Admiring Humility in Others

· July 10, 2016

Everyone likes people who are noble, and who demonstrate modesty and humility. We admire the people who would never think they are better than anyone else. People who promote the importance of knowing their own limits through positive actions, and who do not unnecessarily show off their apparent virtue or goodness, are usually people whom we hold in high regard.

These noble people distance themselves from false or forced humility, from the “I do everything better” attitude. Their outlook has nothing to do with narcissistic pride or excessive selfishness. On the other hand, there are people out there who display a certain kind of ‘swagger;” they have an attitude of superiority that becomes not only intolerable but also despicable.

Talking a lot and always arrogantly presuming things about what another person has or does is often a reflection of an emptiness, unhappiness, or lack of something in their own life. In other words, what we are describing is a person who embodies Shakespeare’s title “Much Ado about Nothing”.

girl holding dandelion humility

A lesson in humility 

I was walking with my father when he stopped on a corner and, after a moment of silence, he asked me:

– “Other than the birds, what do you hear?”

I cupped my ears and listened. After a few seconds, I said: “I can hear the sound of a cart on the road”. 

– “That,” he said, “is an empty cart.”

I asked my father: “How do you know it is empty, if we can’t even see it?”

My father responded: “It’s very easy to tell when a cart is empty. It’s because of the noise. The emptier the cart, the more noise it makes.”

When I grew up, I remembered what my father had told me. When I see or hear a person talking too much, interrupting conversations, being inappropriate or aggressive, presuming everything, being conceited, and belittling others, I just think of what he told me: “The emptier the cart, the more noise it makes”. 

Humility consists of quieting our virtues and letting others discover them. Nobody is emptier than he who is full of himself. 

couple pointing to ocean humility

Tell me what you brag about, and I will tell you what you lack

People who feel complete and comfortable with themselves don’t feel the need to compete or to always be right. Nor do they find it necessary to appear a certain way or lie about certain things. Who they are is clear through their actions and their personality.

Therefore, humility is based in respect for others, and in kindness. This is from where sincere looks come. Humility is the author of those feelings that are born in the heart. 

Sadly, there are people who are so empty that their ‘cart’ makes a lot of noise, and they spend all their time presuming and boasting. They do not contemplate the emotional reality of others, but instead feel a need to demonstrate their value through empty words and revolving doors.

This distressing emptiness is a consequence of low self-esteem, of a lack of possibilities, and of poor emotional awareness and education.

swinging on a star humility

Of course, when we achieve something very important to us, it is normal and typical to feel and show pride. However, there is a big, and significant, difference between feeling pride for the effort it took to reach the goal and condescension and arrogance.

In this sense, in order to acknowledge our achievements and successes modestly and with humility, we should clearly understand two premises that lay the foundation of kindness and humility:

  • It is not necessary to brag about your achievements. It is enough to simply lead by example. Improving oneself, and helping to improve others, is a true achievement in itself.
  • It is not necessary to demand from life that which you lack. It is necessary to appreciate that which you have.

Nothing that we can obtain makes us deserving of praise nor superior to others. Only kindness and humility can help us to improve and will serve to make us happier on our path through life.