Humility is not about being an abject slave, a second-class citizen but it is about being the wise caring elder who looks out for the weaker ones in his or her care. It is a position of power and not a result of not being handed enough options or the right to be able to speak up.
Society has often oppressed people and labeled compliance as a need to be humble. Shake yourself free from that manipulation but don’t retaliate by being the opposite. Instead, take a panoramic view, do what needs to be done minus the negative emotions of rebellion and anger or worse vengeance. Develop compassion, for there is great power in forgiveness.
Because sometimes in order to learn from life, the great teacher, we need to humble ourselves and try to see what is being taught. We need to put ourselves second so that we may learn what nuggets of wisdom we may extract from our experiences.
In order to learn, the student needs to forget him/herself and try to see the teacher’s point of view. Often this will be painful, the lessons in maths hardly impressed anyone, save for those who loved numbers. But they were critical in our understanding of the world, for money isn’t just a currency we trade in, we barter our sweat and tears for it.
So while I laud the self-affirmation, the empowering messages and the teaching of children to be confident, I secretly cringe at the thought that perhaps like all good things we might be taking this too far and in the process losing sight of something more important.
As I watch little girls take on proud personas on the dance stage and get applauded for their show of confidence I stare into those haughty eyes that they project and wonder, did we steal their innocence? Did we rob them the right to be shy and humble, the need to discover their own way into confidence, did we jump start them onto their careers so abruptly that they forgot to scrape their knees and act silly?
While the masks they wear on stage might be confident is it backed by a soul that is grounded in love, life, and experiences? When trouble strikes, which it invariably will, and their dance routines and well practiced confident personas fail to see them through, will their true self, shine forth? Are we guilty of raising a generation of career-driven youngsters for our entertainment? Will their future lives be riddled with substance abuse because they never learned how to form friendships that were true and meaningful?
So the humble question is are we guilty of failing those in our care?