Humility: An Expression of Self-Respect

Olumide Obanla Written by Olumide Obanla · 1 min read >

When we come from a place of inner self-respect, then there is nothing to lose because we feel secure within our self, it is from this place that humility can grow. By contrast someone who is insecure will not be in their self-respect and will be using the tools of body consciousness, especially the ego, to prop themselves up. Humility is about acceptance. Accepting the other person, for what they are and also the roles that they play. Humility is not about having a hierarchy of egos and playing the game of “who is better than who” the humble person has no need to play these games anymore.

Our culture places so much value on external accomplishments, appearance, and self-aggrandizement, all things that are ephemeral at best that even a small display of this quiet virtue can make one feel like a drowning man coming up for air. Yet why can it be so challenging for us to express humility? Is it because we often misinterpret its active demonstration to be a sign of weakness, when it is an indication of tremendous inner strength? The answers may be found in what scientists are discovering about this quality, one so deeply revered by all spiritual traditions that many consider it to be the mother of all virtues.

When I meet someone who radiates humility, my shoulders relax, my heart beats a little more quietly, and something inside me lets go. We can, without negatively impacting our self-esteem, work on our limitations by being open to new ideas, advice, and criticism. Self-praise and a stubborn attitude are commonly seen as essential to achieving life goals. All this is in contrast with the principle of humility. However, having humility doesn’t mean being timid or letting others trample over you. Being humble doesn’t imply that you become subservient or fail to assert yourself when needed.

Being rich, strong, or supremely talented are not the actual traits that make a person popular among colleagues, family, friends, and acquaintances. What makes someone stand out is their humility. A humble person comes across as a doer. They don’t like to be boastful about their abilities and instead keep a low profile. This makes the person more relatable and reliable. They earn the trust and respect of their peers by virtue of their behavior and are not entitled.

Humility is an asset for self-improvement. By living a humble life, you recognize the areas of your life that need work. If your coach suggests changing a technique to aid your performance in the ring, you must accept that your current technique may not be the best suited for your goals. That comes with letting go of your preconceived notions and trusting your coach. Only with humility and emotional intelligence can you allow these encounters to fuel your growth and coachability.

Humility is not something we can just achieve; it is so much more than that. We need humility to become better people. Therefore, humility is a construct of human behavior

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