In my work with people from all walks of life and circumstances, the one thing I have found to be true in every case is that humility always aids in healthier interactions and higher quality relationships. Another observation, is that humility is not very easy to come by. We, as human beings, kind of stink at this humility thing.
So, what is this humility thing? Well, in my personal and very unofficial definition it means not viewing yourself (or anyone for that matter) as better than anyone else. It is throwing out the right vs wrong, better or worse than mentality. I think that the following two beliefs are an essential first step in maintaining humility.
- Remember that every single human being on this earth has had and will have an entirely unique experience. None of us can have the exact same experiences and views as someone else.
- Each one of those unique human experiences and vantage points are valid.
Not only do these beliefs lay the ground work for much kinder and constructive interactions, but it will ease you of the stress that comes from expectations to be right or better than. Humility might sound like this:
“I think it is like this, but I could be mistaken.”
“I want to try this, and I would love to hear what you would like to try.”
“Can you tell me what that is like for you?”
“I was mistaken.”
“I am sorry about the pain you are feeling due to my choice. Will you tell me more about it?”
I challenge you to incorporate even one of these phrases into your conversations, perhaps with someone you haven’t been getting along with very well, and see how the relationship improves. Even if you don’t find the outcome you were looking for, kindness and softness are never wasted.