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 thing— and 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.