MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

On Humility

Humility often means that you agree with those who think the world of you.

That’s right.  When someone thinks you’re awesome or you are great at something, you can be humble and agree with them.

“Hey man, you’re a pretty sick air hockey player.”

“Oh thanks.  What can I say?  That is a talent I do possess!”

But for some, our first instinct is to deflect, avoid and karate chop anything positive that comes our way because if we accept it too readily then we may come across as arrogant… or so we think.  [Side note: One of the few perks of being an Asian person is that you can make martial arts references in your writing without worrying about a public outcry.  I’m sorry but I’m going to take advantage of whatever “perks” I can get, homies.  Hi-YAHHH!]

I don’t assume I have this humility thing down but the little I know about it tells me that my pain and inner mess is a big part of the equation.  Anytime I begin to think that I’m hot stuff (in a bad way), all I have to do is remember that deep down, I’m a mess.  The good news is that the process doesn’t end there.  Yes, I’m a mess but this brokenness provides me the opportunity to get to know the real me and then get over myself (in a good way).

A person who takes compliments well is a person who is over his/her own hype or lack there-of.

“Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts.  It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all.”  ~William Temple

So may we be free of preoccupation with self (positive and negative) while at the same time, being able to accept the words of truth that others offer us when they recognize the beauty we contribute to the world. . . one air hockey goal at a time.

More on this later.

Do you struggle with humility? Have you thought about it in these terms before?


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15 responses

  1. robin

    One thing that really helped me quit the un-friendly habit of automatically denying any compliment I ever got was the realization that it was actually my vanity and pride that made me deny their words in the first place.

    It’s like you said: I worried people would think I was vain. Or to put it another way, I cared too much about what other people thought about me. It would have bothered me that someone mis-judged me that way. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t vain. That I was, in fact, humble. Hah! Worrying about making sure other people think you are humble isn’t exactly humble, is it?

    I just started saying thank you to those nice comments and moving on. It was only ever an issue in my mind.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

  2. DK

    robin – crazy how our preoccupation with public perception can be a by-product of the pride we try so hard to conceal!

    April 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

  3. Someone once said humility is knowing who God really is, and knowing who u really are.

    April 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm

  4. DK

    That someone sounds like a wise man!

    April 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm

  5. Love your take on humility. Thanks for sharing.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

  6. annyongbunny10

    That a nice definition of humility.

    I get super shy whenever people give me compliments. ;^^

    April 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm

  7. annyongbunny10

    That a nice definition of humility.

    I get super shy whenever people give me compliments. Idk why, do you ever feel that way? ;^^

    April 8, 2011 at 8:11 pm

  8. annyongbunny10

    Dude I super sorry for the double post , my phones acting a little crazy right now ! >.<

    April 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm

  9. Another great post, DK. In my humble opinion, Humility isn’t just about how you respond when you receive praise and compliments… it’s also how you respond when you get none.

    April 9, 2011 at 6:47 am

  10. DK

    @awakenedLife- Thank you for stopping by! glad you enjoyed the post.

    @bunny- technology acts funny sometimes. no harm done! i think the only time compliments make me uncomfortable are when they are inaccurate and border on flattery. do you know what i mean?

    @pat – i think if this was a small group discussion, what you just said would elicit a collective “mmmmm… GOOD point” from the entire group! you are so right about that and i think that’s why more posts on this subject are necessary in the future!

    April 9, 2011 at 10:32 am

  11. annyongbunny10

    yeah i totally know what you mean and thanks!^_^

    April 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

  12. I found this lovely post while surfing PatriDew’s blog. It’s funny how these very thoughts have been on my mind for the past few weeks. Isn’t the rejection of a compliment or word of encouragement regarding our talents nothing more than false humility, and isn’t false humility nothing more than pride in its most deceptive of garbs? I enjoyed reading this wise post.

    April 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm

  13. DK

    Renee – thank you for taking the time to read the post! I love what you said about false humility being pride in its most deceptive of garbs. well put! appreciate the input

    April 10, 2011 at 8:40 pm

  14. robin

    I just remembered something else that kind of fits with this, and with what Pat said above.

    My old school friend’s fridge had a note on it that said: The true mark of a servant is if you act like one when you are treated like one.” You almost want to say, no it’s when you act like a servant when you’re treated like a king. But heck, it’s easy to be humble when you’re treated well. It’s when someone else humbles you, and how you react, that’s the true test.

    Loving the posts and the comments

    April 11, 2011 at 5:08 am

  15. humility doesn’t mean you think less of yourself, it means you think of yourself less.

    When people ask me if I’m good at foosball, my response is now a humble “yep”

    April 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm

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