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Be Humble

Harold Kushner once said, “Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.”

Have you ever stumbled upon statements like ‘Be humble’, ‘put your feet on the ground’, ‘remember your roots’? Did you ever ponder upon these phrases, trying to understand what meaning they hold in our lives? In this fast-paced world, where everyone is so focused on their self-image, immersed in self-obsession, humility is the most valued trait. Humility, also known as modesty, is having a realistic view of the self and self-importance. It is often confused with having a low self-esteem but there is a delicate line between the two. Humility makes one recognize their flaws and weaknesses, that one is not supreme. Low self-esteem, on the other hand, focuses only on the flaws, completely unaware of the existence of strengths in oneself. Humility is an asset of self-improvement, identifying the weak areas and striving to improve them by building a better foundation. The famous British poet Alfred Tennyson described humility as “the highest virtue, the mother of them all”. Philosophers, great thinkers, sociologists, and preachers across regions and religions have always placed emphasis on humility as a virtue. As children, we were taught about the importance of having humility and kindness. Not only this but being humble also carries lots of benefits and the most important of these is being able to build a strong and healthy relationship. A humble person is more likeable, we all want to be friends with people who are not arrogant or who are not always bragging on how good they are, we all want to be friends with someone who is less self-centered, gives us more importance, one who understands us, our qualities and our flaws too. So, the humbler we are, the more people will feel confident in being friends with us. Although there are people who do charitable acts for purely selfish and boasting-related reasons, most people do them out of their own kindness. People who are humble are more likely to help others in need than those who are not humble. By having a more down-to-earth view of yourself, you will be able to relate more to others. An arrogant self-centered person may see others as beneath them, not worth the time or effort. A humble person might see those same people not as those beneath them, but as those in need. This shift in perspective could lead to more altruistic behavior. It is said that humble people can handle stress more effectively and report higher levels of physical and mental well-being. They also show greater generosity, helpfulness, and gratitude—all things that can only serve to bring us closer to others. Humility cultivates a powerful compassion for humanity. When we are humble, we accept our own flaws and limitations. This kind of self-acceptance arises from keeping us grounded and seeing worth in our intrinsic value as human beings rather than materialistic things and achievements. Humble people place high value on more meaningful things that benefit others, such as noble qualities. They also see life as a school, recognizing that while none of us is perfect, we can, without negatively impacting our self-esteem, work on our limitations by being open to new ideas, advice, and criticism. Being humble is not very difficult but we may still feel difficulty in cultivating the habit of humility. And this journey is not just for the average person, but one that many of our greatest leaders have embarked upon. Let us try to understand this concept with a story. One hot afternoon on a beach, people noticed a young girl drowning. They quickly rescued her. The little girl was unconscious. An old man from a nearby cottage hurriedly reached for the girl laid down on the seashore. As the old man was about to hold the girl, a furious guy warned the people surrounding the girl to step aside, including the old man. “I was trained to do CPR. Stay out of this! Let me do it!” the guy exclaimed. The old man stood up and stepped behind the guy and watched quietly while the latter was performing CPR for the girl. After almost a minute, the little girl regained consciousness. The people around them felt relieved and began applauding the guy. The old man, who looks very happy, gratefully congratulated the guy as well. After two hours, however, the guy who saved the girl suddenly felt too much fatigue, experienced difficulty in breathing and became unconscious. A few minutes later, he woke up in an ambulance rushing him to the nearest hospital. Beside him was the old man he saw earlier at the beach now checking his pulse rate. The old man did the CPR on him while he was unconscious. This time he learned that the old man is a doctor. “Why didn’t you tell me you’re a doctor?” he asked. The doctor just smiled and answered: “It doesn’t matter to me whether you call me a doctor or not. A precious life is in danger. I became a doctor, not for fame, but to save lives. We had the same goal, and that was to save the girl. Nothing can surpass the feeling that you have just saved another life. There’s a lot of things to be protected other than our ego.” The teary-eyed man humbly said: “Well, you have just saved two more lives today.”

So how do we do try to imply this concept in our lives? There are many scientifically-based ways to start, of these is embracing your humanity. We all are humans; we all can fail in spite of putting our best efforts. When we tie our happiness or self-esteem to our worldly affairs or medals or popularity or achievements, we may suffer in failures which takes a long time to get resolved but not so if we are humble and accept our shortcomings as well as our achievements, when we are humble, we are able to handle our failures and withstand them because we are all humans and humans can fail too. Another way of developing humility is practicing mindfulness and self-compassion. In recent years, mindfulness and self-compassion have been linked to greater psychological resilience and emotional well-being. This is very essential in developing humility. Mindfulness grows our self-awareness by giving us permission to stop and notice our thoughts and emotions without judgment. The more we become aware of our inner lives, the easier it is to see where unhealthy beliefs and actions might be limiting us. Noticing and then accepting those parts of ourselves that are wreaking havoc and that require us to change calls for self-compassion, or treating oneself with kindness and understanding. Once we accept what needs changing, then we can start the process of transformation. Another way of developing humility is expressing gratitude, saying “thank you” means that we recognize the gifts that come into our lives and, as a result, acknowledge the value of other people. gratitude can make us less self-focused and more focused on those around us—a hallmark of humble people. This specific one should be about being humble, no matter how much you achieve. How you should be one among the people, and most importantly, the eagerness to help others reach the level you're in. A recent study found that gratitude and humility are mutually reinforcing. Expressing gratitude can induce humility in us, and humble people have a greater capacity for conveying gratitude According to scientists, humble people have an accurate picture of themselves—both their faults and their gifts—which helps them to see what might need changing within. Humility or being humble is a great virtue but is often misunderstood and mistaken to be a weakness. Humility amplifies certain qualities. It brings to the fore abilities such as reliability, magnanimity, and generosity. It makes you kind and compassionate and helps in improving your social standing. While we need to believe in ourselves and be confident, nothing can justify the idea that we are superior to others. We are living in a “me first” world. Nowadays, many people want instant gratification and to be on top. We can make a difference if we stay humble. If you’re placid, meek and humble, people will love you. People will have faith in you without forcing them to do so. Always remember that a good leader is also a good follower. To close with the words of one who knew humility, Nelson Mandela: “As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself…Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, and humility.”

Article Written by Pallavi Singh

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