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Humility vs. Self-confidence

May 31, 2013

“Well done is better than well said”

What is the difference between humility and having a healthy sense of self-confidences?  I think that even bringing this up is a significant cause for alarm for me personally.  If I don’t know the difference then there is a problem.  So, what do I do about it?  I get back to the basics and read up on self-acceptance and the triangle of self-obsession as well as humility.

What is humility and how do I “find it”?  Humility is by definition, many different things.  It can mean a sense of self-worth, it can have spiritual or religious meaning, it can also mean a feeling of being “grounded” or one with the Earth.  There are other meanings that relate to ethical or moral values and a sense of virtue.  So what does humility really mean to me?  I feel it is doing the right thing for the right reasons.  Doing something not for recognition, status or reward but because someone else will benefit.  In a way it is an action that leads to an affect and both action and affect can determine humility.  For example, you are standing in line at the grocery store.  The person in front of you is struggling to pay for their groceries, using several different cards and scraping up change from the bottom of their purse or pockets.  You offer to pay the extra change.  Why did you do it?  Did you do it because you are in a hurry and they are holding up the line?  Did you do it so others would notice and you could tell people later about what you did?  Did you do it because if you do something good something good will happen to you?  Did you “Pay it Forward” and hope that the person will then do good things for other people throughout the day?  Or was it all of the above?  Maybe a few of these are the reasons you did it.  Maybe you did not even think about it, you just did it.

What’s the right answer?  How many of us can honestly say we did it because it was the right thing to do?  What if there was a case of beer next to the diapers and formula?  Would this change the outcome?  Do you judge someone and then do something nice depending on whether or not they meet your criteria to do a good deed for them?  Maybe it is a combination of experiences, judgments and values that cause us to become exasperated with the person instead of helping them out.  Some of us may even mutter something about putting the beer back.  Now if we pay the extra money does that make us humble?  Can we still be humble if we don’t?

My perception of humility is what I do and why I do it.  It is as simple as that.  If I do something for any other reason besides it’s just the right thing to do I think that is outside the realms of what can be considered humble.  Does that mean I am not a humble person?  I don’t think so, I am not a saint and no one else is either.  I think there are motives behind things I do that I expect a certain reaction for and can be discouraged if I do not receive the reaction or response I was looking for.  I would ay that humility is something we strive for just like anything else it cannot be perfected; there will always be room for improvement.  I don’t think you can one day say I am officially humble.  Humility is part of how we live our life and we are never going to be perfect.  If we proclaim ourselves humble well then that goes against what humility stands for!  Now that I have torn the idea of humility to shreds let’s move on.

What is self-confidence, self-worth or self-acceptance?  Again by definition it is the sense of self-esteem.  It is how a person feels about themselves.  It is our opinion of ourselves, how we perceive ourselves and whether it is conscious or subconscious it affects our behaviors or reactions.  It also encompasses our belief in ourselves and that in turn affects how we view the world and how we react to situations.  So how do we determine if something is a form of healthy self-confidence or self-seeking?  Self-worth or self-absorption?  Self-acceptance or is it selfishness that drives us?  I think it depends on our expectations and our motives.  What drives us to do the things we do and again I do not think it is something that can be perfected.  It is again, something we strive for in life.

I feel that after reading, researching and writing about humility and self-esteem I have a better understanding of what each is and how to apply them to my life.  It is not something that happens overnight.  Like any other change, it takes time and effort.  I will be more aware of my motives, actions and reactions now.

Would you pay the change for someone in a grocery line who had a case of beer included in their order with diapers, formula and food?


From → My Story, Recovery

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