The Humility Spectrum

There is a big difference between being humble and being humbled.  The former is a description of who you are.  You understand that you aren’t the most important person in the room.  You naturally think of others before yourself.  You are honestly happy to simply be present.  You find joy in hearing other people’s stories.  In fact, you seek out other people’s stories.  You are compassionate and forgiving.  Being joy full, peace full and play full are your life goals.  Being humble is your identity.  Which translates into your decisions and your actions.


On the other hand, being humbled isn’t something that you do.  It isn’t your identity.  It isn’t a characteristic of who you are.  Being humbled is something that is done to you.  As a result of who you are. 


Being humbled is simply the result of you not being humble, of your own accord.  Being humbled happens when you believe that you are the most important person in the room.  Being humbled happens when you don’t think of others before yourself.  Being humbled is the result of you never being satisfied to simply be present in any situation. 


Being humbled happens when you are honestly happy to monopolize any and every situation.  Being humbled happens when you only want others to hear your story.  Being humbled happens when you seek compassion and forgiveness, but you never give compassion and forgiveness.  Being humbled happens when your joy and peace is found in making sure everything is about you.  And forget about being play full, since you believe that being play full is humiliating. 


All of us fall into one of these two camps.  You are either being humble or you are being humbled.  Now, let’s be honest.  Each and every single one of us knows exactly what it’s like to be on both sides of this issue.  We all know what it’s like to be humble and to be humbled.  Yet, upon closer inspection, all of us can ascertain whether or not we are a humble person or a person who is regularly being humbled.  And all of us can learn from each and every situation, regardless of where we fall on the humility spectrum.        


Let’s examine the being humbled reality.  Let’s say you are one who, upon closer inspection, finds themselves all too often in the situation where you are being humbled.  No condemnation.  No judgement.  Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life.  There’s possibility out here for you.


Your possibility is found in changing your ways.  Starting with your perspective.  If you are accustomed to being humbled, you need to ask yourself the all-important question of “Why?”  Think about the last instance in which you were humbled.  Why did it happen?


Here’s where your perspective comes into play.  You may have a hard time realizing that you were even being humbled.  For your skewed perspective convinced you that you were being wronged.  That whoever or whatever was humbling you was the bad guy.  That you were in the right and everything else was wrong.  For a defining characteristic of someone who is being humbled, is a lack of an empathic perspective.  You struggle to understand and share the feelings of others. 


It requires a great deal of grit and determination to even admit this reality to yourself.  Let alone acknowledging it to others.  Thus, it’s not the norm for you to even think of yourself in this way.  Let alone take any positive steps in order to change your course and be a different way. 


So, if this sounds like you and you are still reading – Kuddos!  For there is hope.  The hope of the possibility of being transformed from someone who is being humbled into someone who is humble.


Step #1 – Admit that you are a person who finds themselves regularly being humbled by people and situations.  Naming it and claiming it is the first step towards changing it.  Transformation begins with realization and confession.


Step #2 – Acknowledge that being humbled is something that happens to you because of who you are.  Don’t beat yourself up or put yourself down.  Simply grasp the fact that you are your own worst enemy.  Who you are – your behaviors, your decisions, your attitudes – all factor into your reality of regularly being humbled.  In order to be transformed from someone who is being humbled into someone who is humble, who you are must be transformed.


Step #3 – Realize that Step #2 is impossible under your own power.  You cannot will yourself or even do yourself into a transformed identity.  Behavior modification will never transform who you are.  Transformation can only be realized from the inside out.  Transformation is born by embracing your “without”.  Transformation begins with the realization that you are without the power to transform yourself.



Step #4 – Take all of this realization to God.  The only one who can truly transform you from the inside out.  “What I am saying is this, if you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face.  But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” (Luke 14:11) Allow God to start working, transforming you from the inside out.  Transforming you from someone who is being humbled into someone who is humble.