: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people
: not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive
: showing that you do not think of yourself as better than other people
: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission
Humility (n.): early 14th century, from Old French umelite “modesty, sweetness,” from Latin humilitatem, “lowness, small stature; insignificance; baseness, littleness of mind,” in Church Latin humilis “meekness.”
Humble (adj.): late 13th century, from Old French humble, umble, earlier umele, of persons, “submissive, respectful, lowly in manner, modest, not self-asserting, obedient” and from Latin humilis “lowly,” literally “on the ground,” from humus “earth.”
“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”
Lao Tzu (571 BC – 531 BC, philosopher and poet of ancient China, and is known as the author of Tao Te Ching and the father of Taoism)
“It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
Mahatma (meaning “Great Soul”) Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi, 1869-1948, was a lawyer and the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Gandhi suffered six known assassination attempts during the course of his life.)
“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”
Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965, Former British Prime minister from 1940-1945 and again from 1951-1955; his father was an English aristocrat-politician and his mother was an American heiress. Sir Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 for his six volumes history of World War II.)
“A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.”
Albert Einstein (1879-1955, Germana-born theoretical physicist, who developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics)
“These are the few ways we can practice humility:
To speak as little as possible of one's self.
To mind one's own business.
Not to want to manage other people's affairs.
To avoid curiosity.
To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries.
To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
Never to stand on one's dignity.
To choose always the hardest.”
Mother Theresa (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1997, was a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary. She was born in Skopje, Macedonia and was of Kosovar Albanian ancestry.)
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
C.S. Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis, 1898-1963, British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, and Christian apologist, who wrote more than 30 books.)
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961, American novelist, short story writer, and journalist, and considered one the greatest English writers of the 20th century.)
“To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929, age 85, American author of novels, children books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction)
“If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, "He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.”
Epictetus (55 AD – 135 AD, Greek-speaking Stoic philosopher, born a slave, lived and worked as a student in Rom, and then as a teacher with his own school in Nicropolis in Greece. Please note: The Stoic doctrine is divided into three parts: logic, physics, and ethics.)
“To find the balance you want, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it's like you have 4 legs instead of 2. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.”
Elizabeth Gilbert (b. 1969, age 46, American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist, and memoirist, known for the bestselling book, “Eat, Pray, Love”)
There’s a lot about humility we can learn from Pope Francis, and his living example of authenticity.
When gleaning the origins of the word, Humility, the root words that resonated the most when thinking of Pope Francis were, “sweetness” and “earth,” because he epitomized and elevated both.
Also, one could sense that if permitted the pope could have dispensed with all ceremonial formalities and walked humbly amongst us as a pastor and Jesuit priest.
News commentators and journalists often expressed that the pope beamed with the delight when he was surrounded with children, people of meager means, and those who had challenging and distressful lives.
The pope’s visit wasn’t about him. It was about the mission to be of service and to witness mercy.
One of the most moving legs of the pope’s visit was when he sat among other spiritual leaders at a multi-faith ceremony for Ground Zero. Although he sat centered stage he sat as an equal and shared the platform.
When his assistants walked over to give him his speech the pope was not so apt to take the microphone and speak. He expressed he felt the “palpable grief” of where he was.
You know what really surprised me the most about Pope Francis’s visit? Us! As Americans, we allowed the pope his imperfections. As an audience, we were compassionate, patient, and understanding, especially when the pope spoke in not-so-fluent English or in Spanish.
The pope, as a humble father and grandfather figure, mysteriously ground all of us to our “common home” and reconnected us as a human family. And in return, we looked upon him with great warmth as he so lovingly looked upon each of us.
Humility is about staying grounded in love and sacredness. It’s also about listening, empathizing, and showing compassion to others. And, it’s about sometimes stepping back or stepping forward when one is needed to be of service.
Wouldn’t it be awe-inspiring if we could apply what we have witnessed from the pope, and forge ahead by treating each other with humility and respect?!
Stay well, my friends and walk in peace.
Much Love, Tonya