This is the time of year many of us resolve to get back in shape! I admit, my shape-up habits are pretty inconsistent. This results in some poorly defined, weaker muscles like my triceps and biceps that I need for just about everything in my life.
My emotional muscles get out of shape, too. Lately I’ve begun to notice what I call the triceps and biceps of my emotional health: humility and curiosity. These are different types of muscles, but I’ve realized I need them just as much to support my entire well-being. Strengthening them takes constant work, without which I feel (and look) pretty bad. So this year I am resolving to get my physical and mental health in better shape.
Humility is incredibly important. But whenever I want to talk about it – it’s a short conversation. People change the subject. It makes them very uncomfortable. Like perhaps for you right now. Maybe it’s because of what humility reveals about us. I know now Humility is more than polite respect. I use to mistake it for weakness. But humility is a relationship’s superpower. This is important! Without humility we cannot be fully grateful for people and compassionate for others. We even stop learning and being amazed in life. Humility opens up a world of discovery and self-improvement – how? It partners with curiosity which considers what others have to offer!
It’s easy for me to acknowledge this but when it comes to the habit of practicing humility my stubborn resistance and defensiveness shows up. I think it’s so much easier to embrace humility when we’re getting praised for it.
Perhaps our experience of rejection and criticism develops a habit where being right wants to out-muscle doing the right thing. Our survival depends on standing up for ourselves, being respected, and valued, all of which we deserve. I know though, how we get respect and what we do with approval is what matters.
What does humility mean to you? Push aside your resistance to this question and consider how being humble makes us stronger. Being humble is a balancing act of owning our great worth without having to prove ourselves – so we don’t have to brag about it – not even to ourselves. I’m making an effort to strengthen my humility muscles because I know they will support better relationships: you know, the reason we’re here in this world.
So here’s a work-out tip for strengthening your humility muscle: exercise curiosity. It’s the secret to your total work-out results. The next time you think, or act as if, “My way is really the best way,” flex your curiosity which good-naturedly suggests, “What could I learn and – maybe even appreciate, if I quiet the loud, proud and stubborn voices in my head?” This is more than another resolution. A strong heart supported by humility and curiosity will do the heavy lifting that changes your life, maybe even the world.