Few things can teach you the value of being humble like a combination of going through a season of intense struggle and rediscovering your identity. I’ve never really seen myself as a prideful person (which doesn’t really say much). Yes, I have my moments of arrogance, but for the most part, my sense of self isn’t highfalutin. Although I grew up with some measure of privilege (this one has its own day of thanks), I had been through some measure of struggle in the past – one “season” it was employment; in another season it was financial; yet another it was personal. But going through all three simultaneously, and to the degree I went through them, STRETCHED me like never before.
The beauty of knowing who you are is that your perspective with regards to a lot of things changes significantly. First off, I gained a greater appreciation for the fact that asking for help isn’t something I should be ashamed of. There will be times in your life you need help, for even mundane things, and it takes a lot to be vulnerable enough to let people know that you’re in such a situation. I’m grateful for the kind of people I have as a support system, because they constantly told me they were there if I needed help. They definitely helped break down my walls of self-reliance from both a faith and personal stand point. Of course, this didn’t mean that I wasn’t still extremely selective in who I asked for what, and when I asked for stuff. Because face it, everybody has their own struggles that most times you have no idea about.
Still related to my first point, I realized that it isn’t my lot in life to be “a self-made man” (an ideology I personally believe is bullshit, but that’s a discussion for another time). Looking at how my entire professional and post-undergrad life has progressed, without help from people I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Whether it was getting my first real internship, my first proper job after college, writing GRE, applying for a visa. Basically, all the significant progress I have made in my adult life has been because there were people who cared about me who were willing to help. It can be a pretty humbling realization.
Another thing I came to understand was that, no matter people’s best intentions there will be times when they cannot help you. Not because they don’t like you or they don’t want to, but because right there and then they can’t. Nobody is too big to take “No” for an answer. And even if it’s the most polite refusal ever, it’ll still hurt. But taking it with graciousness and not making people feel weird about it is a blessing.
Humility is defined as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance”. I know who I am, I know my place as a single individual in the grand scheme of things. I know my strengths. I know my weaknesses. I know my limitations. As such, I am thankful for humility.
Featured Image Source: forbes.com