A Healthy Dose of Humility by Crystal Tingle
05/02/2016 02:56PM ● Published by Crystal Tingle
Humility. What a quite misunderstood little word. Often perceived as a sign of weakness…don’t you get an image of someone walking around with a downtrodden face and a droopy head? When is the last time you heard, “Hang your head down low”? Never! We are culturally programmed to say just the opposite, “Hold your head up high,” right? But what if? What if instead we said the ridiculous? What if we said, “Hang your head down low” when we muster words of comfort to someone who has faced defeat or disappointment? This actually makes me chuckle every time I read it because in some way it reminds me of Debbie Downer from Saturday Night Live, “Wah wah wah.” Just saying it seems like an oxymoronic statement to a modern culture that is so geared towards self-promotion, competitiveness and getting ahead. Or, let’s entertain the opposite. What about the person who experiences too much success? (Is there such a thing?) What if we didn’t sing their congratulatory praises but rather told them to “hang your head down low”? Huh? The look on their face would be priceless! What would people think if you said that to them regardless of whether they succeed or fail, win or lose! I chuckle again and can’t help but hear,”Wah wahhhh.” You know you just laughed as well. So where am I headed with this?
First of all, don’t take me literally. I just thought it would be a funny thing to imagine. Seriously, let’s chat about humility. One of my favorite country singers has a new song about always staying humble and kind. And I would just bet that if you surveyed a dozen people around you and asked if they possessed those traits, most would say they do. I don’t doubt they are probably right to some degree, but character is always tested best and challenged when the pressure is on. And the truth is, we really are not geared with a natural propensity toward humility. Not in today’s world where so much of who we are is measured and defined by what we have or look like or who we stepped on or over to get there. A virtue such as humility and kindness just doesn’t make the cut in the recipe for success. (Or does it? Hold that thought!) As a matter of fact, it seems quite the contrary. Rather, humility often conjures up thoughts of weakness or apathy. Corporate America seeks the young and determined with the “eye of the tiger.” And there is nothing wrong with that. But should more companies start hiring based on virtues such as humility as well? Humility is a very underestimated attribute in the success equation that actually comes with several emotional, mental, physical and social benefits. 17th century writer and artist John Ruskin summed up true success perfectly by saying, “The first test of a truly great man is his humility. By humility I don't mean doubt of his powers or hesitation in speaking his opinion, but merely an understanding of the relationship of what he can say and what he can do.”
The person who truly walks in humility is
1. Self Confident
That’s right! True humility is NOT a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a sign of strength. It’s a healthy confidence paired with a proper perspective of what you can accomplish and where your limitations lie, and then letting others help to fill in the gaps without feeling threatened, allowing their gifting to come forth in unison with your own.
2. A Great Leader
Would it surprise you to learn that humility and kindness are actually character traits that make the best leaders and CEOs? Studies reveal that leaders with these virtues actually build highly successful organizations because there is an atmosphere of trust. The leader is seen as someone who is about the highest potential of the group as a whole and not just a self-serving agenda.
3. A Better Learner
Self-awareness that you don’t have all the answers promotes an excellent learning environment that opens up your mind to different ways or possibilities of doing things.
4. A Healthier Person
With a healthy dose of humility, the quest for an intangible greatness takes backseat to team effort. Importance and power become secondary to the humble when they learn to value themselves beyond an award or title. Stress and tension are eased which contribute to better rest and less anxiety.
5. More Socially Accepted
Humility fosters deeper and stronger relationships because the humble tend to be more considerate of others around them and also tend to be more generous givers. They are more outward-focused and aware of the needs of others rather than self-focused.
I’ll be honest. I start squirming when I write these kinds of articles. They are meant to challenge, you as well as me. I write and then I reflect. As a wife, mother, and friend, I want to be spoken fondly of but not based on outward things. I want people who know me well and those I meet in passing to see me as someone who considers others. Someone approachable. Someone humble and kind. And again, we can all consider ourselves to have arrived but when we are tested, do we pass or fail? Humility is learned through our experiences and the vehicle for this is most often through our trials. It reveals our strengths as well as our limitations and highlights our need and dependency on others who surround us either at home or work. “Hang your head down low” was just my way of trying to be funny about our wrong perception of what true humility actually is, but it does serve as a good reminder in those situations that may test us. Will we fight to be right? Will we see others next to us in the race to the finish? Will we turn around to help out the next person when it’s within our power to do so? Without a doubt, humility is a discipline that requires the unnatural from us, in our successes as well as our disappointments. But wouldn’t you agree that it’s a worthy virtue to be exercised daily? And if you need a reminder, just think of this: ”Hang your head down low!”