Humility, like any skill, is developed with practice. For most people, it’s not something that flows naturally. So how do we develop it?
Humility is a heart posture, an intentional bowing low before another – God and man – while secure in your own worth.~ Jessica Bates, GrowingFierce
How do we practice that?
The first step is recognizing when our pride flares and humility is needed.
A practice I got into early on in my growth journey was noticing: notice what you notice. Our emotions can’t run the show – as one person said, they make terrible businesses managers – but they are good indicators. Like the check engine light on a car, they pop up to tell us something is wonky under the hood.
When my thoughts or emotions pop up in a defensive, threatened, or offended way, I start asking myself, “why?” Why is this a problem? Why does that statement make me feel threatened? Why am I defensive? Or the like. You may not always have the answer but taking a moment – even later on – to ask yourself the WHY behind what you’re feeling can help you unpack the pride and/or fear or insecurity or whatever may be underlying those feelings.
For me, one of the most frequent issues is insecurity. That flash of my emotions is screaming to be seen, to be heard, to know I matter. It says, “what about me?!” And it poisons my ability to bow my heart low before those around me, who often times feel the same way.
Humility creates the opportunity for real connection. When we interact with others humbly, they are able to see that we value them and their perspective through our words, our tones, our posture, etc. The way we communicate communicates how we care.
And sure, it’s easier to do with people you respect, agree with, or admire. But true humility isn’t about elevating others, it’s about acknowledging their inherent worth and bowing our hearts low in honor of that.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.Philippians 2: 3-4 NASB
There’s no qualifier in there. No “if you like them,” or “if they’re important in the world’s eyes,” or any “if” at all! Don’t merely look out for your own stuff, look out for the interests of others. Regards one another as more important than yourself. Honor each other, no matter what.
It’s a tall order, and one that is contrary to how our modern society tells us is right or successful. But the connections and the relationships we gain and foster through humility are the ones that change our lives and theirs. They are the relationships that make a difference.
They are fierce.
Join the Journey
Journal Prompts: Get out your journal, or something you can write on. Let’s set up an scenario:
You’re the project lead for your company on a multi-group collaboration project. An email comes from a project partner, saying that they more comfortable working with another gentleman on your team. Your team is competent and trustworthy and the project is valuable. And, you’ve worked hard to earn the position as project lead. But a rejection of their proposal could mean the end of the collaboration and the loss of revenue.
- What’s the first thought you have in response to their request?
- What emotions does this bring up?
- Take a moment to ask yourself, why? Where is that coming from?
- What’s the most important thing here? The project? Your team? Your career? Your status?
- What are your options? Are these temporary or permenant?
- What might be the consequences of those scenarios?
- What is the option that is most humble, or honors your partners and/or your team members?
- What do you need to remember or remind yourself that might help you make the most humble choice?
- If you pursue the humble course of action, what are the benefits? Are their risks or potential pitfalls?
- How can you continue to honor your team and your partners moving forward?
How do you plan to practice this skill moving forward? Who might you need on your support team to help you continue this practice?