about being on the top of the ladder, so-to-speak? If this were the case, dysfunctional families, relationships and workplaces would cease to exist. No one would be attempting to outdo the other. No one would be focused on themselves because their focus would be on everyone else. When I imagine this scenario, I think of the TV show Lost, but totally revamped(A beautiful island of peace and tranquility with no trials or problems, a Utopia).
Not A Message Of False Hope
Since we all know that life is not perfect, I will be straightforward with you. I will not attempt to lie to your face. Humility is difficult and very hard to come by! This virtue will not appear overnight!
I would like to share with you some ways in which we can overcome pride in our lives. These are some of the lessons I have learned over time through my experiences and am still learning today.
1. Who Is The Top Dog? I am not the top dog, you are not the top dog, no one is the top dog! We are all on the same playing field. Living with this mindset is not an easy feat. I will tell you that right now. But, when humility is practiced, it can be life-changing.
2. What Can I Do For You? If we are constantly asking this question, we will be avoiding the opposite question(What can I do for myself?). By focusing on what others need, we won't be focused on self. Humility is learning how to deny yourself of certain things. Think of it as a diet. If you are on a sugar-free diet, you will be denying yourself water right? No of course not, I am just making sure you are awake! You will be denying yourself sugar. The same is true with humility. When you are focusing on others' needs, you will be denying yourself.
3. Do You Live Behind The Scenes? Let;s think of a play for a moment and compare it to this concept of humility. In a play, the actors are important, but the play would not succeed with some other vital roles. No one gives even the slightest thought about the makeup artists and the stagehands, although they play an important role as well.
Are we constantly trying to be in the spotlight, or are we fine with being behind the scenes as well. I mentioned before that being in the spotlight is fine as long as we are able to control the fame. That is the difficult part. Even in the spotlight and fame, we can be humble by recognizing how we got there. It is not about us, never has been about us, and never will be about us! Imagine if we all lived like that, even for a day!
The Dash Poem And My Mission
"I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning..to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears, 1964-1994
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth..
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars..the house..the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you”d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we”ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile..
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy’’s being read
With your life’’s actions to rehash..
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?"
(poem source: Linda Ellis, author, speaker, poet)
My mission is to live a life of humility. I desire others to remember that I spent my dash by putting others first and that I was able to live behind the scenes. I can honestly proclaim that being humble is an ongoing struggle that I wage war with everyday. I am in constant war with my ego. But, when I die, I want others to remember me as one who aspired to be humble by becoming second to all.
Who is with me on this journey to humility?
"Humility is at the equilibrium of ego. When we’re on center, we manage our ego rather than it managing us." — Steve Smith
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