How to Recognize Humility

How to Recognize Humility
Cristina Roda Rivera

Written and verified by the psychologist Cristina Roda Rivera.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

For centuries, being humble has been a virtue. Today this continues to be highly valued. We appreciate it in world leaders and also in those whom we interact with on a daily basis in a more intimate way.

Humility is not foolishness,  but simplicity of greatness.

However, for some people success makes them change and corrupts some of the qualities that they were recognized for.

This raises the question: what are the features that characterize humble people?

“We come nearest to greatness when we are greatly humble.”

 -Rabindranath Tagore


What are humble people like?

As the most striking feature, they are people who are strongly committed to some sort of aspect of their life. They do not seek success or fame, but the glory and talent in what they do. Whether they work as a sculptor, a housewife or a doctor.

They look to improve the lives of others without boasting about it by focusing on the process rather than the outcome. They are receptive to possible changes on the way.

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Their instructions, commands or orders are not imposing, but rather they convey authority that is open to criticism and improvement.

They listen to others with interest, without underestimating the value of those who come their way, from craftsmen to politicians. For them, each view is interesting because it allows them to understand a different point of view or draw on a more accurate view of the reality around them.

They shy away from shows of power. They feel that their reward is implicit in a job well done; much more than public recognition.

They greet, converse and say goodbye. Kindness to them is not only courtesy, but an expression of good manners and care toward those around them.

They don’t make judgments lightly and are empathetic. They engage in small actions every day to simplify the lives of those around them, without even noticing they are doing it it. Their behavior is a natural, simple and honest flow.

They’re consistent with their private life and the public ideas they express. Hypocrisy is not within their code of conduct.

For them, reaching a very high step is not as important as finding a way to staying on one, even if it is “lower,” while still developing a dignified and useful activity.

And what about those who lack humility?

They’re arrogant, lacking any self-critical thought and practice an attitude of moral, intellectual and economic superiority. Relationships with these people are unnerving.

They don’t exchange opinions to enrich themselves. They believe the only way to impose their point of view is by avoiding other opinions, ridiculing the other person and even bullying them.

They don’t listen. They give life lessons and advice that they expect others to follow. Most often, these suggestions  involve an implicit profit for themselves.

They are obsessed with power and success. 


On an emotional level, they show happiness to others as if it were a trophy. But in reality they often feel empty and lack true meaning in their daily relationships.

Therefore, practice humility, without the fear of being insignificant. You will make more of an impact than you think and have more peace of mind.

“If you believe that a mosquito is too small to make an impact, try sleeping with one in the room.”

Anita Roddick

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.