Humility is not Weakness

Humility Is Not Weakness

People confuse humility for weakness. They say there is a time to be humble and a time to be strong – as if the two are opposites. Others associate humility with low self-esteem. Therefore, to be meek and turn the other cheek is an act of cowardice masking as humility.  Humility is indeed difficult to define.  Here are a few insightful observations:

“Whenever I climb, I am followed by a dog called ‘ego’.” – Friedriche Nietsche  

The greatest friend of truth is Time, her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion is Humility.” – Charles Caleb Colton 

” Humility is the ability to give up your pride and still retain your dignity.” –Vanna Bonta.

All streams flow to the ocean because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.”
-Lao Tzu 

“Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.” -Ezra T. Benson

Humility is royalty without a crown.” -Spencer W. Kimball                                          

In our Jewish teachings the epitome of humility was Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses our Teacher). Yet Moses was a General, Chief Justice, Head Administrator, and at times seemingly dictatorial. He was a strong-minded leader of a nation of several million people on the move for 40 years! Surely there was no room to practice humility. Yet he is described in the Torah as “the humblest of all men.”

The Midrash explains this seeming anomaly. It writes: “were Moses to be asked, ‘Hey Moshe how come you are such a great guy?’, he would have answered, ‘Me? A great person? If someone else were to have been given the same gifts by G-d as I received, they would have done a much better job!’ Humility is to know that your strengths are not of your making! But one should apply those strengths assertively, strongly, with conviction, and with commitment. That is why you are here. You are a gift to the world. Be confident, but not cocky – practice true humility.

Today’s prevalent ‘wokeness’ reveals insecurity of character, revealing arrogance, to the point of refusing to listen to the other, even to shut him/her down completely e.g. to disinvite the Israeli professor Dr Moshe Farchi, from the Queensland mental health conference, and to disinvite Jewish singer, Deborah Conway, from an ABC program, and many more such instances. ‘Woke’ mean personal insecurity and weakness; humility is an expression of strength and assertiveness. Fight against injustice. Your strength is a gift. Acknowledge it as such. Be humble.