Humility is the opposite of arrogance and narcissism. It means recognising that you are not inherently superior to others and consequently that they are not inferior to you. It does not mean diminishing yourself, nor does it mean exalting yourself.
Humility is not something that comes naturally to most, especially in today’s busy competitive society. Every day, people see others taking advantage of a situation trying to get ahead. A humble person is someone who does not boast or try to impress themselves on you. They are generally quiet, meek and typically not self serving. This is a good set of attributes to be seen but is a very difficult trait to be known for; since being humble involves so many behaviours in our lives and is really the opposite of the way most people are living their lives. I believe that being humble means to be truthful and honest. A humble individual does things without regard for personal gain.
These are a few of the ways we can practice humility: Speak as little as possible of oneself. Mind one’s own business. Avoid curiosity. Do not want to manage other people’s affairs. Accept contradiction and correction cheerfully. Pass over mistakes of others. Accept blame when innocent. Yield to the will of others. Accept insults and injuries. Accept being slighted, forgotten, and disliked. Be kind and gentle even under provocation. Do not seek to be specially loved and admired. Never stand on one’s dignity. Yield in discussion even though one is right. Choose always the hardest.
To be selfless is one aspect of humility; being humble means you do something nice for someone, like open the door for a woman struggling with three children or giving up the last seat on a crowded train, without expecting anything in return. You are satisfied because of the act itself and not from the breathless “thank -you” from the mom or the loud “you are so kind!” from the person to whom you gave your seat. When you see someone who seems to exist for the sole purpose to care for and be kind to others, or someone who gives up things so another person can have a necessity they lack, the word that comes to mind is humility.
A person who expects something in return for any act of kindness, no matter how big or small, and becomes upset when they receive nothing, is not showing humility. A truly humble person is fulfilled without the need for recognition.
Have you ever said, “I’m sorry” just because you felt like it was required and not because you actually meant it? That is not a way to show humility. It is nice when you apologise or admit you made a mistake. However, it only truly means something to the person you are speaking to when it is sincere and honest. When you admit the error of your ways and make a concerted effort to show that you were wrong, that is a humble act. It shows more strength in your character to be humble and apologise and mean it, than to try and defend your actions.
No one will learn anything at all, unless one first learns humility!