"As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." -Nelson Mandela
Humility: a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.
There is an irony to me wanting to talk about this subject. In order to get my point across, it almost comes off as the opposite of humility.
How do you meet humility in your life?
At some point along the way I began to realize that humility was something that both captivated me, challenged me and at my core brought me peace.
Early on I was raised with the importance being placed on how well you shined in the world. Appearances were everything and accomplishments defining. It never felt right to me, and essentially guided me down the traumatic path I walked before coming to my own acceptance of self. Later I would see that this false sense of humility ingrained in me was asking others to ‘look at the good I am, or I do’ was intrinsically dangerous pride.
Pride is what kills all.
Pride keeps us from loving ourselves.
I knew from the beginning; my work had a purpose. My work took a different approach than others who did similar work. I started out vulnerable, and I consistently used that as a measure to how I progressed with my overall goal in my work. Bottom line, I wanted to help people.
I knew that the only way I was going to be able to do that was to be vulnerable and in truth tell my story as it is. Not everyone had been doing that when I started out. People wanted to look perfected in order to gain status. I wanted to look real, for I knew I was living it. I knew the help I could offer others was going to come from me meeting them on the same path. Me meeting humility; this brought me peace.
Today, I do the work I love. I create retreats, author books, and speak to women (and men) all over the world knowing I am offering something. I by far do not always make what I need, but that was never the point. I want to share my story in order to help people. I find an incredible passion for leading others on their called path to exploring their journey.
I was offered to take my work to another level. I had publishers who were interested in my work, but I chose to self-publish. I had folks who wanted to represent me with my speaking tours, but I opted to keep it simple. I keep my rates to a bare minimum despite the constant pushback to raise them higher, for I do not believe in turning anyone away.
This is how I meet humility. I am not a saint by far. This is what is comfortable for me along the lines of my work.
How can you speak of your own humility?
There are eight marks of humility that can take focus: authenticity, confidence, gratitude, love, praise, empowerment, mentoring and breaking barriers.
It is not as simple as one would first presume. I heard it said somewhere that humility is the truth about ourselves loved. That statement in itself is rather beautiful and difficult for many. Loving ourselves is one of the hardest things we humans can do. We can be our own worst enemy on most days.
Authentic love dares to see the whole of the person and accept it unconditionally. That is where confidence builds, and gratitude follows. From there our self-empowerment can come naturally, we find ourselves mentoring by simply living well in this truth and essentially we break barriers.
A truly humble person is most often well-grounded in the truth about themselves. While true, isn’t that a work in progress to be grounded and aware in who we are at our core? Do we ever really get there 100%? Embracing this idea is key, but it can be a bumpy road.
Developing humility can come as a journey. When we spend more time actually listening to others, not just humoring them, we understand presence. It is with this mindfulness that humility comes outside of ourselves to be there for another. Finding gratitude for this time and so many pieces of our day is key. I think people often look too hard for gratitude; they assume it needs to be grand, when just the other day I was so grateful for seeing a butterfly on the trail that reminded me of my beloved beagle who passed away recently. So small, but my heart was overflowing.
Humility can put ourselves at the center, but it is how you stand in that center that defines you. Can you ask for help when you really need it? Or does pride get in the way of this basic need? Can you seek sincere feedback from others seeing it as a helpful guide, rather than an attack? What are characteristics of humility for you? Walk through your journey thus far and consider how you have approached humility.
When we are situationally aware of who we are and accept this part of ourselves our intentional life unfolds. We find we can retain relationships that support and lift us up. A once difficult decision-making process now flows with ease.
Our first thought is to put others before ourselves. We want to listen humbly to those in our path and be of support or service to them. When we speak in humility, we speak words that do not wound others, but share the lessons we are grateful to have learned along the way. But, most importantly, those who embrace humility say, ‘thank you,’ often.
Humility is having an honest opinion of oneself that will thus put everything else into perspective. In the twelve steps, step 7 asks us to humbly remove our shortcomings. I remember this so well in my recovery days from anorexia. Every time I heard it aloud, I felt the empowerment within the act. Had I never asked these questions before? It came down to me embracing that the change was in my hands. It is here I return to the phrase I mentioned, humility is the truth about ourselves loved. What was/is my truth? That, maybe, when I accepted this truth, I could finally find a love for myself within
Can you set aside your fears and allow yourself to walk into the presence of your own humility?
In all things I always say, it is a journey not a destination. I humbly ask you to walk the path that is true for you today.
What is the truth about you loved?
How do you want to meet yourself and others in humility?
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Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.