Thoughts on humility

Being humble

I don’t think a person can “be” humble, although they can be humbled. Humility is what we experience when standing before something truly magnificent. As long as we are mindful of God, we will be humble – sort of like when we reflect on the magnitude of the universe (and He created that with one Word!).

The other “humility” is like hiding under bush so people can’t see any beauty in you. Should a beautiful gem hide itself? If God created it such, then it is what it is. Humility is what we feel before God and His creation, not a condition we manufacture.

This implies that if one feels pride, the best answer is to turn to God (isn’t that the answer for everything?) and recall what is truly Great – rather than turn to ourselves and revise our self-assessment into something bitterly mundane. God’s attributes appear in the mirrors of created things, after all, and human nature is the most excellent of these.

Receiving praise

When a flower delivery boy appears at your doorstep, it’s natural to smile and be thankful. He enjoys being the bearer of good things. But no one misunderstands what is what, or feels bad for the joy caused or relayed. When the moment is passed, he returns to bring more flowers to someone else. He knows that the people he visits are made happy by who sent the flowers, and not because of him. His joy lies in serving as a means of connection; yours in what is received. And God’s love is the source of that gift.

When people praise us, we’ve delivered something to them that has sweetened their lives. This sweetness draws from a Source, and we act as the channel connecting those two for a moment. The more one serves this connection, the greater the praise and happiness of the ones served. There is nothing bad in this. It only goes wrong when the lamp believes that its light is unique to itself.


I like connecting the ideas of humility and self-honesty. Consider a mirror: Whatever it shows does not come from the mirror itself. Someone beautiful might appear in it, or someone not; but there is never a reason to be prideful or abashed.

If the soul is a perfect mirror – perhaps clouded by imperfections for a time – humility is being faithful to the process of revelation, rather than tying our heart to what is revealed.