“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self”.
— Ernest Hemingway
Humility is one of the many virtues often side-lined. Sadly, because humility is royalty without a crown and greatness in plain cloth. Who wants royalty without a crown? Or greatness without it being evident? What’s the point of having it all without showing off?
Our hearts are inclined to bask and relish in our achievements and worldly possessions, and eventually, the urge to have an inflated sense of self creeps in like a cancer.
And then, one of the two things are bound to happen to us:
1. We either become like the proverbial flea Nza who ate a ball of foofoo and challenged his Chi to a contest, which of course he lost.
[We become larger than life and boastful, forgetting that pride goes before a fall]
2. Or we try out the faux kind of humility like the story of the Archbishop and Bishop.
Overcome with spiritual ecstasy, an archbishop approaches the altar in great rush. He gets down on his knees and cries, “I’m nobody, Lord! I’m nobody! Nobody!”
The bishop in attendance sees the extraordinary humility and devotional sentiment of the archbishop. Overwhelmed with love for God, he too runs to the altar yelling, “Lord, I’m nobody! I’m nobody, Lord!”
It so happened that a janitor was mopping the floor nearby. He saw how two deeply religious people were one with God. He got goosebumps. Filled with piety and a fervent spirit, he drops his mop and also dashes to the altar, proclaiming, “I’m nobody! Oh Lord, hear me, I’m nobody! Nobody!”
The archbishop takes notice, turns to the bishop and says, “Look, who thinks he’s nobody”.
Arrogant and self-absorbed people are usually very shallow, it takes a lot of depth to be humble. When you weigh it on the scale, the heavier side is always lower.
As I pursue spirituality, I yearn to embrace piety and true humility of heart. And below is my confession.
God, I am far too often influenced by what others think of me.
I am always pretending to be either richer or smarter or nicer than I really am.
Please prevent me from trying to attract attention. Don’t let me gloat over praise on one hand or be discouraged by criticism on the other.
Nor let me waste time weaving imaginary situations in which the most heroic, charming, witty person present is myself. Show me how to be humble of heart, like you.
– Author Unknown
“At the end of the day, even on the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom”.