About 36 years ago a friend told me that she knew someone that I just had to meet. When I asked her “why” she said to just trust her as she dialed up the friend and arranged for us to drop by. The friend was a woman who lived off by herself in the woods, raised Araucana chickens and was a person who my friend considered to be humble. We stopped by, visited, and as we went to leave my friend took me by the hand saying “There’s something you need to see”, and lead me to the barn behind the house. She shoved the massive door aside, and I almost passed out: From front to back, to a depth of around 6 feet, were empty one-gallon Cabernet Sauvignon jugs. The light went on in my head and I said to her, “This is really the reason why you wanted me to come here, to see this, isn’t it?” She replied, “Yep. Being told how much she drinks does not convey the extent of her addiction as does the sight of all of these jugs.” When I asked her why her friend didn’t get some help she replied, “She’s gotten herself into a place now where it’s a hell of a lot easier to be drunk than it is to struggle to be sober.” When I asked her why she thought her friend was humble she replied, “Because she doesn’t seek to be better than this.”
WHAT?! Why is it that we think humility has to do with personal degradation and the lack of any desire to better oneself? In fact, real humility is the struggle to be objectively realistic, an ongoing struggle to see reality and to comply with it, and it takes work, not passivity! In fact, as one grows in humility one grows in personal discipline and authenticity, slowly coming to recognize one’s gifts and talents as well as one’s inabilities. Humility is, in fact, a refusal to be less than what one CAN be!