Is Humility A Taboo?

Is humility a dirty word?  It seems we avoid it, and I think it is important to ask why.

My hunch is that humility and humiliation are closely connected in the minds of many people although they are very different.

Humility is gentle; humiliation is aggressive. Humility is often considered a social position of one down. while humiliation is often used to reinforce a superior position. Humility has a generous sharing quality; humiliation is an assault on our dignity.

Humility is more about service than domination. Unfortunately, service carries an association with servility and subservience.  Hierarchical organizations which dominate our society reinforce the idea of superiors and inferiors and our winner-take-all competitive structure creates many situations of loss. It is no wonder that humiliation can become the typical experience of many people.

In an individualistic and aggressive world, humble work is often done by those who are providing others with a stepping stone to success.  Rankism which is abuse based on rank often accompanies humble work. Most if not all of us have experienced the condescension and nasty treatment of someone who “outranks” us and it is not a pleasant experience.

Humility has great benefits. In particular it enables us to be open to possibility and therefore our own creativity. Wabi-sabi is an ancient and smart Japanese philosophy that values that which is humble. Humble is where life is since nothing is permanent. The edge of existence is where life happens.

Humility keeps us in that moment of constant change and becoming, and in doing so makes it possible for us to be a part of the larger journey of life. Humility keeps us in the ongoing creation of the universe.

Humility and wabi sabi are the antithesis of aggressive individualism.  They are the opposite of control and status.  There is no veneer or pose to protect in humility and wabi sabi.  Their gifts to us are honesty and authenticity and real relationship and the opportunity to live in our creative selves.

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A Holiday Wish

christmas stars © by mararie

It has been a strange holiday season this year.  Perhaps because of the mercury retrograde or perhaps because of all the change in the air. For me, it has been a season of thinking, this time about appreciation.  No, not the why don’t they appreciate me whine.  Something different.

I was thinking about our current messed-up state here in the United States, and I was remembering that back in the 50′s and 60′s there was an idea that we were entering a new age of leisure, that we had such sophisticated machines and they would do everything for us. We had it made. Whatever our demands were they would be satisfied.

That thinking has stayed with us for at least a half century.  It inspired an IBM ad not too long ago about an on-demand world. Just snap your fingers and it will be done.  In just snapping our fingers, we have also closed our eyes to what it takes to deliver on our demands, and what it costs us and our environment to do so.  Our natural empathetic natures became unnecessary, unwanted and even in the way.

The cost has been much higher than we imagine. Our on-demand world has cost us a grounded relationship with process: natural process, manufacturing process, all process.  It means that we have lost relationship, the art of working things through, and the ability to know how to direct ourselves in response to the dynamics of living. Our desires and demands have made all of that irrelevant?

Our disengagement from our world behind the shield of entertainment doesn’t protect us from reality.  Pushing a button is not wisdom in action. Our disengagement means that we do not know what to appreciate or why.  We have delegated our lives and without the experience of living in process how do we begin to take them back?

There is one group of people who does not have the luxury of acquiescing to the current system.  Our humble and creative HSP’s are more engaged with process than any other group.  We take in everything and have to deal with it and are often alone in doing so.

Highly sensitive people have a capacity for appreciation that is exceptional.  All the processing of sensory information, thoughts, feelings and experiences gives us a library of information for working with a dynamic world. HSP’s are the people who can lead us back to a groundedness with our world.

It is my wish for HSP’s this holiday that they take a moment to appreciate themselves, as the stars in the tree that hold the light we need to bring us to a new communal understanding.  You are truly special and worthy of very high regard. Please celebrate your gifts to the world in this holiday season.