Many of us during our lifetime will probably have heard the phrase Be Humble and Kind a million times. From the moment we are able to toddle around with others, we have been taught to be kind. But how often were you taught to be humble?
I’ve spent almost 50 years on this wonderful planet, we call home, and can’t remember anyone telling me to be humble. Let alone teaching how to be humble. Seriously think about it, we are actually taught the exact opposite of being humble from a very early age. This C. S. Lewis quote about humility says it all on being humble. But how many of us actually practice this?
Definition of Being Humble
What is the meaning of being humble anyways? The definition of humble as an adjective is – having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. In a sentence as an adjective – ‘he was humble about his stature as one of rock history’s most influential guitarists’.
As a verb, the definition is – lower (someone) in dignity or importance. Used in a sentence as a verb – ‘I knew he had humbled himself to ask for my help’.
Does any of that sound like anything you were taught to be? Actually the verb definition is how we’ve used the word for generations. But definitely not how I believe it might have been meant to be used. I mean we are good at making others feel lower and less important than oneself, and we are good at shattering each other’s dignity too. But it was never meant for “us” to do but meant for “Me & You” to do to ourselves. This world today has less and less humble people.
Oh, I am guilty of it too! I mean take losing weight as an example. We spend a month or so cutting, counting calories, we walk daily and bam a few lbs-gone. We don’t humbly sit there in our new 6lb. lose body, we put on those snugger jeans, and tanks and show it off. Oh, and then when someone notices enough to mention it, how do we react? Certainly not humbly. But how do we act humble in those situations anyway?
Similar words for Humble
As an adjective, there are plenty of similar words to humble. Some include – meek, submissive, modest, respectful. Wait, I am humble because I was taught to be respectful. Yeah, not so much. Maybe being humble is all those similar words in one person?
But how can we call ourselves humble when we still point our fingers at the meek ones? What? Seriously, who are you kidding? We do it as adults and trust me it’s happening with our children. I have seen it at the bus stop, in stores, etc. The quiet girl with her face planted in a book gets labeled the weirdo, nerd, quiet one, and worse. Our society makes it nearly impossible to represent the word humble on so many levels. But it also gives us SO many many opportunities to be, practice and teach others to be humble.
As a verb, similar words include – demean, belittle, humiliate. Yeah, we have those down alright! But again, they weren’t meant to be used by us on others, but by us for ourselves? But then again, when we demean, belittle, and humiliate ourselves we are considered to have “issues”. It’s kind of like we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I guess.
A bit to think about!
You see as far as I can see, this world won’t let our society be humble. From children to adults we’re still seeking approval. We want the best clothes, car, house, spouse, children, and we want the world to see we have them. No modesty in that.
There is peer pressure and we’re all surrounded by that “show-off” “look at me” vibe. Where in that world do you see people acting less important than the next guy? How can one humble themselves surrounded by all that?
Nothing about being humble is easy, but I’d like to think that we can control how we let it all affect us, and how we react to it. Then I wonder if we all born with a little bit deep inside us and as we mature it matures too? I mostly believe we become humble and it’s something we have to work at. I try to be humble, but then wonder do they think I am being snob-ish? Mostly I guess I should do tons more research on the whole topic.
I’ve resentingly become a bigger fan of C. S. Lewis who hit the nail on the head about being humble. His words have the power to knock us all off our high horses.
Here are his original words:
To even get near [humility], even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert.
Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.
Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.
If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.
—Mere Christianity, (section on “The Great Sin)
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~ Many Blessings ~
Being humble isn’t easy, but I’d like to think we all want to be.