Humility is said to be the FIRST of virtues. Why? Is it because we are suppose to think less of ourselves? No! Our value is tremendous and priceless.
Humility is the first of virtues because from it all other virtues arise.
Can you live without humility? Can you forgive without humility? Can you SEE and correct your wrongs without humility? Can we stop hurting others without humility? Can we sacrifice for another without humility? Can we repent and repair without humility? Can we stop feeling so entitled without humility? Can we serve without humility? Can we empathize without humility? Can we give without humility? Can we see beyond the deep valleys life puts us in without humility?
There is a reason this is the first of virtues and there is a reason this virtue is discussed philosophically, religiously, spiritually, AND psychologically.
Christian traditions teach us to be like Christ, clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, patience, and gentleness (Colossians 3:12), but other traditions espouse similar values too. Poets like Ernest Hemingway said, “The secret of wisdom, power, and knowledge is humility. And philosophers like Confucius said, “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.”
Humility is also seen as a character strength under the category of temperance in positive psychology and promotes self-regulations, forgiveness, and managing habits of excess.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It does not mean we should have low self-esteem. Instead, it is an awareness of oneself, awareness of gaps in one’s knowledge, and awareness of strengths in others. This is a strength because it is an ability to balance between not bowing to every demand placed on us, but also not being overly self-critical. It is healthy self-esteem while also focusing on the wellbeing of others.
To be more humble one can:
-Listen deeply and intently to others. Don’t just listen to respond! Listen to hear!
-Focus on the present
-Practice Gratitude. When you are gracious you look at the gifts you receive and acknowledge that they came from something/someone outside yourself.
-Pause, recognize mistakes (everyone makes them!!), take accountability, apologize and rectify those mistakes. Pride and ego have no place where people are being hurt.
-Accept feedback and constructive criticism! Others may be trying to tell you about their boundaries or areas of pain. Listen and see how that feedback can ease their pain while leading to your own path of improvement.
-Ask for help. We will never know everything. Asking others for help will again move you further on the path of self-improvement.
-Empathize with others and care for them.
Humility is a tremendous virtue from which many others arise. The more we practice it the more we serve others, the kinder our world will be, and the more progress we make in ourselves!
Center for Authentic Resilient Empowerment