Humility comes easier to some more than others. Nonetheless, if you care for the feelings of others, if you do not treat them with disdain or callousness, then you’re halfway there. To be humble is to be compassionate and considerate.
A quote attributed to theologian C.S.Lewis notes, “humility is not thinking less of oneself but to think of one’s self less” (or less often). The key to humility then, is to focus less on yourself, and focus more on others or how you relate with others.
1. Meditate on your place in the world
Meditation is a contemplative practice that will help you properly situate yourself in the world. Excessive pride is a form of narcissism that puts the self above everything else. Pride will ruthlessly protect the ego; pride can close you off from the world, as your ego always strives to set you apart.
Humility, on the other hand, is being open to the world, and seeing oneself in a much larger context. Pride is aggrandizement, humility is closer to reality. The regular practice of meditation, of mindfulness and transcendence of self, will aid you in developing a much healthier sense of self.
2. Recognize that you are part of a community
Perhaps the easiest path to pricking self-importance is to remember that it takes billions of people for the world to turn, and while we are caught up in our own activities, we cannot function alone. If a meteor crashed into Earth tomorrow and you were the sole survivor, how long would you last?
Every person in the world is unique, has a place, and has a function. Illiterate or literate, blue collar worker or white collar worker, able-bodied or differently-abled. There are myriad things that make the world go ‘round, that make your life easier, and you cannot possibly take on all these tasks.
3. Respect what others can do for you
Some skills are more valued than others, but the very fact that you yourself cannot do a job offhand should already earn your respect. Being stranded with a malfunctioning car makes you value the services provided by a good mechanic. Plagued by termites makes you value the services of pest control.
A heart attack makes you value the services of a doctor and nutritionist. You can pay for these services, but having the capacity to offer payment does not place you above the person offering his services.
4. Don’t stand in the way
Perhaps you are used to getting your way, used to a leadership position, and have never been overlooked. However, you do not always have to be the leader, the one who makes the decisions, particularly if it concerns a group. You do not always have to be the person who is right.
How sure are you that your ideas are not already shared by others or that there are no better ways to accomplish something? Learn how to listen first before you speak. Step back and be part of the group, be “among” them rather than always “on top” of them. Perhaps they may not be as assertive as you are, but everyone has a contribution to make; draw that out, rather than imposing your own.
5. Be thankful. Show appreciation
You will be admired, and you will be praised, but don’t imagine that this is something that is your due. Appreciate recognition from others, thank them. Thank also the people who helped you reach a position whereby you can accomplish something. Credit their contribution.
Source: Operation Meditation;