What I learned from humility

“You have an ego high like a skyscraper. You don’t listen to anyone. You think you know it all. That’s not the way to be successful in your chosen field or any field for that matter.”

“Tell me,” I said, weak from the blow. “How do I get there?”

In my mind, I had done everything humanly possible to find fulfillment in my life. Yet, it remained elusive.

I studied, and studied, and studied some more. I tried to think out every step, every minute decision. I tried everything. But, in the end, I got nothing.

What my friend was trying to tell me in his harsh, but well-intentioned tirade, was that I lacked humility.

He was right. That one word was a world away from where I was standing at that moment in my life.

His gift to me was instant recognition. I could see where I had gone wrong. In a flash, my worldview changed. It was as if my eyes were open for the first time.

But, experience has taught me that if you don’t take action to support your new worldview, you will most certainly slip back into old patterns.

As a wise Chinese proverb says: To know and not do is to not know.

Suddenly, I could see crystal clear the judgments I had tossed out on a daily basis. I never said them aloud, but they took up space in my head and twisted up my energy. In my mind, I was the queen and almost everyone was beneath me.

Seeing my behavior from a distance makes me cringe inside.

That day, I invited humility into my life, and had to decide how to actively apply it in a way that felt authentic to me. My first action was to start writing love letters to humility.

It may sound odd to you, but that was the best way I could build a bridge and embrace this new virtue.

Here is what I learned about humility:
Humility gives you permission to relax. You no longer have to be so damn perfect all the time. Failure is part of life. It means you are learning and growing.
Humility is curious about her surroundings. She likes to listen, explore new ideas, and be open to new perspectives.
Humility is like being in love all the time. Not over-the-top, romantic love. Rather, it’s like a steady, supporting beat underneath everything that allows you to be open to receiving.
Humility can feel like walking a tight rope. On one side, you feel afraid to fall and drown in your emotions. You feel vulnerable and unsure. On the other side is where your thoughts, beliefs, and brain constructs reside; they have protected you from the softer side of yourself for a very long time. Be patient with them, they are learning, too.
Humility helps you accept that there is something bigger than yourself. And when you get clear, you receive guidance and trust the process. That means that sometimes, you will be wrong. But, humility takes the sting out of it a little.

What does humility mean to you? I’d love it if you would share your perspective in the comments below!

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Showing 4 comments
  • Kevin Leak

    Thank you for your inspirational post. I’m currently conducting research on the fingerprint patterns and nine base emotions – anger, disgust, wonder, fear, joy, courage, sadness, love and calmness. You refer to humility as as virtue. In your personal experience – what do you find is the emotion that is generated by humility? Kind regards, Kevin

    • Dr. Tiny Jaentsch

      hi Kevin,
      for me it is love and wonder.
      love tiny

  • Skye

    Humility gives me peace, satiation, freedom. Perhaps the emotion gratitude. I’ve first noticeably experienced it by walking alongside a very sick husband whom my whole lifestyle and future depends upon. Operating in a state of humility has become a large, safe place for me where there are many options and better yet real solutions. Thank you, Tiny for your well thought words. Came to me at a unique time of being inbetween 2 literal worlds. 🙂

    • Dr. Tiny Jaentsch

      I feel with you Skye

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