Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility. –Saint Augustine
Humility gets a bad rap in the world today. And why wouldn’t it? It is the root of the word humiliated, and no one wishes to experience that feeling. Most people know logically that humility is a virtue, but emotionally, I think people tend to think of it as a mixed bag… it can be good, but, too much, and we run the risk of becoming door mats. Yet, most, if not all, religions preach of its importance, and in recovery, it is an absolute necessity to true peace and happiness.
I know when I think of humility, I feel unsure of its exact meaning. Modest is the first synonym that comes to mind, and pride is what I think when I consider its opposite. But, like so many things, I may understand that humility is something to which I should aspire, I may even deeply desire to perfect it, but how do I, in a practical sense, achieve it?
As a person who tends to move in the direction of valuing myself less than I should, my chief concern in practicing humility is that I will go to extremes with it and lose any sense of self-worth. But then I heard a fantastic piece of wisdom: humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.
Further, in maintaining a low sense of self-worth, I am doing the opposite of what God wants for me, so I am being anything but virtuous. By viewing myself as less than, I am devaluing God’s work (namely, me). So for now, until I can get a better handle on what true humility looks like, I will go for presenting the most honest version of myself that I know how, and not worrying so much about my wants and needs, and I am sure God (and those around me) will appreciate the effort!