sustainably

How to develop humility?

11 posts in this topic

Dear Forum,

I am a very arrogant, proud and nosy guy. I have this preachy attitude everytime I talk to people.

They hate me for that, and often warn me that I can't get too far with such an attitude. 

Some tell me that I act like a shrink, while others accuse me of mansplaining.

I lost a lot of friendships, relationships and a few good contacts because of this attitude. Not just that, I think I am losing many other unnoticed lessons just because of this attitude.

On the other hand, I came across a few charismatic people. They are very humble, receptive, and have the ability to make and maintain a lot of friendships and relationships. They learn very quickly. They are always calm and composed.

I don't want to be that preachy guy. Please help me with the following:

(i) How can I become genuinely humble and not be someone who shows fake humility during particular situations?

(ii) What does humility mean to you? What are your successes/failures with humility?

(iii) How to avoid preachy behavior and be of real help to people around me ?

I believe your responses would be very helpful to me 

Thanks in advance !!

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Hi!

First of all I would suggest completely accepting this trait of your personality. If it's there it's there for a reason (or multiple reasons). Generally, arrogance and preachy attitude is a defense mechanism. Usually what's behind it is a great amount of insecurity and fear of being hurt. Learning about how projection works could be useful for you. 

After accepting this, digging deeper would be the way to go IMO. What I mean by this is getting in touch (emotionally) with your insecurities and fears. By accepting these parts of yourself, you probably won't feel the need to hide and defend yourself so often. 

However, this is just one hypothesis and it doesn't have to be your case. This is why the most important part is to work on yourself, get to know yourself better and ask yourself what this arrogance, etc., has protected you from. Once you've done this, you can decide if you still need to play that role.

Giving up something that has been a part of you for a long time is a difficult and usually long process, so don't beat yourself up if it takes some time. It's literally jumping out of your comfort zone and that is usually pretty scary, so relapses are to be expected, especially when you feel you're being attacked. A psychotherapist can be very useful in this process. Also, don't expect to become the most humble person in the world. 

Let us know how it goes :)

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@sustainably You are not coming across as arrogant in this post. Willingness to learn is a humble trait. Well done. 

At the same time, you seem very composed (clear in what you want and what you're asking for, & articulate) and also confident (is that real?). These are great assets.

Quote

I think I am losing many other unnoticed lessons just because of this attitude.

Your intention is to notice previously unnoticed lessons. I suggest, maybe you could make it an exercise to go into social interactions, and not speak (or very little), just observe with the intention to learn.

Quote

(i) How can I become genuinely humble and not be someone who shows fake humility during particular situations?

(ii) What does humility mean to you? What are your successes/failures with humility?

(iii) How to avoid preachy behavior and be of real help to people around me ?

I'm not always humble, but when I am, it comes from the recognition of my own limits. 

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Dear @Farnaby 

Thank you very much for your valuable advice

On 4/16/2019 at 0:01 AM, Farnaby said:

so relapses are to be expected

I will be aware of them :)

On 4/16/2019 at 0:01 AM, Farnaby said:

Also, don't expect to become the most humble person in the world

Yup. That quiet evidently sounds like an oxymoron

On 4/16/2019 at 0:01 AM, Farnaby said:

After accepting this, digging deeper would be the way to go IMO. What I mean by this is getting in touch (emotionally) with your insecurities and fears. By accepting these parts of yourself, you probably won't feel the need to hide and defend yourself so often. 

However, this is just one hypothesis and it doesn't have to be your case. This is why the most important part is to work on yourself, get to know yourself better and ask yourself what this arrogance, etc., has protected you from. Once you've done this, you can decide if you still need to play that role.

I will definitely observe myself more proactively, and try to understand more deeply about my arrogance and its roots.

On 4/16/2019 at 0:01 AM, Farnaby said:

Let us know how it goes :)

Sure! However, I guess that would take a few months

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Dear @Elisabeth

On 4/16/2019 at 1:02 AM, Elisabeth said:

You are not coming across as arrogant in this post. Willingness to learn is a humble trait. Well done. 

At the same time, you seem very composed (clear in what you want and what you're asking for, & articulate) and also confident (is that real?). These are great assets.

Thank you for highlighting the humbler aspects in my post. You are so kind and patient enough for doing it. I feel so optimistic and fortunate for receiving your advice. However, I had to edit my post by inducing some fake humility and removing the more arrogant parts in it so that the post does not repel people from reading it. At my core I feel that I am very arrogant and disrespectful in a lot of situations.

On 4/16/2019 at 1:02 AM, Elisabeth said:

I suggest, maybe you could make it an exercise to go into social interactions, and not speak (or very little), just observe with the intention to learn.

I call this the "keen listening exercise (KLE)" for my own reference. I followed this extremely wise suggestion. I am now able to remove the judgements and diversions that are coming up during lectures. I've been able to understand seminars and lectures much better since yesterday (which is when I started KLE). I will continue practicing your "keen listening exercise" in all kinds of social interactions over the next few months and see how my behavior changes. I am sure its gonna work. I will let you know about my progress in a few months.

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On 4/15/2019 at 9:21 PM, sustainably said:

(i) How can I become genuinely humble and not be someone who shows fake humility during particular situations?

(ii) What does humility mean to you? What are your successes/failures with humility?

(iii) How to avoid preachy behavior and be of real help to people around me ?

Hi,

In Alcoholics Anonymous, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it's one of the most important principles of our programme. It's another one of those "principles" that doesn't really mean anything unless it's practiced. Personally, within my own goals and meditations I lump humility & ego together. In my own understanding, moving toward humility, moves me away from my own ego. If I move away from humility, I am moving closer to my ego. For me, my ego needs to be pushed back and kept at the back. 

In AA there is a wonderful quote from our Big Book along the lines of "Every time we played the big shot, we turned people against us. We concluded that whatever price in humility we must pay, we will pay it". 

I also like to remind myself of something I learned from Don Miguel Ruiz, along the lines of "You are the most important person in your own story but a secondary character in everyone else's".

These are the thought patterns and behaviour I try to bear in mind each day to help me move towards being a more humble human being;

  • Displaying a low sense of self-importance 
  • If I become agitated with another person's intention I have to ask myself "Am I sure?" (of their intention)
  • I am aware that my thinking is limited and biased and always will be
  • If I have any obvious power in situations, I try not to exercise it unless I absolutely have to
  • More listening, less talking
  • Try not to come across as defensive
  • Staying out of all arguments
  • Not taking things personally (that's hard work, but vital to my growth!)
  • Saying sorry 

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Suffering helps. A bad trip on psychedelics helps a lot. I wouldn't advise you to ever induce a bad trip, because that could be hellish, but if it happens then it happens.

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On 15/04/2019 at 9:21 PM, sustainably said:

(i) How can I become genuinely humble and not be someone who shows fake humility during particular situations?

(ii) What does humility mean to you? What are your successes/failures with humility?

(iii) How to avoid preachy behavior and be of real help to people around me ?

In a word: Equality.

That's means that when you talk to people and think about people, you see them as your equals. You are not better than them and they are not better than you. But this is more difficult than it seems at first.

It's ok to think of people as being different from you. They may have qualities that you admire or hate, but that's ok too.

You might even treat people differently because of their differences, they maybe disabled or have a different culture for example. So you might have to repectfully adjust to them (don't expect them to adjust to you, that's unfair).

It's possible that someone is less intellegent than you, or less mature or richer or older or more sexy or something else. You should accept those differences and not fight against it (unless you think it's wrong!).

Equality is about not judging people before you get to know them.

Equality is about knowing people have skills and experiences and beauty that you haven't got, and giving them a chance to share those with you.

Equality is about knowing you have skills and experiences and beauty that you want to share with other people that they haven't got.

If you embody Equality, then you will be truly humble.

 

I hope that didn't sound too preachy? :D

 

Edited by LastThursday
clarification

Don't eat soup with chopsticks. Pick up the bowl and drink.

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Humility rises when awareness rises. You need to identify the beliefs that are causing the arrogance etc, and they need to be resolved. For example if you believe that someone is inferior to you and you cut them off in conversation or talk over them, not only do you need to let people have their say but should work out why you feel superior. 

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Just realize that you're just a dust on this planet and reduce your self-importence. Bow down to people you talk to. If not physically then mentally. 

 

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2
3 hours ago, sustainably said:

I call this the "keen listening exercise (KLE)" for my own reference. I followed this extremely wise suggestion. I am now able to remove the judgements and diversions that are coming up during lectures. I've been able to understand seminars and lectures much better since yesterday (which is when I started KLE). I will continue practicing your "keen listening exercise" in all kinds of social interactions over the next few months and see how my behavior changes. I am sure its gonna work. I will let you know about my progress in a few months.

I'm very happy it works for you :) 

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