Few of the concepts used in psychology give rise to as many misunderstandings as “humility”. Some people believe that to be humble is to be shy; others think it’s about having a low level of self-esteem; and there are those who even believe that it is a question of living by being satisfied with few material resources, bordering on poverty.
In fact, true humility is more nuanced and varies greatly from individual to individual, as it relies on complex psychological processes, related to abstract thinking and self-concept (that is, what we know from ourselves). In this article we will see what it is, going through a the benefits of being humble.
What does it mean to cultivate humility?
Cultivating humility is one of the most important processes in personal development. Consists of adopt a certain mentality in valuing one’s own qualities, successes and mistakes, taking into account both the factors in our environment that help us achieve our goals and the role that luck plays in what happens to us.
In this way, humble people have a more complete view of the factors that underlie the results they achieve in their work, in their relationships with others and, ultimately, in promoting their own personal development. This predisposes them not to obsess over trying to be who they are not, nor to pretend to portray themselves as someone else. And that this has implications both for managing emotions and how to maintain personal relationships.
The benefits of improving humility
These are the main benefits of cultivating friendship on a daily basis.
1. Helps create more symmetrical and fair relationships
Humble people don’t tend to seek a dominant role in relationshipsbecause they assume that equanimity is a positive value in virtually all contexts and personal relationships. This means that they do not take unwarranted unilateral decisions, both in the realm of the couple as well as in friendships, teamwork, etc.
2. It helps you connect better with people.
Some people confuse humility with low self-esteem, but the two things really don’t have much to do with it. In fact, if there is anything that characterizes the humble, it is that in general they don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone, which usually does not happen with those who do not have a good opinion of themselves and therefore have to “compensate” for this by interacting with others.
Because humility leads us to detach ourselves from the need to offer an idealized facet of ourselves, the personal relationships that result from it are more authentic, because they are based on honesty.
3. It keeps us from falling into the trap of ego struggles
Much of the conflict people experience has more to do with fiction than with real conflicts of interest. Sometimes two people start to get on the defensive simply because of misunderstandings, believing that they have to confront each other for no reason, because of jokes taken too seriously … In the end, this leads to an ego struggle that grows stronger like a vicious circle in which, in reality, no one wants to be.
Humility allows you to keep a cool head in this kind of situation and not to take for granted that at the slightest sign of provocation or questioning you have to engage in a fight.
4. Predisposes to learn and improve
Humility it helps to be very aware of your own limitations and imperfections, but not from a pessimistic or dramatic point of view.
This is why humble people are well aware of their own progress in learning or improving something.
5. Protects from stress problems through excessive perfectionism
Humility comes from assuming that one cannot constantly expose oneself to extraordinary goals, thus protecting oneself from the frustration and psychological wear and tear of stress. Paradoxically, this allows you to achieve impressive long-term resultsbecause the learning curve can increase steadily and without interruption.
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- Banker, CC and Leary, MR (2019) Hypoegoic Lawlessness as a Characteristic of Humility. Bulletin of Personality and Social Psychology, 46 (5): pp. 738 – 753.
- Hermangómez, L. & Fernández, C. (2012). Personality and differential psychology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 07. CEDE: Madrid.
- Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York: The Free Press.
- Nielsen, R .; Brown, investigating judge; Kill, HS (2010). A New Look at Humility: Exploring the Concept of Humility and Its Role in Socialized Charismatic Leadership. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 17: pp. 33 – 43.
- Weidman, AC and. At. (2018) The Psychological Structure of Humility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114 (1): pp. 153 – 178.