Trademark for Strength
How can you take full advantage of something? We often lose the maximum benefit of what we don’t have a full understanding. Humility is one of these qualities many people go through their entire lives without ever tapping into its full power. Failure to fully understand humility is the reason we never fully reap its benefits. And unfortunately, this failure is widespread in the times we live in, in the age of self-glorification. Only very few people have a full appreciation of humility.
One man who drew on the power of humility to make a difference in the world is the legendary Nelson Mandela. After being locked up for 27 years by an oppressive regime that enforced apartheid, how would Mandela bring South African people together? How would he lead without a cold heart and bitterness in his soul? As he shared many years later, Mandela revealed that humility was his most important weapon in having the South African people, both the former oppressors and the oppressed, embrace change. When he could have been bitter and cold hearted, Mandela resorted to being humble. Humility is the trademark of strength since it enables us to be honest with ourselves; It allows us to be secure in our place among people, and most importantly, it lifts us above our weaknesses. When you’re humble, your shortcomings and failures would never stop you, as we shall see below. But before that, we must have three vital pillars to establish humility upon.
As a person of faith, I believe Jesus provided us with an ideal life of humility. Whether you look at the story of His life from a religious point of view or historical accounts, he showed great humility at every turn of his life. On one occasion, Jesus decided to do something that was not customary for people in authority to do for the people under them. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. However, before he got the bowl of water, according to John’s writing, we find out that Jesus knew three things. He knew his identity, purpose, and mission. Knowing them enabled Him to portray great humility.
Similarly, for you to have humility, you need these three prerequisites; you must know and have security in your identity, have a sense of purpose, and know your mission in life daily. A common observation I have made in people full of pride (those who think they are better than everyone else) is that they have a false sense of identity, they miss their true purpose in life, and their mission is always to bring others down, which is definitely a mission that will eventually bring them down.
With the natural desire to rise in life, in whichever capacity, be it financially, relationally, or in our influence, how does humility ensure we rise safely and be established? Here are the three ways humility does it.
1. Makes you an attractive person who has healthy relationships
Without a doubt, Mandela’s popularity and love by the global community outlived him. During his life, he gained tremendous respect from both the native South African people and former colonizers. In the pursuit to liberate his people from colonial oppression, he ended up becoming an ambassador for peace on the global stage. Even leading to being honored and recognized as a champion of peace by the United Nations. When he spoke, people would listen and would agree to come to the table of peace. What made Mandela such an attractive leader who fostered healthy international relationships? His words at The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000 provided us with the answer when he said, “If you are humble and make people realize you are no threat to them, then people will embrace you and listen to you.”
Humility holds the key to making us attractive and enabling us to have healthy relationships. Being attractive and having great relationships hold the key to be elevated in life. A study published in the Chicago Tribune in 2015 by Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren, found that humility influenced relationships in the following ways. First, humility enabled people to strengthen their commitment and have behaviors that prioritize the relationship. Second, humility bolstered relational gratitude. Humble people were more thankful for their partners, unlike those who are prideful in a relationship. Third, humility led to higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Humble people focused on their partners’ well-being and placed them ahead of them, unlike those who lacked humility. Fourth and what I consider to be the most powerful element is that they found humility in a relationship created partners’ capacity to exercise greater forgiveness when wronged.
How do we cultivate and maintain humility in relationships? We do it by; first, recognizing that humility is an important strength in your life. Humility is an attribute of strength as it comes from a person who is truly confident and possesses high self-esteem. Second, recognize that you and not others need to cultivate humility. Humility must begin with you and not with others. If you wait for others to humble themselves, you will never humble yourself. Third, recognize pride early on and uproot it from your life. When you cultivate humility and don’t allow pride to run your life, you will attract great relationships and fulfill your purpose.
2. Utilization of gifts and fulfill your purpose
I bet you have heard the saying, “pride comes before a fall.” The phrase is often used to warn people who had ‘grown’ to some level of success and had begun being prideful and arrogant in their dealings. While the greatest threat to talent or giftedness is pride, humility is the greatest ally to developing your gifts and using them in serving people.
Developing your gifts and fulfilling your purpose are critical pieces to being elevated in life. However, it’s impossible to develop your gifts and fulfill your purpose without humility. Being teachable, having the ability to receive instruction and correction are the core requirements for developing your gifts and talents, and living a purposeful life. Without being humble, you will never be teachable, receive instructions or make corrections. The absence of humility will only lead you to sabotage your gifts, derail your purpose, and miss out on your God’s blessings.
3. Unlocks blessings and favor from God.
As a person of faith, I realized that humility does much more than we can experience from our physical manifestations. If the effects of humility were an iceberg, then what we see from the surface would be the attractiveness of a person, the flourishing relationships, gifts and aptitude, and fulfilling purposes. The massive ice under the water, hidden from view but holds the entire iceberg, would be God’s blessings and favor that humility unlocks. Scripture in the book of James 4:6 states that God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Do you want to experience blessings and breakthroughs for your election in life? Be humble.
In summary, remember that humility is a strength and not a weakness. It has the power to elevate and improve your life safely. You will develop and use gifts because of humility. Fulfilling your purpose depends on it, and of course, your next breakthrough to your beautiful future.
What’s Next: In the next post, I will share how to increase your confidence. Until then, practice humility daily.