Author: lisafritsch

During a period of self-reflection and learning I came across the saying, “We teach best what we most need to learn.” And like a ton of bricks, it hit me, “I’m a humility teacher!” I came to  humility the hard way. I was humbled to humility by a series of falls, a loss of identity and a major correction in my thinking, being, and life.

From rising strong from the brutal butt-kicking I got stepping up to challenge the status quo in the Republican Primary for Governor of Texas to grieving the loss of my identity as a know-it-all conservative talk radio show host and television and radio pundit. To heeding the corrections my newfound knowledge, strength, and vision that my time in the arena brought me. And finally to dealing with the recognition that my struggle with shame and pride led to many of these butt-kickings, corrections, and misguided perceptions and identities. And while getting here “ain’t been no crystal stair,” I’m eternally grateful for the journey.

Someone once wrote that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.

Coming out of the arena bruised, shaken, and tired I reflected on how every good thing I was truly grateful for in my life  was pure “coincidence,” serendipity. Grace! I counted the many gifts and blessings in my life that I’d erroneously taken great pride and satisfaction of accomplishment in and saw how my pride had blinded me to grace.
That I’m American; had an attentive and sacrificing mother and a generous extended family growing up; that I went to UT Austin on a scholarship; studied abroad in Japan. That I was married with two healthy children and on and on. Meanwhile, I held others accountable (and also against them, let’s be honest) for what they didn’t have or didn’t do. My lack of humility and my pride in my “accomplishments” and “my choices” gave me an uppityness and a desire to continue to be set apart through performance. I was disconnected and removed in humanity in ways I’d never even considered. I was sick. Sick with pride.

Oh yeah, and, pride is a bully.

Those things I didn’t like or want in myself, pride bullied me into thinking I could out-perform and fake it until I made those things irrelevant and  hidden. When I finally wore myself out, I was humbled face down to humility.

If it is true that coincidence is God’s way of  remaining anonymous, might it also be true that humility is our own way to anonymity and catalytic power?

I put an earnest yearning for humility to the test and began to notice a real change in myself, my time with my kids (Bowie and Elenor) and my husband (Mike). Mostly, I stopped performing, worrying, shaming, and blaming. I faced necessary hurts, truths, tore down and rebuilt. The bruises healed.

Now the big idea is to have a habit of humility without exalting my humility. As a friend recently noted, humility is an elusive trait. Certainly congratulating yourself for having it means you likely don’t. Pride is deft. Pride is a bully.

So I decided on a project. I’ve thrown myself into researching pride and humility from many angles, sources, and genres, exploring and sharing stories, experiences and truths so more of us can get better at recognizing pride and taking this bully down.

The project consists of interviews for the blog, a podcast, and a forthcoming book which will encompass the education received over the course of the project. I believe our stories and experiences are our best paths to connection, influence, and meaning.  

The interviews are diverse, personal, and very real. We’re exploring humility from many angles to breakdown stereotypes about humility—who has it, who doesn’t, that it’s weak, that it’s a religious thingand to redefine it as a source of inspiration, strength, a healing tool in our world, and as a way to a joyful life. Humility is a habit of self-disappearance as a means of  love, defense, protection, connection, salvation.

I believe humility, practiced collectively, can serve us not only in our intimate circles, but also in our communities, our world, and leadership.I invite you to broaden this conversation and these intentions to our collective benefit. We’re all in the ring together! Share your story, read other’s, pass it along, test it for yourself and see what powerful coincidences and happy moments take root in your life. Go on, be humble. Disappear. I dare you!

These were created to have the most impact on my own humility project. Yours may be a little different so feel free to use my model and make it your own.

  1. Humility is hard to offend, easy to please. I will not spin cycles over perceived insult or lack of appreciation. I will practice outward shows of gratitude for every kindness, grace and act of service done onto me.
  2. Humility doesn’t do the hustle. I am enough. I have enough.I will rejoice and be glad in my faults. When I am tempted to hustle for my self-worth, I will accept the sufficiency of grace over the false promise of performance. When I am feeling tired, anxious and overwhelmed I will stop and rest in the stillness, presence, and peace of God knowing I have chosen better and it will not be taken from me.
  3. Humility carries an unlimited mercy card. I will not only practice kindness to strangers but also forgiveness to loved ones. We sometimes give our kindness to strangers, reserving our worst selves for those we love and who love us most. I will respect my soft places to fall, treating them tenderly. I will remember we are all doing the best we can. When I don’t feel I did my best or got the best, I will choose to believe in and for the best.
  4. Humility is thoroughly knowledgeable that it knows very little. I want to speak less and listen more. “The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.” JFK. I will remember how little I know before judging or projecting my limited insight and discernment onto any situation or person. If I’m feeling mighty in wisdom or high in accomplishment, I will look to the heavens as a reminder of my need for meeknes to divine will, wisdom, law, creation and others.
  5. Humility asks only for daily bread. The future belongs to God. The past is locked. The present is all I have and I have everything I need in that moment. When tempted to fret and ponder the outcome of my labors and intentions, I will refer to habit #2. When tempted to sloth, I will remember the Marcus Aurelius quote: “Do not act as if you have one-thousand years to live,” to remind me that I do not live on bread alone.
  6. Humility airs no humble opinions, but shares humble experiences. Please let me die to my opinions and replace IMHO (in my humble opinion) with IMHE (in my humble experience). I am not my opinion and my opinion doesn’t matter (see habit #4). My true value lies in fostering connection and adding meaning and value to the lives of others. I want to connect with others through offering who I am and how I can serve rather than what I think.
  7. Humility sees good in all men, seeks goodwill for all men, speaks highest of all men. I will look for the highest in all men knowing all are fearfully and wonderfully made. I will remember that I can do nothing to others that I do not do unto myself. I will use my talents, time and treasure to promote the advancement, love, and peace of humanity. May the words of my mouth be fruitful, speaking life and blessing over my neighbor both in my heart and in the presence of others. I will remember that we are all the least of these, mightiest through humility, greatest in service to others.