Being humble is so unassuming that it all too often gets overlooked. Or even worse, this show of true inner strength is sometimes mistaken for weakness.
In our seemingly egotistical and self-centered societies, being humble can be a trait that we forget to cultivate.
In this article, I’d like to highlight exactly why humility is so important, not only for yourself but for humanity too.
13 reasons why humility in life is so important
1) It supports your learning and development
When you already think you know it all, it becomes almost impossible to grow. Whereas arrogance stunts personal development, humility encourages it.
We can see and accept our shortcomings and try to improve.
It seems that there is a strong link between intellectual humility and being able to acquire more knowledge.
It’s been suggested that a humble student’s ability to better absorb feedback means that they are able to overtake their naturally more talented peers.
Despite showing more skill and ability, simply displaying more humility catapults humble students to higher success.
In fact, research has found that being humble is more vital to doing well than how high your IQ is.
Humility allows us to roll up our sleeves and get to the hard work of improvement.
2) It helps you build better and stronger relationships with others
Part of having successful relationships with others—whether that’s friends, coworkers, or romantic partners— involves compromise, understanding, and compassion.
And these are all aspects that are far more likely to blossom under the conditions of humility than under the conditions of ego.
Humility can help your relationships by:
- Allowing you to better accept each other’s differences.
- Stop you from trying to impress others and allow you to be yourself
- Making you less judgemental of others
- Allow others to feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
In many ways, humility helps us to grow better bonds by encouraging us to be more empathetic and consider how others feel and think.
Experts behind the study think one of the reasons could be that humble partners are probably better at navigating conflict.
3) You can call yourself out and hold yourself accountable when you’re wrong
The next important reason why we all should strive for greater humility comes down to self-awareness and self-reflection.
Humility opens the floodgates to truly contemplate ourselves — warts and all.
Whilst you hide in ego you are unable to see the truth about yourself. And the truth is that none of us are perfect. Not one.
We all make mistakes and we all mess up.
But when you are busy trying to defend a particular self-image that you prefer to hold onto, it’s very hard to admit this.
We cannot change unless we are able to hold up a mirror to our bad habits, and our less-than-desirable traits or behaviors.
When you have humility you don’t find it so painstaking to back down. You can comfortably hold your hands up and say ‘yep, I got it wrong’ without all the drama.
As we’ve already seen, this can have big implications on both your own personal development as well as your relationships with others.
4) Because you’re not special
Humility helps you to put your life into perspective.
You are one of 7.8 billion people on this planet. Zooming out even further, in the grand scheme of things, we’re all a tiny dot on the universal landscape.
Let’s face it, in many ways, you are not at all special. Because technically if every single person on this planet is unique, then paradoxically none of us are. None of us are special for the very reason that all of us are special.
In his eye-opening free video, Justin Brown lays out why we’re really not that special.
But rather than upset you or try to wound your self-esteem, he offers this humbling truth in order for your mere insignificance to free you.
Because when we stop being so self-obsessed and fixated on our specialness, we can better seek the things that connect us rather than divide us. And in the process, we stop neglecting those around us and within our community.
“We want to exercise free will and create independent thought not for the personal identity they bring to us, but rather for the good they bring to others. We want to embrace the personal power that comes from individualism whilst also experiencing the sense of community that comes from believing that we have things in common with others. And this is possible because we’re not as different from each other as we think.”
In realizing that you aren’t so special after all, it unlocks so much more of your own potential.
I’d really encourage you to watch that free video ‘I’m Sorry to Tell You, But You’re Not Special’. As confronting as it may be, you know what they say, the truth will set you free.
5) It’s good for your health
The reason why humility is so important doesn’t get much more straightforward than this next point.
Humility is good for your health.
Studies have shown that it’s linked to an increase in positive emotions, and helps you to better handle stress.
People with greater humility tend to rate their health more favorably. And it’s not just their physical health either. Humble people also report higher levels of mental well-being.
The bottom line is that the most humble people in society say they are physically and mentally happier and healthier.
6) It helps you to overcome failure or criticism
The less humble you are, the more you are likely to dwell on your perceived failures or feedback that is critical.
But humility allows you to accept your limitations without the need for defensiveness or judgment.
Humility does you a favor. As soon as you stop putting intense pressure on yourself to be God-like, you give yourself more permission to be a regular flawed human being.
We can then acknowledge our mistakes and deal with the inevitable failures we are all bound to face at some point in life.
It helps us to forgive our own imperfections as well as others. And don’t for one second underestimate what a sheer relief that can be.
Rather than internalize failure, we can see it as an important part of learning and growth.
7) It encourages you to be more open and real
Humility supports vulnerability in a way that arrogance and ego never can.
You show people the real you, you don’t need to wear a mask. It allows you to be your authentic self — both the best and the worst parts.
When we are less prideful and protective, we can be more vulnerable, which is essential for sincere and meaningful connections.
Humility is about as vulnerable as it gets, as, in essence, it’s about lowering our defenses. In the words of researcher and author Brene Brown:
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.
The same can be said for humility.
8) It makes you more patient
Think about the last time you lost your temper.
Maybe someone cut you off in traffic triggering you in the process. Or your partner dawdling when you were in a rush provoked you to snap.
When you lost your patience, how did you feel? Be honest, did you perhaps feel a little bit superior?
Often when we lose our patience we mentally make the other person wrong and us right.
But the more humble we are, the more we realize that we’re far from perfect either.
We’ve cut people up in traffic, we’ve been blind to others’ needs, and we’ve messed up and made mistakes.
And in this humble recognition, we can more easily extend patience to others.
Showing humility involves acknowledging that others have got their own demons and struggles too. And you more easily see that maybe we’re all just doing the best we can on any given day.
9) It keeps you grounded
You know what they say, pride comes before a fall. But humility is what helps to keep you grounded.
Regardless of any external accomplishments that may come in life, when you’re humble, you don’t over-identify with it.
In the wise words of J.Lo:
“Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got
I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block
Used to have a little, now I have a lot
No matter where I go I know I came from”
Humility means that your sense of self-appreciation is grounded in the firmer foundations of your intrinsic value rather than any list of accomplishments — like how much money you earn, how many friends you’ve got on social media, how far up the ladder you climb, or in Jen’s case, how many platinum albums you’ve sold.
And this ultimately comes down to having a secure attachment. You don’t cling so much to external markers in order to prove yourself.
10) It’s easier to live in the present
Our ego has a nasty habit of holding onto the past or drifting off into the future.
Whether it’s holding onto a grudge that replays over in your mind or daydreaming towards some undefined moment yet to come when you will be much more contented.
Our ego loves to take us away from the present moment.
As a powerful antidote to ego, humility can help us to focus on right now.
Living in the present has so many benefits. We are less likely to get caught up in the pressure of the future. We become more attentive and conscious and less preoccupied.
Being humble helps you to really stop and appreciate exactly where you are right now, rather than grasping elsewhere.
11) It encourages you to contribute
One of the best things about humility is that it cuts through the “me, me, me” attitude that seems to have become prolific in society.
In fact, researchers have found that, rather disturbingly, traits like humility and modesty were not seen as important factors when it comes to life satisfaction.
Yet, humility makes us more inclined to want to serve others rather than being focused solely on ourselves. And helping others has been linked to finding far greater meaning and happiness in life.
Humility helps us to think in terms of “we”. And that kind of attitude is beneficial for all of humanity.
Advancement comes from collaboration. It is what got our species to where we are today. By working as a team and pushing the boundaries of possibility.
12) It makes you a better citizen
Whilst we’re on the subject of society, humility makes you a better citizen in general.
For example, it’s been highlighted how a lack of cultural humility leads to xenophobia.
Presumably, the more arrogant we are the less we find ourselves able to relate to people who are different.
In contrast, humility is related to a better acceptance of foreigners and foreign cultures.
It seems without humility, we’re quick to make hasty and superior assumptions of others.
Research has found that an absence of cultural humility means we are more likely to falsely think we know more than others and overrate our talent in comparison to them.
It’s arguable that so many of the world’s biggest problems are brought about through ego. But humility makes you less prone to aggression, manipulation, control, destruction, and dishonesty — some of the ugliest sides of human nature.
13) It makes you more likable
Of course, nobody likes a smart ass.
I should know. I have an unfortunate habit of allowing this irritating side of me to come out on far too many occasions. And it doesn’t exactly endear us to people.
Humility in contrast is comforting.
It makes people feel safe and valued around you. It strengthens trust and makes people more forgiving of our flaws.
Humility is in essence an incredibly magnetic and attractive trait in others. Being around someone humble makes us feel better about ourselves.
Some of history’s most influential leaders, such as Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, personify the persuasive power of this character trait.
In part, humility makes us more likable, as it makes us more relatable. We stand side by side with our fellow man, rather than trying to place ourselves above them.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi:
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
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