Tuesday, April 9, 2013


“I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility.  I don't mean by humility, doubt of his power.  But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them.  And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.”
― John Ruskin

A fine line exists between ego and humility, between self-esteem and humility, and between victimhood and humility.  Humility enters awareness as a value of the soul.  One must fight to vanquish the shadows of ego, which are self-importance, pride, posturing, lording it over others, grandiosity, and a desire to control others.  We must harness the energies of drive, motivation and encouragement to build our self-esteem by understanding our soul-needs and bringing our gifts to the world.  Ego is manifested by selfishness, insisting on our entitlements, righteousness, arrogance, and living our willfulness into all we do with no thought of empathy, compassion, or connection with the other.

Self-esteem is different.  It is rooted deep within our being and is experienced through feelings of fulfillment, wholeness, purpose, and integrity.  It manifests as good works, rightness of character, and service to others.  Humility is the opposite of ego-driven pride, boasting and strutting our stuff.  It represents modesty.  It does not draw attention to the self.  It guides our lives toward gratitude, kindness, presence, and a sense of service to our world.

When you achieve success, however you may view it, self-esteem allows you to credit your good as well as the life force (God) within that provides you with success.  Humility allows you to use your gifts for others without puffing up yourself or looking for approval.  It is the ever-present companion of compassion, clarity and unconditional love.  It makes allowances for human imperfection, both in others and in ourselves.  It reminds us of our humanity and the personhood of each individual.

Humility forms the basis of self-awareness and of knowing God.  For it is with the humble self that we seek a greater power.  It brings us awe of the universe and a realization that “there is a Higher Power, and it is not me.”  Humility allows us to approach and lean into God, awaken to this presence in all things, and seek enlightenment and growing awareness.

-- Pete


Joy V. Smith said...

I liked the essay on humility, and I love your selection of illustrations.

Bhav.Zz said...

Humility is important, but it is also important not to cross the fine line and be too harsh on oneself. Great post.

Bhavya from the AtoZ Challenge blogging at Just Another Blog

jan said...

The grace before meals that we recited at the orphanage in Jamaica went like this: "Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours." Love it. Great post.