Humility is one of the most essential vertues we try to achieve, as hard as it may be. Why should you aspire for it and how can you achieve it?
You meet people in your life you can never forget; some for their greatness and kindness, while others for their extreme vulgarity and arrogance. I will never forget the time I was introduced to a woman who, after exchanging our hello’s, asked if “I knew who she was”. I replied courteously and said, “It’s a pleasure meeting you, but I don’t”. She replied by giving me a detailed account of everything she has ever accomplished in her life, without me taking part in the conversation. I left that exchange knowing who she was indeed, a very self-centered individual. Moral of the story: first impressions are everything, so talk to people the way you want to be portrayed.
That was an encounter I remember until today, because arrogance is an unforgettable quality. Humility on the other hand is one of the most beautiful traits a person can have. Being humble is not easy because it requires recognizing and accepting your own limitations. This refers to the notion that as humans we are not perfect, and no matter what we have accomplished there are still many things out there that we have yet to overcome and achieve.
As such, no matter how good you are at something, there will always be people who are better at it. Be careful though, this does not suggest that you should understate your achievements or that you shouldn’t be proud of what you do. But I’m sure we can all tell the difference between bragging and egotism and sharing accomplishments like you would share anything else.
Words like egotism, narcissism, self-obsession more or less in a sense are qualities of people who see themselves superior to others due to their appearance, accomplishments, or self-worth. People are like this due to several reasons and it is most often believed that they’re masking some sort of insecurity. Or perhaps they are uneducated about the world and seem to be stuck in their own bubble, and as such they try to cope with the unknown by bringing people down. But let’s not get into that.
“Verily, Allah has revealed to me that you must be humble towards one another, so that no one wrongs another or boasts to another.” Prophet Mohammed PBUH – Source: Sahih Muslim
Being humble might not come naturally to some, and it’s not because they gloat on purpose but maybe they “over” admire themselves at times. It is nonetheless important for such people to try to let go of any ounce of arrogance they might have. Some people need help coming back to planet earth, so what steps can be taken to do so?
Well, it’s simple. First of all, you need to realize you are not perfect, just like everyone else. So why not start by judging your own flaws rather than judging others? After you realize your own flaws, learn to accept and admit them. We are all human and we all make mistakes, admitting that is a great step towards humility.
Secondly, understand that there are many factors that led to your personal success, that don’t necessarily trace back to you! These could be supportive friends, government, or parents, who created a certain set of circumstances that led to your success. Again, not to say that it’s not a result of your hard work, but always remember there are people who are just as successful as you with far worse circumstances.
Thirdly, appreciation and gratitude towards what you have and what you don’t is imperative. Be thankful for who you have become and be thankful for all the misfortunes you do not have. Since everything in this life is temporary, everything that makes you who you are today can easily disappear. One’s health and wealth are some of the ornaments that can vanish without warning.
Being humble will help you create stronger social relationships with your peers and will make you a relatable individual. We all look up to people throughout history and in modern day society who are humble considering what they have achieved and who they have become. So why don’t we mimic not only their success but their humility too?
Shamma holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and a BA in International Affairs. She currently works as an instructor at Zayed University. Having volunteered with people with disability for more than 10 years, she devotes her career and free time to work closely with vulnerable groups to create a visible impact in society. Having interests in philosophy, human psyche, sociology, and literature her column “12 Lessons” will focus on issues that we face as a part of the trial and error process that is life.
Latest posts by Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD) (see all)
- What Is Failure? - February 19, 2017
- Tolerance In A Globalized World - December 29, 2016
- Let’s Put Thought Into Practice, Let’s Be Mindful and Grateful - September 6, 2016