Understanding Humility

Humility: Origin:1275-1325; Middle English humilite Latin humilitas. The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; a modest estimate of one's own worth; an act of submission or courtesy.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

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

  • Humility is obedience — dutiful and compliant.
  • Humility is humbleness — modesty, never displaying arrogance.
  • Humility is reserve — strength held in readiness for a time when it is needed.
  • Humility is unobtrusiveness — inconspicuous, not trying to stand out.
  • Humility is unpretentiousness — modest, without loud display.

Benefits of Humility

  • Humility provides freedom — from egoism and self-centeredness.
  • Humility provides ability — to stand back and allow others to shine.
  • Humility provides sincerity — of purpose and intent.
  • Humility provides impact — positively influencing those we contact.
  • Humility provides strength — that comes from practicing obedience.

Acts of Humility in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — It was Jesus who said that the meek shall inherit the earth, rewarding the obedient and those that develop and live with humility.
  • People in the Military — Not only are these people courageous and willing to put their lives on the line to defend a cause, but they must learn obedience and discipline that help them experience humility.
  • Those who say "Oops" — People who acknowledge they may have made a mistake, are living examples of those strengthening their "humility" muscle.
  • Members of Sports Teams — By being on a team you learn to appreciate each person's strengths and find a way to work together so each is giving their best effort.
  • Positive Parenting — Teach and model respectful speech each and every time with each and every conversation, especially those where we are in "parent mode."

Methods for Achieving Humility

  • Learn to Take Pleasure, not Pride — All things wonderful are gifts from God, they are for us to enjoy and take pleasure in.
  • Pray for and Practice Acceptance — Start with self-acceptance. Then accepting others becomes easier.
  • Stay Away from Arrogance — Keep responsibility and authority in proper perspective.
  • Volunteer — Do something that helps others who are vulnerable and in need.
  • Speak Gently to all People at all Times — Always treat people as equals.

Golden Mean

Obsequiousness, Docility, Abasement

Quotes for Humility

Wash out your ego every once in a while, as cleanliness is next to godliness not just in body but in humility as well.
- Abbe Yeux-verdi -
Humility is the beginning - and end - of Wisdom.
- A.C. Fabretti -
It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.
- Nicolo Machiavelli -
Nobody stands taller than those willing to stand corrected.
- William Satire -
It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.
- Unknonwn Author -

Recommended Reading

Humility: True Greatness — by C.J. Mahaney

A wonderful teaching on humility and how to learn discipline and bring people closer to God. Mr. Mahaney tells readers by living with true humility and calling on personal experiences to help people live a more humility-filled life.

Humility & Absolute Surrender — by Andrew Murray

A very solid text that helps anybody who wants to develop a way to get closer to God. This one is very meaty and there is a lot to absorb and reflect on, but the book makes a real strong, lasting impression.

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