Humility

Does it exist today, and where can I find some examples of it ? Humility seemed to be an aspect of Jesus's Ministry; - always praying for advice and guidance. He was always questioning people. Was that to draw out a response from them, or to seek clarification ? Perhaps Humility can be seen in the quote from Einstein who asked his Pupils how much they thought Humans knew about Everything. He said that their guess of 2% was a little on the high side. Bertrand Russell said 'The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.' Is having doubts and expressing them an example of 'Humility'. But to return to my question, - where can I find it today ?

Comments

  • BabyWombatBabyWombat Shipmate
    You ask many questions, but seem to offer no thoughts of your own. I might suggest that one might find humility by walking humbly as best one can, assessing oneself, and not inspecting others.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    In what context do you want to find it? To observe in other people, or to find in yourself? I find it's easy enough to find when I take a look at myself in the context of God and eternity, and all my little puffs of pride seem quite laughable. Go to the woods, to the moors, look at the vast beauty of nature, and how small and insignificant you are in comparison. I am also humbled by people who respond with kindness and graciousness in situations when taking offence and getting on one's high horse would be the more natural reaction.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    The Rule of St Benedict chapter 7 is about humility and identifies 12 steps of humility for community life. Monica Baldwin who spent 28 years as an enclosed nun wrote that it took her years to understand the importance of humility but one day she realised that the deeper the soul hollowed itself out by the practice of humility the greater became its capacity for receiving the grace of God.

    Her novice mistress told her that humility was important because it had always been the characteristic virtue not only of Christians but of Christ. It was the spirit and very nature of prayer; so the humbler one was, the better one would be able to pray. And it was by far the quickest way to holiness, because a corresponding increase in all the other virtues was brought about by every increase in humility (Monica Baldwin, I Leap over the Wall p276).

    I knew a vicar who said that whenever he wanted to start a new ministry in the church he would look for servant hearted people to lead it. And he knew who they were because whenever he asked for volunteers from the congregation to stay behind and stack the chairs after a service they were the ones who would be willing to do it.
  • Go look at old, retired leaders and note the ones who into themselves by name only ( not past title or accomplishments) and who try to assist young people through mentoring or housing.
  • Going to add to that. Look for people who, when you compliment them on their accomplishments, say "thank you" and then immediately either a) get all excited about the work itself (NOT their part in it) and possibly try to drag you into it, at least emotionally, so you can enjoy it too! or b) start talking about the totally awesome OTHER people involved, and can you believe they did THIS? Isn't that wonderful? and so forth.
    Also look for those who truly like and enjoy their successors. On a generational level, that means finding Boomers who enjoy Millennials. And who do what they can to pull them up the ladder.
    Look for people with a host of interests outside themselves, even if it's nothing more than sock collecting. People who don't have time for the ego battles, because they're too busy investigating beetles or what have you.
    Look for people who have time for YOU, be they never so busy.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I suggest that once you start to look for it, you will find it. But don't look for it in the media, or in anything reported by the media. Look for it in your supermarket.
  • IMO humility is found when one is in a state of appreciation.

    ISTM there's false humility - the kind of humility that seeks to exalt itself. IMO the humblebrag of social media is a caricature of the kind of humility that invites the world to admire how humble it is. Any time an activity becomes a characteristic or an identity it gives itself away when it deploys sincerity, earnestness and seriousness as a shield for the underlying pain of knowing it isn't what t presents itself to be. This is why ego is fragile: it's a facade.

    On the other hand, I observe that appreciation is a way of being, a way of approaching the world in awe and wonder. It's that feeling of "WOW!" that emanates as a warmth and enthusiasm from the region of the solar plexus. It prompts reflexive exhalation "Ah! Ooh!"" and laughter. It treats everything as important, sacred, special, but not necessarily serious. Reverence doesn't require sincerity.

    IMO humility is a byproduct of appreciation, because when you exalt everything through appreciation, you don't need to humble yourself - you have already placed everything above you.

    To me, the mark of a humble person is someone who simply and naturally appreciates everything and everyone, but who doesn't find it necessary to debase him/herself in the process.

    AFF






  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Nice one AFF.

    Can I add to my suggestion of looking for it at your supermarket that you also look for it in a moment. Nobody is perfect. Everyone is a contradiction.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Fred Rogers but he's dead now. :(
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    In my 12-step program we say that humility is being in the proper relationship with your Higher Power and your fellow people.
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    edited April 23
    IMO humility is a byproduct of appreciation, because when you exalt everything through appreciation, you don't need to humble yourself - you have already placed everything above you.

    To me, the mark of a humble person is someone who simply and naturally appreciates everything and everyone, but who doesn't find it necessary to debase him/herself in the process.

    AFF
    I can see what you mean, but I do not think it is necessary to 'place everything above you', nor equally, is it necessary to place anything below. I think the word ]humility' has too much association with self-abasement,diminishing oneself in front of another - and on this aspect, I think humiliation is concerned only with people , not things.
    Even when I was a believer, I do not remember ever feeling humble where God was concerned, nor did I feel the opposite, whatever that is; perhaps that is what my parents imparted, orperhaps it is my character, i.e. one that feels neither superior nor inferior when meeting anyone. Respect and admiration for achievements is not and does not need humility I think
    I think respect, acknowledging one's limits, both what one can do and not do,

  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I once saw an episode of QI where the American comedian John Hodgeman was an extra panelist. Fry explained in the episode that his people had spotted Hodgeman in the audience before the show, and they had prevailed upon him to participate as a guest. I always thought well of Hodgeman after that. He is pretty good.
  • A Feminine ForceA Feminine Force Shipmate
    edited April 22
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I can see what you mean, but I do not think it is necessary to 'place everything above you', nor equally, is it necessary to place anything below.

    Well spoken, Left Hemisphere.

    I didn't say it was necessary. I said it's a natural outcome and a byproduct of a certain way of being in the moment and feeling.

    Of course it isn't necessary. It's just a very pleasant sensation to be in the wordless place of WOW. It feels good to feel good about everyone and everything. It naturally elevates the vibe and a rising tide raises all boats.
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think the word ]humility' has too much association with self-abasement,diminishing oneself in front of another - and on this aspect, I think humiliation is concerned only with people , not things.

    You might feel that way but that's personal. I don't feel that way about it at all.

    SusanDoris wrote: »
    Even when I was a believer, I do not remember ever feeling humble where God was concerned, nor did I feel the opposite, whatever that is; perhaps that is what my parents imparted, orperhaps it is my character, i.e. one that feels neither superior nor inferior when meeting anyone. Respect and admiration for achievements is not and does not need humility I think
    I think respect, acknowledging one's limits, both what one can do and not do,

    Well OK. For you, humility is linked to evaluation of one's ability. That's fine with me, it's just not how I would define it.

    For me humility is when Left Hemisphere just shuts the hell up for a few moments while the rest of me has a chance to be present in the moment - like @Simon Toad suggested.

    AFF


  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    edited April 23

    For me humility is when Left Hemisphere just shuts the hell up for a few moments while the rest of me has a chance to be present in the moment - like @Simon Toad suggested.

    AFF

    Exactly !

  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    For humility to be a virtue, I would say there is some sort of conscious decision made. Such as in a situation where someone says something that offends your pride, and you really want to reply in a one-upmanship way, a cheap put-down, but you recognise that is pride on your part, and you respond in a more mindful way.

    Things like when someone compliments you on something you’ve done and you respond by getting excited by the project itself rather than focusing on your talent - I do this, and it’s not humility, but simply natural to me to be absorbed in the project and uninterested in abstract ideas of me being a talented person. Too much multitasking if I have to then focus on myself. However, when I was much younger and I realised people wanted to focus on how talented I was, I would sometimes try to oblige by agreeing that I was very clever/talented - which didn’t go down too well! And ironically, that wasn’t pride, as interpreted, but my attempt to be more involved with what others wanted to discuss, rather than selfishly absorbed in the project!

    Regarding ego, I’ve found it necessary to acquire and cultivate some, because it seems necessary to function independently in the world. And people seem to be more comfortable with people who express self-awareness and some sort of sense of identity.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited April 23
    I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever been humble. I’m always proud of my achievements and those of my sons.

    Life has been a struggle against blame, punishment and many assumptions from others, especially in childhood, due to my ADHD and dyslexia. So I celebrate successes when they appear.

    I don’t ever knowingly put people down, and I think that’s because I’m very aware how it feels.

    I do know some truly humble people - people who always point to others and care for others above themselves. A Christlike attitude, except that most of them aren’t Christians.

    Was Jesus humble?
  • Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t ever knowingly put people down, and I think that’s because I’m very aware how it feels.
    Well, you express views on SoF which will have the same impact

  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t ever knowingly put people down, and I think that’s because I’m very aware how it feels.
    Well, you express views on SoF which will have the same impact

    ?

    Unpack please?
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate
    I'm finding it work out what might be a shared definition of humility. So much depends on context and specific discourse.

    We could talk about humility as a binary, in opposition to arrogance or hubris.

    We could talk about why humility as applied to women today is a suspect term for oppressed women suffering from low self-esteem and wanting to learn self-assertiveness and feel equal to men.

    We might also look at humility as a traditional religious virtue, associated with the deliberate denial of self and desire to overcome the vice of pride. Selflessness may help us draw closer to God: religious ecstasy has its etymology in ekstasis, to stand outside of self.

    Humility derives from the word humus and once referred simply to the poor, those humiliores who worked the soil as peasants, had few material possessions and no status in society. They were the humble of the earth.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t ever knowingly put people down, and I think that’s because I’m very aware how it feels.
    Well, you express views on SoF which will have the same impact.

    You think expressing views puts people down?
  • ExclamationMarkExclamationMark Shipmate
    edited April 23
    Lyda wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t ever knowingly put people down, and I think that’s because I’m very aware how it feels.
    Well, you express views on SoF which will have the same impact

    ?

    Unpack please?

    By expressing a contrary opinion to someone else in terms which may be less than cordial (borne no doubt out of frustration)
  • Boogie wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t ever knowingly put people down, and I think that’s because I’m very aware how it feels.
    Well, you express views on SoF which will have the same impact.

    You think expressing views puts people down?

    It can do - it depends on the tone and spirit in which it is offered. The former being particularly hard to define on line
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t ever knowingly put people down, and I think that’s because I’m very aware how it feels.
    Well, you express views on SoF which will have the same impact.

    You think expressing views puts people down?

    It can do - it depends on the tone and spirit in which it is offered. The former being particularly hard to define on line.

    What are you saying? That I put people down online?

    That everyone puts people down online without knowing it?

    That we shouldn’t disagree with people online in case they feel put down?

    That my claim to ‘never knowingly put anyone down’ due to knowing how it feels is wrong?

  • GwaiGwai Purgatory Host
    Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t ever knowingly put people down, and I think that’s because I’m very aware how it feels.
    Well, you express views on SoF which will have the same impact

    This is overly personal. Such comments belong in Hell not here.

    Gwai,
    Purgatory Host
  • The WombatThe Wombat Shipmate
    'Find it in the Supermarket' - probably a lot in this. I was behind an elderly Lady in the Bank queue today. It was obvious that she was drawing out a lot of money and the Bank Clerk was seriously worried that she had been subject to fraudulent pressure. My wait was quite long but I was impressed with the dedication of the Clerk. The Elderly Lady was taken off to a side room for a 'cup of tea' whilst detailed checks were made. I am not aware of the outcome. I 'discovered'today that 'caring for others' can be done by Bank Clerks just as much as Nurses. I think the talents shown by the Clerk were 'Empathy and Concern' - so maybe those 2 are building blocks of Humility ?
  • The Wombat wrote: »
    'Find it in the Supermarket' - probably a lot in this. I was behind an elderly Lady in the Bank queue today. It was obvious that she was drawing out a lot of money and the Bank Clerk was seriously worried that she had been subject to fraudulent pressure. My wait was quite long but I was impressed with the dedication of the Clerk. The Elderly Lady was taken off to a side room for a 'cup of tea' whilst detailed checks were made. I am not aware of the outcome. I 'discovered'today that 'caring for others' can be done by Bank Clerks just as much as Nurses. I think the talents shown by the Clerk were 'Empathy and Concern' - so maybe those 2 are building blocks of Humility ?
    What a lovely example of caring in the everyday. We live in a world which is so busy and time pressured yet the bank clerk took the time to ensure that lady was properly served and cared for. And by being patient and not moaning, you did to.
    I’m definitely a fan of finding humility in the supermarket, that is, by having caring relationships with others in our everyday lives, even with strangers. Empathy, as you say, might be a component of that.
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I can see what you mean, but I do not think it is necessary to 'place everything above you', nor equally, is it necessary to place anything below.

    Well spoken, Left Hemisphere.

    I didn't say it was necessary. I said it's a natural outcome and a byproduct of a certain way of being in the moment and feeling.

    Of course it isn't necessary. It's just a very pleasant sensation to be in the wordless place of WOW. It feels good to feel good about everyone and everything. It naturally elevates the vibe and a rising tide raises all boats.
    I certainly do know what you mean here. However, as an ancient person, I find that those moments of getting carried away by just the sheer joy of something are rare!:smiley: But I can remember them!
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think the word ]humility' has too much association with self-abasement,diminishing oneself in front of another - and on this aspect, I think humiliation is concerned only with people , not things.

    You might feel that way but that's personal. I don't feel that way about it at all.

    SusanDoris wrote: »
    Even when I was a believer, I do not remember ever feeling humble where God was concerned, nor did I feel the opposite, whatever that is; perhaps that is what my parents imparted, orperhaps it is my character, i.e. one that feels neither superior nor inferior when meeting anyone. Respect and admiration for achievements is not and does not need humility I think
    I think respect, acknowledging one's limits, both what one can do and not do,

    Well OK. For you, humility is linked to evaluation of one's ability. That's fine with me, it's just not how I would define it.

    For me humility is when Left Hemisphere just shuts the hell up for a few moments while the rest of me has a chance to be present in the moment - like @Simon Toad suggested.

    AFF
    Thank you - and I certainly admire the way you write.

  • A Feminine ForceA Feminine Force Shipmate
    edited April 23
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    you - and I certainly admire the way you write.

    You are so kind and I have said before how much I appreciate your presence, and still do. I'm glad you can hear the tone I am posting in - sometimes I feel it comes across dry.

    I'm happy that you are still able to access that way of being. I find that it's like anything that doesn't get used frequently, more effort is required to deliberately exercise those "muscles". Neural pathways fall into disuse, get overgrown with weeds, the track gets fainter and more difficult to follow.

    Maybe there's something to be said here about the path to the Kingdom? As I do believe it is within.

    The grooves of our left-brain trauma-management rational-control get worn and widened with habitual use. For myself, I can see mine is like the 401 corridor: an eighteen lane well maintained central artery funnelling three million cars a day through the center of town. Left hemispheric activity is always going somewhere - from the past to the future, from future to past, racing back and forth.

    The path through the garden of the right hemisphere is narrow, not reflexive, and not well trodden. It doesn't go anywhere, there is no "there" to go to. It just is. Mysterious, beautiful and very very very silent.

    AFF








  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    I see a difference between 'being humbled' and 'humility.'

    Being humbled (very different from being humiliated - which is about being shamed) is a state that happens when in awe of great natural beauty or when someone treats you with an undeserved graciousness when you've been a bit of a prick. It's not a choice you make or a virtue. It's something you experience from external circumstances.

    Humility, on the other hand, is a choice you make. To my understanding, it's not about devaluing yourself or your talents. It's more about choosing not to get into one-upmanship games, not attempting to impress people or to devalue people, or get on your high horse.

    And yes, Jesus was humble. Quite aside from the obvious passage in Philippians 2, which sums up his humility, it can also be seen in his responses to the people who jeer at him and put him down. He doesn't say 'How very dare you?! Cheeky sod! I'm far more important than all of you put together - and far more powerful, and I can prove it!' I often think how tempting it must have been to prove it. Neither does he put himself down or act like a doormat - that wouldn't be humility either. He challenges and confronts these people, draws attention to the harmfulness of their behaviour, but he doesn't make it about himself, or an ego battle he has to win. Rather, he is warning people about the harmfulness of this behaviour.

    I tend to think both the state of being humbled and the virtue of humility are temporary things. Our more natural state is pride.
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