The first definition for the word humble in Merriam-Webster reads “not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive.” That being said, the word humble and I have not always seen eye to eye. Anyone who knows me really well knows that I don’t believe in humility or being humble, or at least the way it’s been presented to us over the years. When I hear the word humble, I hear things like “shrink yourself” and “you’re not that great” and “dim your light” and a bunch of other shit that is usually meant to put somebody down or kill their vibe. I am a firm believer that if you are killing shit in life, you should be more than proud. Nobody will appreciate your greatness if you don’t. I believe that pride only becomes a problem if you have to put others down to achieve it.
Another definition of the word humble reads “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.” I’ve always found being told “be humble” from others to be ironic because how self- important do you have to be to tell somebody else to “be humble.” However, recently I’ve gained a new understanding of the word humble and the second definition I’ve provided. Now when I think of humility I think of the problems that I face in life and how insignificant they are. I’ll give you an example.
It’s Friday at my job and my Aunt Flo has come into town (TMI, sorry not sorry). My body is aching. I go to play a game with the kids at work and I break a nail and on top of that I still have 2 and a half hours of work left. I already declare this as the worst Friday ever. I get asked to stay 15 mins after work even though I’ve been counting down the minutes for the last hour. I stay. It’s 15 after and I could only clock out sooner if I could fly or teleport from one room to the next. Finally I’m free. I get home and I notice my mom’s purse and everything on the dining room table. This is strange considering she usually isn’t off from work until 3 to 5 hours from now. I rush to her room to ask her what’s wrong. She tells me my grandpa isn’t doing too well as she tries to fight her tears but they slowly fall down her face anyways.
For those reading who aren’t familiar with my life this past year, back in October of last year I took an extended visit to Ohio to stay with my maternal grandpa. He was undergoing chemo and I was helping him out around the house whenever his pride would allow him to accept the help. When I left in December I thought he was doing better and healing. It turns out that is not the case. My mom and I have always shared the guilt of being 3,000 miles away from the rest of our family but hers runs deeper because she came here as an adult. I was only 6 years old when we moved here. I know she beats herself about it…daily. So in one moment I go from being upset my nail broke and I had to stay later at work to thinking about how is my mom going to handle her dad passing away? How are her sisters going to handle it? How am I going to handle losing the only grandpa I’ve known and loved since birth? Just when you think you and your problems are important…you learn there are always worse problems tip-toeing around the corner. This how life will humble you.
Don’t get me wrong, it would not be humanly possible for us to never bitch & moan about life’s minor inconveniences ever again but at the same time some things are just not the end of the world and it’s important to keep that in perspective. This is something I’m still learning to do. I’m not ashamed to admit that. So while I’ve always been someone to say that another person could never humble me, the universe certainly can. It might be important for me to get reacquainted with the word humble. The connotations it’s always had in my mind are not the only meanings of the word. As I mentioned earlier one definition of humble is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance” and I suppose this doesn’t only apply to us as people but also our problems. It’s so cliché but as they say “life can always be worse” so learn to find the blessing in the minor inconveniences. I had to stay later at work but it shows my dedication to my job, how much I care, and proves I’m reliable. I broke a nail so now I have to go get it replaced and get to choose a new color. These are some examples on how to turn annoying occurrences to something to positive. So this is how I will be reacquainted with the word humble and I suggest others do the same.