Humility or Humiliation- The difference

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While there are numerous definitions of the term ‘humility’ by different authors and different books, it is convenient to state that a humble person

  • Uplifts others and makes them see that they too can be great
  • Is more apt to showing other people what makes them treasurable and important, than revealing to others his or her own personal successes.

 Therefore, a humble person is a person who prefers making other people feel comfortably important and significant, than having them see how really important and significant he or she (the humble person) is. 

It takes humility to submit to the instructions of a leader, to be advised by others, to be counselled, and to be taught. Although, you may know better, you allow yourself to be taught and counselled, simply because you understand the need to respect and value others. 

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but rather, showing that other people have the essential need to believe that they too have the quality to lead, to contribute, to advise, to counsel and to teach. It is the willingness to make other people realize that they too are important and significant in this universe, regardless of how apt they may be to belittle you. 

By humility, you nurture an attitude of not belittling your neighbour, bearing in mind that you sometimes belittle them (by reminding them of their low levels of accomplishment) when you speak highly of yourself. You avoid speaking highly of yourself, and are more prone to drawing attention to the wealth and potentials of others. 

Of course, a humble person never downplays himself or herself, he or she just doesn’t vociferates his or her privileges or successes (doesn’t voice them out). This humble person reflects on his or her admirable virtues and accomplishments internally (feels great about himself or herself without showing it), while he or she uplifts others explicitly. 

Humiliation is different from humility, in the sense that, a person who humiliates himself or herself often downplays themselves. Such person does not recognize how truly important and significant he or she is. This person does not esteem himself or herself internally. In other words, such person has a low self-esteem, low self-respect, and low self-worth. 

A man with arrogance may appear to esteem himself and belittle others, but he actually suffers from low self-esteem and emotional insecurity. Arrogance may have stemmed from one of few reasons (read my article, ‘Dealing with arrogant people’). A person who is unable to reflect on his weaknesses, imperfections, and failings, who is unable to embrace them, and be at peace with them, and who should be making grand efforts towards accomplishing meaningful goals in life is bound to be arrogant. This inability contributes to emotional insecurity. 

Three major benefits can be derived from being humble

  • You contribute positively to the human world; although, you wished you didn’t have to uplift that annoying person around the corner- your ability to uplift that annoying person makes you divine.
  • You do what is rare and priceless (you affect lives); this makes mortality easier to bear, because you do not entirely focus on yourself.
  • You are at peace with yourself, since you are able to embrace your strengths and weaknesses, without feeling insecure about them. You get to experience what it means to have inner-serenity.