Most of us wouldn’t mind being a little more humble, but oh how we hate to be humbled! That hurts our pride, but that kind of pain is good for us if we can welcome it and let it accomplish its purpose. Remember the mantra of Olympians: No pain, no gain!
Look for the best in people. Everyone has had some experience you haven’t had and is therefore your superior in that respect. As the American scholar and author George Herbert Palmer (1842–1933) said, “I am defeated, and know it, if I meet any human being from whom I find myself unable to learn anything.”
Give sincere compliments. It’s hard to look down on others while telling them what you admire about them. The more you put positive thoughts about others into words, the more good you’ll see in them and the less likely you will be to fall into the egotism trap.
Be quick to admit your mistakes and apologize. It’s been said that the hardest words to say in any language are “I was wrong” and “I’m sorry.” Those who refuse to do so out of pride are likely to keep making the same mistakes and alienate people in the process.
Admit your limitations and needs. It’s human nature to want to appear strong and self-sufficient, but that usually only makes things harder. Ask for and accept the help of others, and you’ll come out miles ahead.
Serve others. Volunteer to help the elderly, the infirm, or children, or do some other form of community service. You’ll gain more than you give.
Learn something new—a new skill, language, sport, or hobby. Starting from scratch is nearly always humbling, but the rewards are manifold. Apart from benefitting from a new skill, your example will encourage others and, contrary to what your pride tells you, win their admiration and respect.
Give God the credit for anything good about you and anything good that He helps you do. The Bible instructs: “The wise should not boast of their wisdom, nor the strong of their strength, nor the rich of their wealth. If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me, because my love is constant, and I do what is just and right.”1
Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers.—Swami Sivananda (1887–1963)
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 (354–430)
- Jeremiah 9:23–24 GNT ↩