Humility: Personal Work

True humility is always personal work.

As interconnected as I believe that we human and other beings are with one another, when it comes to this thing we call humility, the working of it, the owning it, the practicing of it is really intra-personal.

That is, the work and the practice, the meaning and the usefulness of humility happens within ourselves and between the parts of ourselves.  I can decide within myself that there are things I should or should not engage in because of my personal qualifications, preparations, skills and interests through which I can make a helpful contribution.

I can come to the conclusion that I am either a help or a liability to the cause based on what I have come to know about myself.  I can draw lines for myself.  I can help with A, but B and C are not things I can help with.

That is humility.  It is knowing oneself.  Knowing oneself may evolve out of many experiences including interpersonal experiences, but it becomes humility when within ourselves we establish a knowing and choose to live by it.  I don’t think that this is easy work, but I am often convinced, especially when I see it at work in others, that it is important work.

What is so much easier is deciding when someone else should be more humble and even giving in to the temptation to “help” them find it.  Humiliation is a form, though, of violation.

What is so much less work is putting on the face that I think others will approve of. That way I get something immediate out of the transaction, though long term it won’t last. In the end, everyone feels manipulated, including me.

True humility is a product of a personal, long term spiritual alchemy that takes place within the cauldron of one’s heart, a cauldron that we learn to tend while in the midst of living our lives.

Bob Patrick

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