At my meeting this morning there was some sharing about humility vs. humiliation.
I shared that, for me, a key piece to understanding humility came from the 12 Step literature: That another word for humility is perspective.
From there I could follow that humility is not always about me being "less than." It is about being right-sized. Less than some, even with some, farther along than some.
Humility seems to be about the world in appropriate relation to me.
Humiliation -- where I burn with rage and shame and sometimes a sense of injustice -- seems to be about Me in relation to the world; that is, I am central to those thoughts and feelings. It's a measure with me as the starting point, and all else compared solely to where and how I am.
Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.
The purpose in life is not to win. The purpose in life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people's lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.
Good people will do good things, lots of them, because they are good people. They will do bad things because they are human.
God’s job is not to make sick people healthy. That’s the doctor’s job. God’s job is to make sick people brave.
You don’t become happy by pursuing happiness. You become happy by living a life that means something.
Forgiveness is not a matter of exonerating people who have hurt you. They may not deserve exoneration. Forgiveness means cleansing your soul of the bitterness of ‘what might have been,’ ‘what should have been,’ and ‘what didn’t have to happen.’ Someone has defined forgiveness as ‘giving up all hope of having had a better past.’ What’s past is past and there is little to be gained by dwelling on it. There are perhaps no sadder people then the men and women who have a grievance against the world because of something that happened years ago and have let that memory sour their view of life ever since.
Of course the "sober lawyer" in me -- the part of me always looking for loopholes and exceptions -- wants to reply to his sentiment with something along the lines of "But I thought I was relying on a Higher Power. I thought I asked God to make all the changes..."
Two things about that.
1. When I take the 3rd Step, and I offer my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God, I accept that God is the principal, I am the agent. I do the footwork. I don't sit back passively and wait for God to do things for me. I am an active participant in the process. The result is the God part. But the process is all me.
2. Through bitter challenging experience I have found time and again that God will not do for me what I will not do for myself. God will do for me what I cannot do for myself. Big, big difference.