Buddhist Reflection: Humility


Tibetans look at a person who holds himself above others, believing he is better than others and knows more, and they say that person is like someone sitting on a mountain top: it is cold there, it is hard, and nothing will grow. But if the person puts himself in a lower position, then that person is like a fertile field. ~Allan Wallace

It’s been a while since I’ve written a Buddhist reflection. I’ve been on a Buddhist backsliding of sorts. It happens every so often that I fall off the practice wagon.

There have been a lot of things currently going on in my life that have caused me to reflect on humility. To be honest, I’ve been feeling myself a lot these days. Not in an arrogant way, but more so in a way that has me happy with myself. Recently I’ve been receiving a lot of compliments  when I go out. People have been telling me how gorgeous I am. The common phrase I’ve been getting is how I “look good”. I’ve been consistently growing my hair out and losing weight. The effects of my weight loss hadn’t fully hit me until I went shopping last week. Not only did I try on a medium-sized shirt and it was loose, but I was actually able to fit into a size 10 jean. I haven’t even considered a size 10 pants since my sophomore year of college. Things have been going very well for me professionally and I’ve been working on a few opportunities I’ve been presented with. All of my outside projects have taken off. Almost to the point where I can’t keep up with the speed in which they are gaining momentum. I’ve been writing more poetry than I’ve written in previous years, my talent improving. I’ve been working with local beat makers to put my poetry to music for my performances. There are other things too such as my activism and community service projects. My dating life, as random as it is, seems to be turning around a lot too. In a good way.

All of this has been a huge boost to my ego. Yet I’m fully aware of how crucial  it is for me to stay grounded. Self confidence is important, but how do you combine self-confidence with humility? Is it possible to balance the two without your ego tipping the scale? That’s a question I’ve been trying to answer.

Arrogance is never an endearing trait to possess. It alienates you from others. It makes you separate from those around you. In your mind you are not part of your community, you are above it. This type of thinking is problematic. It never allows you to connect with those around you. However, it’s very easy to get caught up in ego and arrogance when things in your life are working out so well.

As I attempt to answer my own question about balancing self-confidence with humility I take care to be mindful of a few things. First, no matter what my situation is I always remain grateful for what I have and the wonderful people  in my life. Every person in my life has enriched it in some way, whether is was with lessons learned or opportunities presented. Second, no matter how great things are or how good I am at something I am not above anyone. And, my situation is never permanent. Things can change for the worse at any moment. Nothing is ever set in stone. I’ve also recently realized that what helps to promote humility (for me at least) is to stay in my own lane. In other words, not worry so much about what others are, or are not, doing. Everyone has a place, and I certainly have mine.

Humility, for me, has become a place where I am confident in myself and my abilities while staying grounded. Where I am sure about my place without overstepping my bounds. Where I am motivated to improve my life while remaining grateful for what I currently have. Where I am thankful for the people around me as I meet them where they are. But also having the insight to remember that impermanence is a part of life. That when my circumstances change I have the wisdom and grace to meet it with calm acceptance. That is the type of humility I am striving towards.


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