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Why do I say this… you all have a theoretical or biblical concept of what humility is, but what is humility in practice? Is it genuinely thinking less of yourself?  Is it trying to sound less prideful than you actually are?  Or is it something else—something deeper?

Finding the balance between being humble and being walked all over can be quite daunting

I really think that most of us feel that humility is in the big things that we do, when in reality it is what a man or woman does in their day to day life that shows their true heart on the matter.

So what is humility according to the British writer C.S. Lewis — ‘True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

Charles Dickson’s definition of humility goes miles deeper than our culture’s comparatively crude use of the world. True humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s not being outwardly humble, while harbouring pride. And it’s not being weak. True humility is service to others, service to a cause greater than your own personal ambition

So how do we demonstrate humility?  That is a whole new ball game…


Shall we start by looking at some of the characteristics of true humility I have listed a few

(1)Humility is not:

Self-deprecation,  letting others “push you around, being a doormat, a sucker, or letting people “walk all over you.” It’s not constantly sacrificing your interests to those of others (and then feeling like a victim or a martyr). It’s not avoiding conflict or confrontation – not of your making, anyway – for the sake of “being nice.” It’s not about hiding your feelings or suppressing your views to avoid alienating others.

(2)Genuine Concern for others:

Real humility leads a person to be curious about and concerned for others, not fixated on how others can lead to one’s own enrichment. Humility is putting others first in thought, word, and deed.  It resists the temptation to self-aggrandize.  It’s easy to feign interest in another person if there’s something in it for you, like a job promotion or increased recognition.  A person with humility is in it for the long-term common good, not short-term self-interest.  Examples include helping people because of who they are, not because of their position.

(3)  Humility is about true service, not self-congratulation:

Fawning, fake humility is ingratiating, not giving.  It pretends to be generous, but in reality it’s self-centred.  Take the humblebrag. (false modesty)  When asked to identify a personal weakness, a humblebraggart  might say, “I’m always working too hard for everyone else.

Humility is often erroneously portrayed as poor self-esteem, but in fact it’s the arrogant who have a distorted sense of self.  Arrogant people have an exaggerated view of their own contributions, and limit the good they might do by clamouring for credit.

(4) Acknowledges one is in the wrong and taking constructive feedback well:

In admitting an error or acknowledging that one is wrong, the humble person not only apologizes but also changes course.  They are receptive to constructive criticism and actively seek it because they know that feedback is a pathway to improvement A person pretending to be humble might say a half-hearted “sorry,” if in the wrong but stubbornly continues down the same path.  They get all defensive when given feedback they assume they know it all.

(5) Open minded:

Humility is all about having an open mind and believing we do not have all the answers.. we respect other people’s opinions as we are all unique and see the world in different colours… we are always in the process of learning even though we have tried it before… another word for it is humble intelligence….. We are open to being filled with the knowledge and opinions of others. Humility is a kind of hunger for more abundance. The greater our humility, the greater our fascination with the world around us, and the more we learn.

(6)Good listener:

Do you truly listen when someone speaks or are you preoccupied on what you are going to say next? Do you always want the topic to be all about you all the time and loose interest when you have no stake in the conversation…  In your communication with others, are you and your ideas the only topic of interest to you?

There’s nothing more annoying that being in a conversation with somebody who you can just tell is dying to get his or her words in.  Just looking at some of their non-verbal cues, is a sign they are not listening but rather waiting to speak. Why? Because they believe that what they have to say is more valuable than listening to you. In other words, they’re placing their self-interest first.

Humble people, however, actively listen to others before summarizing the conversation. Moreover, humble people don’t try to dominate a conversation or talk over people. They’re eager to understand others because they’re curious.


Doing things so others will notice you is another way of checking whether your motives are truly humble or not…  Of course we all want recognition on some level. While recognition is not a bad thing, if it becomes our source of motivation for taking on a goal or task or altruistic acts then its false humility because if you are not recognised for those acts you get disappointed which leads to stress and conflict…. Meaning you are basing your self-worth on how others see you.

(8) Humility and confidence:

It is possible to be confident in yourself and humble. They actually complement each other very well self-confidence is not the same as being ‘cocky’. Humility and Confidence actually go hand in hand. A truly confident person is also humble and a truly humble person has the confidence to be so.


Persuasion requires confidence in terms of your strengths. If you are trying to sell, instruct or lead you need to display the confidence to match your message. But learning requires humility. You won’t learn anything if you are constantly arguing with your professors, mentors or employers. Taking a dose of humility and temporarily making yourself a student gives you the opportunity to absorb

(9) Humility sees uniqueness in all humans:

Humility does not believe in superiority or inferiorly it believes that all humans are unique and part of the universe..   Humility looks like saying, “You may be right,” or, “I can understand how you could feel that way.”   Humility looks like an open acknowledgement that we don’t have it all figured out, that we’re all doing the best we can, that none of us are better than the rest of us, and that ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.

Food for thought:

Humility is about emotional neutrality. It involves an experience of growth in which you no longer need to put yourself above others, but you don’t put yourself below them, either. Everyone is your peer – from the most “important” person to the least. You’re just as valuable as every other human being on the planet, no more and no less.

What are your thoughts?

Next week I will discuss the benefits of demonstrating humility…