Understanding Humility

Humility: Origin:1275-1325; Middle English humilite Latin humilitas. The quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.
Dictionary.com Unabridged | Based on the Random House Dictionary

Synonyms: self-effacement, unpretentiousness, humbleness, modesty, meekness, shyness.
Antonym: arrogance.
MSN Encarta

  • Humility is humbleness — reserved and unobtrusive in demeanor.
  • Humility is obedience — respectful, courteous.
  • Humility is demureness — reserved in speech, behavior or dress.
  • Humility is modesty — lack of vanity or self-importance.
  • Humility is docility — peaceful and gentle.

Benefits of Humility

  • Humility provides a level playing field — no one person is better than the next.
  • Humility provides opportunity — by maintaining an open mind, ever-willing to learn.
  • Humility provides comfort — by being a member and participant in humanity.
  • Humility provides freedom — from self-pride and self-arrogance, which stand in the way of growth.
  • Humility provides reassurance — by raising up those lost inside themselves with low esteem and low self-worth.

Acts of Humility in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — Throughout both Old and New Testaments, humility is praised. "The humble," it is said, "shall inherit the land" (Ps. 37:11).
  • Giving credit where credit is due — Acknowledging and appreciating where people come from and the hard work it takes to get to where they've gotten.
  • Making mistakes — A non-stop reminder of our imperfections and limitations, of our frailties and complete humanness.
  • Having Heroes — Honoring and celebrating the lives of those who have gone above and beyond accepted standards even in the face of great obstacles.
  • Positive Parenting — Teaching our children the healthy balance of ego, leading to self-acceptance and altruism leading to acceptance of others.

Methods for Achieving Humility

  • Check in on your Opinions — Make certain they are current, your own and relevant.
  • Develop Affirmations — Affirm and follow-through on belief in self and in others.
  • Look for Similarities — Seek to find what makes all humankind common travelers, journeying through life.
  • Ask Questions — Develop a child's willingness to admit ignorance and fun in learning.
  • Accept Imperfections — In both yourself as well as in others.

Golden Mean

Obsequiousness, Docility, Abasement

Quotes for Humility

He who sacrifices a whole offering shall be rewarded for a whole offering; he who offers a burnt-offering shall have the reward of a burnt-offering; but he who offers humility to God and man shall be rewarded with a reward as if he had offered all the sacrifices in the world.
- The Talmud -
Humility leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them.
- John J. McCloy -
Some persons are always ready to level those above them down to themselves, while they are never willing to level those below them up to their own position. But he that is under the influence of true humility will avoid both these extremes. On the the one hand, he will be willing that all should rise just so far as their diligence and worth of character entitle them to; and on the other hand, he will be willing that his superiors should be known and acknowledged in their place, and have rendered to them all the honors that are their due.
- Johnathan Edwards -
True humility — the basis of the Christian system — is the low but deep and firm foundation of all virtues.
- Edmund Burke -

Recommended Reading

Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness — by Andrew Murray

This is a very easy to read and beautiful book about Biblical humility. Murray defines humility as something other than a feeling, considering it more of a mindset and lifestyle. The book makes a wonderful case to help readers live a more humble life.

Humility, the Lost Virtue and A Search for Truth — by Lillian Canucio

Mrs. Carucio writes as the voice of the "Moral Majority" strongly advocating for high moral standards of days gone by. A great source of values, morals and virtues with a super high dosage of Humility thrown in.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness. Benjamin Franklin