I have a confession to make – I watch “Survivor.” I’ve watched it religiously since it aired in 2000. (Please don’t do the math.) It has all the elements of good entertainment, at least to me. There’s suspense, potential for danger, potential for romance, good guys and bad guys, and there’s a loser every week. My favorite part, without doubt, is staying tuned for the loser’s exit speech. Will he be arrogant? Will she be shocked? Will she be grateful? Will he be humble? It’s a cacophony of emotions, and I love it all. The weekly losers (and I’m sorry to use that label) who display humility in their exit speeches are, by far, the ones who earn my utmost respect.
So, why is humility so important to me? And what’s the difference between being humble and having humility?
In figuring this all out, I first decided to see what dictionary.com had to say. It defined humility as “the quality or condition of being humble, modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.” Humility is a noun and humble is an adjective. In other words, they essentially mean the same thing.
Humility is a strength, and humble people, in my opinion, tend to display good self-esteem and positivity. They also seem to have higher levels of gratitude and forgiveness, two characteristics that are beneficial in resolving conflict. And, I think, humility and compassion go hand in hand.
In my world of divorce mediation, understanding the emotions of my clients is paramount. So, therefore, having compassion and empathy is the way I believe I can be of greater help in the most difficult of situations. My opinion doesn’t matter when I’m navigating the course of their emotions. What does matter is that I tune into my clients’ feelings and validate them. It definitely helps them to know someone is listening. And once they feel heard, even if it’s by a neutral third party, they are much more willing to forgive and move forward. Score another point for humility.
By way of contrast, I’ve seen our culture shift with the increasing popularity of various social media platforms. In that realm, being the best, the smartest, the funniest, the most well-dressed, etc., is life’s prize. Just ask an influencer and you’ll see what I mean. It seems to me that the number of likes or followers takes precedence over acts of kindness and compassion. I know that if I searched hard enough on Facebook or Instagram, I’m likely to find some good news stories about real people, but why do I have to dig deeper to find them? Are followers and likes more important than humility and compassion?
I recognize that I’m generalizing and stereotyping. I think I’ve become disillusioned by the preponderance of arrogance. So, I’m begging you to comment and share a story of an act of humility, whether yours or someone else’s, so that I don’t have to rely on the exit speeches of ousted Survivors.