We have always been huge fans of words, their definitions and the implications they have in our lives. And I for one had a bit of difficulty about the definition of humility or being humble. You would be surprised to know how many different answers I have heard for the definition of humility. And this perhaps is one of the best definition of humility
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less” –
The Mistaken Meaning
Most often or at least speaking from my experience, we were raised to be in a competitive world where we were pitched against each other and the winner was given a lot of attention. And naturally we loved to compete in a way and be the topper or come first in the academic competitions. Strangely enough the same is not extended to sports though! We were brought up with the same values and forced to come first in the exams. And naturally when we do something this commendable, we wanted to be talked about all along. If we did not score well in all exams, we still wanted people to talk about the one subject we did very well in. And that would make us extremely happy – and why not, the subject is ‘US’. At the same time, we were forced to act humble lest someone should think that we are way too cocky or arrogant. And what we used to do was pretty simple – we would somehow find a way to bring up this topic and talk about how bad we suck at them.
The logic was
“I am not boasting about myself, so it is still okay, I am talking about it as a mistake – so it is unreasonable to think of me as a selfish or a self centred person”
However the same shameless me believes in a totally different idea that what I used to as a kid. As a stupid kid, all we wanted to talk about was how great we were and we wanted that sense of specialty, that sense of standing ahead of the crowd. And the same pattern followed through degree, masters and more. Somewhere down the lane, there was one question that came:
Slowly we started realising that people really don’t care about what your achievements are. All they care about is what value addition you are making to their lives. I might sound a little cynical when I say this but isn’t that true? We all have our own share of problems to deal with and of course we all like to feel good about ourselves and feel that it would be really awesome if there is someone to appreciate us. But, looking at it from the other side – what do we do these things for? Isn’t it for our own personal sense of satisfaction and well being? It feels good when others praise or talk about it and the max we can do is possibly acknowledge it with a smile and know that there are far larger things in life which we can really appreciate and try to look at.
And no matter what we say, whether we are talking in pride or proving a fake modesty, the end point is that we are still thinking about ourselves and that is still much further from humility!
Well, that’s C.S.Lewis for us today, stay tuned in for more 🙂
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