Humility requires one to let go of pride and ideas of self-importance. To have humility is to be humble. We think not of who we should be or who we would like to be; we simply are. We are present, and we exist. We allow ourselves to be without contorting the person we are to fit someone else’s expectations. We can get bogged down by thoughts of who we should be, external pressures to conform, to be accepted. We can even get caught up in our own ideas of who we are. All these concerns about whether or not we fit the ideal model of who we should be are keeping us from being the person we really are though. Through humility, we find self-acceptance. There is no better example of this than nature.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“No one who has ever sat beside the sea and experienced her eternal power and gentleness can have any question that the sea knows that she is just that, the sea. Nature has such as ability to be exactly what she is, with no pretense . . . and she does not even have to stop and think about it.
When we have to stop and think who we are, we are not being who we are. When we are trying to be someone we believe we should be, we are not being who we are. When we are trying to be what someone else has told us we should be, we are not being ourselves. To be myself, I have to be.”
Some of the greatest forces of nature—the sun, the moon, and the trees, for example—have no sense of their own importance, nor that they are the center of all life. They simply exist. They don’t have to think about how to provide light, warmth, or oxygen. They don’t have to mull over their role and place in the world. They simply do. We could all learn from the example set by nature.
I think about this a lot ever since my husband gently reminded me that time is a human construct. My anxiety often centers around time, specifically the lack of it or the idea that time is running out. We are only given so much, after all, and any we waste can never be recovered. Consider animals though. A cat has no sense of time. She knows not when dinner is late, or that she eats every day at 6 p.m., only that she is hungry. She knows it has been four swishes of a tail since we last played with her, or that it has been two naps since she was last pet. Why is it humans get so hung up on time?
A common mantra I’ve adopted lately is, “I’ll get there when I get there.” Also, “It will take as long as it takes.” Rushing only serves to make the person who is rushed unhappy; very rarely does it accomplish the goal of saving time. In fact, we often make ourselves later in an attempt to rush, by spilling coffee on the way out the door to work, for example, causing us to have to go back and change, then clean up the spill. There is something to be said for accepting things as they are, including ourselves. We could all do with a little less self-importance, a little more humility.