Do You Want To Be Humble?

An Advent Rambling

Image: Drew Coffman
by Candice Tolentino

Are you humble? Do you want to be? Then this article is for you! I am here to teach you how to be humble!


Of all the things that can be written in a book as a tutorial, step-by-step guide, or as a DIY, humility is the exception. You can write on other virtues: How To Be Patient, How To Be Forgiving, How To Have Hope, How To Have Faith, and How To Have Temperance. You can even write on How To Love. All you need is experience. But as soon as somebody writes a book on How To be Humble, you can be sure that it will be one book nobody will take seriously.

This is the paradox about humility. The more you have it, the less you have to show for it. It is elusive. We are all attracted to humble people and repulsed by arrogant ones. But the moment one says he is humble is the moment he ceases to be. The truth is, a genuinely humble person will never know with certainty that he is humble.

Why am I talking about humility? Well, the truly satisfied and joyful people are the humble ones, i.e., THE SAINTS. And I want to be joyful and satisfied. Don’t we all? I want my kids to be joyful and satisfied. We parents who are on Facebook know how strong the pull of narcissism is, despite our best intentions. I don’t want that for my kids. And narcissism leads to so many other evils: depression, anxiety, even suicide. I don’t want those things for my kids either, and I’m sure, neither do you. So how do we teach our kids to be humble?

You can have all the virtues in the world but they remain superficial until you have humility. Have you ever listened to somebody articulately teaching about the Catholic faith and the 100% absolute truth and yet, listening to them becomes intolerable? I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s because of the speaker’s lack of humility. Such a waste of evangelization! And yet, here I am, still feeling mighty proud of the times I have given a “great” talk and basking in the compliments of others. Ugh. See? Elusive.

What is the point of this article? You must have realized by now that I didn’t really mean to teach how to be humble (Just making it clear. Often, my jokes don’t come across as jokes). Well, I just want to get my ramblings on paper. It’s Advent. It’s winter here in Canada. It’s apropos to think about these things, don’t you think so? We are starting these nine days of anticipation before Christmas. This may be the first time since being a mom that I’ve had a chance to really sit down and embrace Advent in its fullness (for reasons too personal to disclose). And thus, the thoughts about things eternal.

I think humility is a great thought to start Advent with.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” — C.S. Lewis






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