Big and Humble

Being humble is regularly confused with hiding or encouraging low self-esteem. C.S. Lewis is quoted frequently as saying, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less." Lewis was right. You can be significant and humble. Being big is not equated to being arrogant or prideful; it is merely knowing that you are good just as you are.

Part of being humble is putting yourself out in the world so you can share your gifts with humanity. The next time you consider making yourself small so that you or others can be comfortable so that you do not risk putting yourself out into the world, stop and think. Am I trying to make myself smaller? Am I hiding? Be big. Be humble. Be out there!

Live Your Potential

Individuals that practice humility always appear to have a sense of how to live their life to its fullest potential. They seem sure of where their next step will be and where it will lead them. Meanwhile, you are constantly worrying about what others will think of the path you walk, the mistakes you make, and the achievements you may or may not have.

Being humble allows you to cast off the expectations and worries that come with thinking about what others think. In doing this, you will be able to rest assured that you know what is best for yourself and that you are always treading in the right direction. This will also allow you to focus on yourself, where you want to go, and what you want to do. You will be able to live your life to your fullest potential, not someone else's. 

Question Your Assumptions

Everyone has assumptions, even though the adage tells us not to assume and what doing so makes us. We still do, though. We make assumptions about people, places, belief systems, and so much more. Part of being humble is having an open mind, willingness to learn about others. If you are going to be big and humble and share yourself, you should be willing to learn about others as well.

When your ideas seem to be presumptuous, question them. Why do you think that? Do you have evidence to support it? Is there a way you can learn more? Someone you can talk to or information you can read? Constantly questioning your assumptions will not only allow you to remain humble, but it will also allow you to learn and grow from others.

Acknowledge Setbacks

Setbacks are part of life; they happen to everyone. For most people, their initial reaction is to fight against an obstacle. Fight against it happening, fight to reverse it, and fight to overcome it. Instead of fighting against it and wasting valuable energy, consider taking on the situation with a little bit of humility. Acknowledge that setbacks are going to happen and work to make a plan for yourself on how to cope. When you come up against an obstacle, admit it, figure out what led to it, and how you can do better next time. Then do it!

Setbacks are not the end of the world, though we frequently treat them like it. Taking obstacles with a little grace and humility will save you energy and time in the long run and allow you to learn valuable lessons along the way.

Be Grateful

Gratitude is making a comeback. It is all over social media, encouraging people to take the time to write down what they are grateful for every day. This isn't just a social media phenomenon. Studies have shown that practicing daily gratitude, especially in written form, is good for your mind and body. Taking the time to do this can also bring a little slice of humble pie. Taking stock of what you get to do the daily can be an eye-opening experience for what all you have to be thankful for.

Annoyed that you have dirty dishes in the sink again? You can be grateful for food to eat and plates to eat it on, as well as running water and soap to clean them. You can also be thankful for things as simple as a cup of hot coffee or your favorite TV show. There are always good things to remind you of how lucky you are.

Truthfully Name Your Feelings

We all do and say things that we may question later on. Was what I said rude? Was I vain? We answer our own questions and move on most of the time, often with little thought to correcting the wrong we made. Being humble means working actively against thoughts and actions that are prideful or boastful, as well as actions that are vain and rude. 

Start deeply questioning the things you think, say, and do. If the answers you give are yes, that was rude, vain, or smug; then work to correct those thoughts and feelings. Everyone makes mistakes, but those only give us opportunities to do better, to be better. If what you said or did was out loud and toward someone, then take the time to apologize.

Check Yourself

In the words of the legendary rapper, Ice Cube, "Check yo self before you wreck yo self." Ice Cube probably meant something along the lines of, don't get ahead of yourself or stay in your lane. But he wasn't that far off the mark on practicing humility. Checking yourself, in other words, make sure you have all the information, don't assume, and be willing to learn from others.

Being humble, while giving you the space to put yourself out into the world, also asks that you recognize that you might not always know it all or what is best. Checking yourself also means that you never stop learning, the world will always be your oyster, and there will always be new people, places, and things for you to see. 

Find Your Grounding

Being humble is a practice that is much bigger than you. Being humble is not only about how you view yourself and how you act. Being humble is about kindness, how you see your place in the larger world, and the expectations that come with those views. Humbleness and humility are firmly grounded in the belief that you are not the center of the world. You are one tiny part of it.

Find what grounds you in life. This can be a religion, spiritualism, or merely the calling you have found in life (teacher, parent, writer, yoga instructor, etc.). Knowing your purpose, your role, and that the world is much bigger than you will help you to focus on what is essential in your life and your world, not what others tell you is important.

Listen to Others

A good vent session can go a long way to making a person feel better. You know this because you sometimes just need a comforting shoulder to cry on. Consider being this for someone else. Humbleness is characterized by being there for others, mainly so that they can feel heard and understood. 

Being a good listener doesn't take much practice or time. You do not have to be a therapist or an expert in any one topic. Many times all a person needs is a friendly face to nod their head and respond in kind. Giving someone the gift of being heard and their emotions validated is an integral part of the human experience and one that is regularly looked over. Help give someone else a voice. 

Be Present

Raise your hand if you are guilty of scrolling on your phone while simultaneously doing another activity? Raise your not-free hand if you do this when engaging with other human beings? Besides the fact that this is an annoying habit, it is rude to the people you are speaking to and harmful to your relationships.

Just like being a listener to others, you need a present and intentional listener to have humble intentions with those you love. Being present and intentional with your time, attention, and actions goes beyond conversations. Playing with your child instead of scrolling on your phone while he/she plays with toys, looking at your laptop when you are supposed to be watching a movie with your spouse, or reading a magazine article when your friend is explaining about their bad day. Be present and be kind.