What are your thoughts on the following quotes?:
“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.”
“Swallow your pride occasionally, it’s non-fattering!”
“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.”
Great wisdom can be appreciated in these quotes and in their underlying message. But is the humility that they are referring to and that you and I appreciate actually holding us back?
This may seem like an odd statement because many of us were taught to be humble from when we were very young, especially if you went to church, and/or read books on personal growth, spirituality, and energy. In fact, you have probably read or heard that it is important to remain humble and modest.
Although there is some benefit to having humbleness, there is also some importance in knowing WHEN to be accessing it.
With the growth of the self development movement the message to be humble has become quite prevalent. And although it may be accurate, it is only half of the message.
If you and I were giving a seminar together to a group of 1000 people and I began to compliment you and share with the entire group how great you are, and begin listing off some of your wonderful qualities, what would your first reaction be?
Would it be to say no, no, and then to try to turn the attention to me by complimenting me back? Would you instead downplay the compliment or do what many comedians do – identify some of your weaknesses just to show the audience that you are human or more lowly than I was describing?
There is great significance to these questions as a popular trend has begun in this area of individuals who are not respecting and honoring themselves. Instead of taking pride in their strengths, the tendency is to downplay themselves. The key question for us is why?
When an individual downplays his or her self, it is typically because he/she was taught to do that. Many people are actually much more insecure than we may realize. So the result is the tendency to play into insecurity by downplaying one’s own abilities.
As much as humbleness has its purpose and its place, there is also a time for honouring one’s strengths and abilities. If we hold back our gifts, then we are plainly… HOLDING BACK.
Instead of holding back, if that is what is occurring, perhaps it is time to honour your gifts!
Here are 6 simple ways of recognizing your strengths and honouring yourself:
1. Instead of resisting compliments, openly accept them and say thank you.
2. Create a list of your top 5 strengths and add to that list each time you become aware of a new one.
3. Recognize that it is just as important to recognize your strengths as much as you may be aware of your weaknesses and then let both of them go.
4. The best way to have a great interview for a job for example, is to allow your confidence to shine through. Those who are confident typically do not boast aloud all of their strengths; however they are typically very aware of their presence. As a result that awareness is just naturally felt by others.
5. Realize that any judgments that we have about boasting are as much a part of the ego as the boasting itself.
6. When you see or hear someone else boasting remind yourself, that perhaps that person is simply confident in who she/he is, “Good for her/him!”
The key message here is to give yourself permission to express yourself however you are called to. Sometimes that will mean by openly acknowledging your strengths. While at other times you may simply keep them to yourself. Either way, allow yourself to be as you are and not try to hold yourself back by living up to a standard of humility that others may speak about.
It takes great confidence, clarity, and security to experience and share true humbleness! Just remember it is okay to be however you are, even if that means taking pride in your own abilities and achievements!
© 2008-2013 Joshua Zuchter. All rights reserved. www.joshuazuchter.com
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