Humility and Greatness


large“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

Today I sat in my car in a Texas thunderstorm talking with a friend about greatness. She wanted to make sure her greatness was tempered with humility. I believe that distinction isn’t necessary; humility is inherent in true greatness. It’s part of the definition. And I believe that a very deep level we’re afraid of our greatness because it calls into question the very sense who we are—limited, small, disconnected, uncertain.

Humility is automatic in greatness because of certainty. If anyone must assert their greatness—despite how awesome other people think they are—they are not confident. They don’t truly believe their own power. Even if they think they do, somewhere deep in their unconscious mind they question it. Paradoxically they’re using arrogance to hide from insecurity—the smallness that we believe to be the nature of ourselves.

To truly be humble is to know that you don’t need to prove anything. You’re so confident and certain in yourself that you don’t have to get recognition from anyone else. This allows you to also assert the truth of your greatness when someone questions it, without needing to prove a point or convince them.

For example, if I said, “You’re not human,” you’d laugh. Of course you’re human! You don’t doubt it; you probably never have and never will. You have a certain “humility” about being human because you truly have nothing to prove. If I kept insisting that you aren’t human, you might choose to correct me, but you’d be totally unattached to convincing me.

Now imagine I said “You’re a terrible person!” If you tried to convince me that you’re a great person, you’d have to be doubting it—some part of you would believe me. If that statement were totally ridiculous to you, if no part of you believed me (like the statement “you’re not human”), you wouldn’t spend much time or effort trying to convince me otherwise. You’d rightly believe that I was insane.

What if I said “You’re a great person!” If you start listing off all of your accomplishments, and getting overzealous about how great you are (lacking humility) some part of you must not believe me. You still have to prove it to yourself. If you agree that you are a great person without a shadow of doubt, you’ll smile and nod your head. We might celebrate, we might not, but either way you’d accept it as a statement of fact just like when I say “You’re a human being.” You wouldn’t need to qualify it, repay the compliment, or prove it. You’d be naturally humble, as you’re naturally humble about being human. Therefore, humility is inherent in true greatness.

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

—quotes from Marianne Williamson “A Return to Love”

Image: Some rights reserved by Brendon Burton

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About Jordan
Jordan Myska Allen is a lover of life, entrepreneur, Course in Miracles student, happy person, deep thinker, friend, Integral aficionado and constantly questioning everything he identifies with—and might put into a biography. He acts as a psychological, spiritual, and professional consultant, writes about how to be happy for, and practices applied integral thinking.

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