Humility is seeing oneself clearly… without humility, growth stops. It is only when you can see your current self as it truly is that you can take the appropriate action to move forward. Without humility, you tend to run face first into a lot of brick walls.
If you’re tired of banging your head, or if you simply feel stuck, here’s a set of 3 exercises you can do to help yourself develop humility. Through honest self-assessment, you will discover both who you are now and who you have the potential to be.
On separate pieces of paper or in a word processor document, make 4 lists of current:
- What is Important To Me
- What is Not Important To Me that I Spend Time Doing
Keep in mind some things may belong on both your Strength and Weakness lists.
Take your list of Weaknesses and separate it into two sections:
- Weaknesses I can change
- Weaknesses I cannot change
We all have weaknesses we cannot change. Review your list carefully. Examine the weaknesses you cannot change. Accept them fully as part of your current being. You may begin to realize that other people have the same weaknesses. Look for role models in people who have learned how to embrace and use those weaknesses to create a happier life. Let these people inspire you to find ways of turning your weaknesses into strengths that make you more compassionate and more open to loving-kindness. For the weaknesses that you simply cannot accept, see them for what they are: attachments. Acknowledge the weight of each of these attachments, and carry it consciously as long as you need to.
With the list of weakness that you can change, chip away at the list day by day, hour by hour. These patterns have become ingrained in your being, and it will take practice to overcome them. Each time you put energy into changing a weakness, you are empowering yourself.
Take your list of What is Not Important To Me that I Spend Time Doing and separate it into two sections:
- Things I can stop doing
- Things I have to do
It seems odd, but most people spend a great deal of time doing things that are not really important to them. Whether it’s out of habit or because they want to spend time with someone else or because they invested a great deal of time in a project and they just want to finish it, it’s easy to get lost. Ask yourself if, for a week or a month, what would happen if I stopped doing this thing? Experiment and see. Use the time you now have by doing something from your list of Things Important To Me.
We all have things we have to do, and sometimes they appear as not important to us. Examine this list very, very closely. This is the place we often hide the Truth from ourselves. We claim something is not important, yet we feel we have to do, and this attitude allows us to wallow in self-righteous misery. We may even get together with others just to complain about these horrible things we must do. The ego loves this stuff, because it can exert its full power of control.
Look at this list again, slowly and deliberately. Perhaps you view exercise or eating or doing laundry as something not important that you have to do. I assure you, your body views exercise and eating as important. If you have any sense of smell, then you’ll find clean laundry is also important.
With this list, what is needed is deep examination and attitude adjustment. Maybe there’s something you do that’s not important to you, but you feel you have to do it because you’re doing it for someone else. In that case, the thing you think is not important really is important to you because pleasing this other person is important to you. If you look closely enough, you’ll find everything on this list belongs in either the Things Important to Me or in the Things I Can Stop Doing list. By adjusting your view, you reclaim the power lost to the ego’s game of self-pity. Instead of the activity being a drain to your energy, you’ll feel good knowing you are doing what is important to you.
Give yourself the time to work through all of your lists. Review your Strengths often to remind you of the power you have already claimed. When you have extra time, pick something from your Things Important to Me list to do. Moment by moment, release yourself from the Things Not Important and transform your Weaknesses into Strengths.
As you continue to look at yourself with humility – seeing who you are currently – you’ll grow into the next brighter, happier version of you.
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