I have to say, this is something that I’ve struggled with over my lifetime so far.
I have basically been confusion humility with patience for quite a long time. Ephesians 4:2 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,”
The reasons are, patience must work together with humility and patience can be perceived as humility from an outside perspective. Patience allows you to remain calm in tense situations, it allows you to process difficult information with a level head, and it can allow you to understand more than just your side of a story.
Humility, on the other hand, is something that is not seen from an outside perspective. To be honest, no one should know you’re making an effort at humbling yourself. At that point, it appears more like an act rather than your reality.
I recently had a very difficult conversation with my brother, and he opened my eyes about what my mindset needed to be in a difficult, life-altering shift I’m going through. He gave me the example of my students that fail a test or fail on their report card. He asked me the question, “Is it your fault when a student fails?” The mathematician, the logic side of me said “No.” I gave the example of the child that never shows up to class. How is it my fault when he doesn’t come to class? That doesn’t make any sense, logically. He agreed with the logic because there are 2 people involved, but he challenged me to look at it a new way. Suppose, a students failure is my fault, it’s on me, and no one else. My mindset would then be, what can I do to help make this situation better? I would need to change myself to make the class better. My outlook, my approach, my decision should be to analyze, or reflect on, what I do each day and make a change to better the next day.
The most common view of humility is:
“Humble means “modest; without an excess of pride.” A person who brags about being
humble may have too much pride in being humble to actually be humble.”
However proper as that definition is, it doesn’t define what humility looks like.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
The major definition of humility come from verse 3, look at the interest of others, not just your own.
I was doing some research and I found a few lists that describe how you could obtain humility. Here’s what stood out to me:
Stop talking. One way to practice humility is to spend more time listening than you do talking. … Give other people credit. …
Admit when you’re wrong. …
Go last. …
Ask for advice. … Praise others. … Give compliments.
Spend time listening to others. …
Practice mindfulness, and focus on the present. … Be grateful for what you have. …
Ask for help when you need it. …
Seek feedback from others on a regular basis. … Review your actions against the language of pride.
All of these things are excellent practices. The two that stood out on every list, even beyond these two:
1) Listen more & talk less
2) Ask for help, or advice, or feedback from others
These two things require such selflessness and setting aside you own ego/pride. I’m guilty of doing the opposite of both of these things. It’s something I need to begin to address in my life.
Humility is not only a biblical truth.