Fourth Week in September
Our humanness is complex. We can be so happy and so sad. We can be so strong and then so weak. We can feel so much pride for our abilities and then such shame for our capabilities. Because we experience our humanness so distinctly these experiences seem so unique to us, but because every human experiences them, it transforms the experience into something transcendent, beyond the limits of one person.
What humility prevents in us is the belief, “I am different.” We all think we are different, and in certain moments within certain contexts, we are right. Thinking I’m different is not the same as believing I’m different. To foster a belief that we are fundamentally different is to foster an illusion that inevitably will be cut through by humiliation, humility’s unwelcome, surprise flip-side. Humility allows us to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and struggles with proper perspective. It allows us to say, “what is happening to me now is my experience and it matters to me, but it could happen to anyone at any time.” It gives us the opportunity to respect the experience, honor it, and learn from it. Humiliation happens to us when we forget to practice humility, when we build walls and feed into the idea we’re isolated, unique, and unknowable.
I may think nobody feels the way I feel. I may think nobody has ever been in the situation I’m in. I may think everyone else has got it all wrong and I’m the only one who’s got it right. Those are natural thoughts and feelings, but they’re inaccurate. Instead of letting these thoughts and feelings settle into beliefs about our singularity and differentness, you need to look for connection with others. Talk to someone, or read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a record and let popular culture demonstrate that the human race has been where you are; you are in the company of humanity.