(image from Pixabay)
Humility... being humble... hiding a part of yourself (or all of yourself)... withholding information about yourself... giving your ego a break... not celebrating your achievements...
... these are all things I have been thinking about the past two weeks, and I'll be honest I have felt confused. I have been trying so hard to not talk about me or what I have achieved in life, and it feels as though I am going against the grain of my personality. I have never thought that I overly boast about things (and often when I meet people I fail to tell them about my Paralympic experience, unless it somehow comes up), but I do need to talk about events in my life of which I am proud, in fact if I didn't talk about them I would be out of a job. So how can I reconcile my need to speak of my achievements with being humble, quiet, and externally focused?
And so I boasted on Twitter this morning. THIS morning. 14 days into this challenge month of humility and I blatantly boasted, without thinking about it, stopping myself, or questioning my motive. After trying to be conscious not to overly boast (outside of the realms of my job), I failed to mindfully note that I actually didn't have to boast in that moment - this boast wasn't helping anyone other then me.
On reflection I realise that that moment on Twitter was actually an opportunity to listen and serve. And listen and serve I didn't.
Now I am not hitting myself over the head with this, but it made me realise that, for me, being present is the key, and mindfulness the skill to actually embodying these character traits as fully as I can.
And so I boasted on Twitter and I realised that actually I should have listened. Is that actually what being humble is?
When you look at the countless articles and blog posts out there the most common thread about being a humble person is that a humble person listens to others, without thought to self, thought to judgement, and thought to being a hero (in a situation when you might think a person is needing a hero). And all this listening (and accepting and interest and love and genuine responding) all leads to better relationships.
I am trying to listen more, speak less.
When a thought or an interjection jumps to mind I hold that thought and bring it back to the person I am speaking too. Or at least I am trying, and succeeding on some days, failing on others. But it's about the trying isn't it? And just as meditation has become a habit after months and months of meditating daily, shouldn't listening eventually become the default habit in social situations?
And so, as this blog post, "Listening Skills: How humility can be very powerful," states:
"If you can master the skill of listening, you can create change and influence where it otherwise may not happen. Good listening requires the ability to put the focus for the moment on someone else and take yourself out of the equation completely. Set aside your opinions, your advice, your preconceived notions, and your desire to talk about yourself… just listen. Our first inclination when someone comes to talk to us is to try to remedy their situation as quickly as possible. We want to eliminate the uncomfortable negative and turn toward the peaceful positive. But in doing so, we quickly relay the message, “I don’t want to hear what you’re dealing with.” What if, instead, we said, “Tell me more,” and give someone the gift of being heard, of telling us all that’s going on, everything that’s making them feel the way they’re feeling? By allowing someone to talk, to purge even, we tell them we care about them and about what they’re going through."
I am going to stop responding immediately and I am going to try and just listen... more.
(I want to listen to you, tell me something about you in the comments below)