Thursday, March 30, 2017

How Humility Makes Us Better Humans



"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." - Colossians 3:12

I've been thinking a lot about humility lately, and specifically, what it means to be humble.  Part of this recent perseveration has to do with the fact that I was just in Washington, D.C. and, politically speaking, there may not be a time (at least in my life) when people in this country have been more divided.  Don't worry, this is not a political post, I promise.  But at Brene Brown's seminar, she spoke a bit about shame and said:  "I'm guessing most of you in here voted for Hillary...I know some of you didn't, but based on statistics for people in our field, the likelihood is that most of you did.  Now everyone raise your hand if you know and love someone deeply who voted for Trump."

Almost every single hand went up.

Her point was this (and mine is similar):  We have got to stop shaming each other, we have to stop living out this righteous indignation we are feeling about people who are other than we are. And not just in politics.  In everything.  Literally everything.

But this is not easy, right?  If it were, the world would be a lot more sunshine and hugs, and a lot less hate speech and violence.  I think people are basically good, but a lot of times, pride gets in the way. And it puffs people up.  And it makes them feel right.  And feeling right feels good.  It certainly feels a lot better than the alternative.

Another thing Brene discussed (#sorrynotsorry) is that one of the first things our brain demands is a story.  The more our brain knows, the more it can protect us.  So when we give the brain a story, we are actually chemically rewarded for that story regardless of the accuracy of the story.  In fact, Brene said a story that has a lot of ambiguity is the enemy of our brain.  And also it doesn't feel as good.  And again, who doesn't love to feel good?

Mother Theresa said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."  Can we just take a minute and let that sink in?  

Besties, we can disagree with each other without shaming each other.  We can say, "That's an interesting point of view...tell me more about that" instead of giving people 7 reasons why they are wrong and why they should agree with us.  We can be secure enough to have a different opinion than those we love dearly because we know that a different opinion doesn't make us (or them) a villain...it just makes us all human.  Our lives, our experiences, our relationships shape how we view the world, other people, and ourselves.  So can we just humble ourselves a bit and risk loving someone different than us enough to hear them out?

I say this as someone who has struggled with the same issue, so please don't hear me saying this in a holier-than-thou tone.  I've just recently come to a place where I realize what a disservice we do to others and our relationships by judging people who have a different opinion.  I am so desperately seeking a judgment free zone.  I think we all are.  It would be so great to feel safe enough to be able to share what we think about something without worrying about the potential backlash.

One last Brene quote.  For today.  "The truest measure of belonging is the ability to dissent."  Right?  If we disagree and we can say it, that means we truly belong and feel safe.  I don't know about you, but I would much rather live in a world where more people feel they truly belong and feel safe than agree with me.  

Humility is hard.  It's a big ask, I know.  To be right, to feel right, to feed our pride feels infinitely better.  But I think humility makes us infinitely better human beings.  Who's with me?  



"Pride is concerned with who is right; humility is concerned with what is right." - Ezra T. Benson


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