I wanted to think of a clever title for this post, something that would grab the attention of anyone glancing through this site, but nothing exciting came to mind. Yet, I think the word alone is enough to possibly be an attention grabber.
Either last Sunday or a couple of Sundays ago, my pastor was talking about how important it is for one, that is physically able, to kneel down before God and pray to him. He said the action showed humility and submission to God and it is an action that only he deserves not man. The word humility stuck out to me for whatever reason.
Then a couple of weeks earlier I was on a kinda spiritual rant and something I said happen to just come out of my mouth, but the moment it left my mouth there was a ringing sound of clarity in my mind, like I had just spoken some truth that I never witness before. I said “Humility is a trait sorely lacking in this generation of children and then we wonder why they do not believe in God.”
Again the word humility popped back up. This post may or may not take a religious pathway, but the bottom line is that the word humility can be taken many ways and talked about many ways.
The first question, what is humility?
I don’t feel like looking at dictionary.com or anywhere else so I’ll come up with my own definition. Humility is the ability to be selfless rather than selfish, the ability to not only own up to mistakes but to try to mend those mistakes. The ability to notice your flaws and embrace them rather than ignore them. Basically the ability to understand that your feces does have a nasty smell just like everyone elses.
Yet, humility seems to be something archaic in the face of “Generation me” or as I like to call it “Generation Haters.” Humility seems to no longer exist or at least no longer a trait to be admired and I can see the effects of things being this way.
People no longer have the ability to be humble, heck some of them can barely spell the word let alone know what it means. The agenda being pushed now is to be aggressive, is to be perfect, is to be competitive, is to be an asshole, is to be solo-dolo, is to be cocky, is to be arrogant, and is to be a one man/woman show, especially at the expense of others.
Neither of these agendas have qualities that humility can coexist with. For example, the word hater has been baptized in the fountain of fuckery and reborn into the language of everyday use. How many times have you heard someone saying so and so is hating on them? that they need to get more haters by the time 2012 hits? or even the most famous phrase “My haters are my motivators”? I have seen these statuses more than I can count and they all sound the same with the bottom line being I need someone to hate on me to let me know I’m the shit.
The word hater has been used in so many formats and molded to fit so many situations that it has lost its meaning, basically if Girl A has on some shoes that does not compliment her outfit and her friend Girl B tells her so. Girl A will be quick to label Girl B as a hater and although Girl B could be a hater there is an even stronger possibility that the shoes are just ugly, but no one stops to think about that.
Humility and haters are like oil and water, they do not mix and they create phases when forced to (dropping chemistry knowledge). One should not need haters to somehow make them humble, even though that usually gives the person an even bigger head, humility is something that comes from within and a sense of self.
This can be linked back to religion and a person spiritual belief. I do not pray on my knees like I should and I’m horrible for it, but at the end of the day I know that there is someone more powerful than me that I will answer to when I am called home. I know that I have flaws, that I need this person to help me know what those flaws are and work on them. I know that if I am to carry on as though I am superior than I will be judge with that same mindset. I don’t know if I am wording this right, but if you have a strong religious or spiritual belief, it helps to keep you grounded in the sense that you are not all that, humility is taught to you.
It’s not to say that an atheist can’t be humble or that a person with a strong religious/spiritual belief can’t be arrogant and cocky, but in any way you have to be introduced to humility before you can associate with it, although I do believe some people inherit humility in some way, but its a long explanation.
However. it seems humility is a form of weakness rather than a strength based on how people talk about it. Say a teacher is teaching a lesson plan about who “discovered” America first and states that it was Christopher Columbus and a students kindly tells the teacher that it was not Christopher Columbus but an ancient Africans and an Asian commander of an ancient Chinese Dynasty that arrived in a ship bigger than Columbus’. Say the teacher gets angry with the student and kicks the student out of the classroom or something drastic and no this never happened to me.
The teacher displays a lack of humility to even give the possibility that the student is correct, but under the pride of being the teacher and feeling as though their degree gives them the stamp of correctness on everything they say, considers the student to be questioning their authority and their intelligence. Does the example show a situation of pride? Yes, but if the teacher were to give in that the student is correct they probably couldn’t handle it and I have had teachers like that in my life.
Despite humility not being deemed important I find it to be an important characteristic for people in this world to have. This is why some children and adults are complete buttholes now because of their inability to accept that they are not always right, but are quick to put on airs and cover it with pride and when they are confronted with an example of their wrong they feel personally attacked.
Think of a co-worker that has made a mistake and you possibly brought it to their attention and/or ended up having to correct it and they probably gave you the cold shoulder or you over hear them stating how you pointed the mistake out to humiliate them in some way and blah blah blah. To them you have exposed their flaw in something so small that they probably are plotting to get you fired in some way… joking… possibly.
Some see humility as another form of humiliation and I can see the connection since the ancient Greeks whose language a lot of English words are based on humility probably did come from the word humiliation, but they are two different things. To be someone who can accept their flaws rather than a person that degrades others to hide those flaws are hardly one in the same.
I am trying to say that a lot of damage done to our youth is through the inability to show them how to use a weakness to their strength and how to not feel vulnerable because they are not “hard” or perfect 24/7. A lot of issues in our society could be helped if people understood what humility meant and have it.