This post is Part 1 in a 12-part blog series on humility and growth.
Many of us want to change something in our lives. Maybe we want to improve our relationship with our spouse, or our kids. Perhaps we want to lose weight, or make use of that gym membership we bought so long ago. Maybe we want to jump-start our career, or learn a new skill. Perhaps we want to feel less anxious, or stop a bad habit. Maybe we want to grow spiritually, or feel closer to God.
It’s natural to want to grow and change. I think it’s part of what it means to be human—it’s part of our nature to want to grow, expand, and improve ourselves and our world.
Growth and Change is Difficult
But for so many of us, achieving any kind of meaningful growth and change is a struggle. We might commit to loving our spouse better, but then lose our temper the next day. We might jog around the neighborhood a few times before losing motivation and quitting. We might go to counseling to work on our depression or anxiety, but not see much progress.
This failure to change and grow can be disheartening. We might lose hope that things could ever be different. Our culture and society doesn’t offer us much help. Like the latest “fad diet”, self-help resources are advertised faster than we can even ask for help. We are encouraged to think positively, boost our self-esteem, use essential oils, and stand in a Wonder Woman power pose in front of our bathroom mirror. But these self-help tips and tricks rarely result in the lasting growth and change we truly want. Instead, they usually disappoint, leaving us in the same place as before.
Humility is the Foundation
In this blog series, I will argue that humility is the foundation for any meaningful growth or change to take place. Humility involves a commitment to taking a long, hard, accurate look at ourselves, including acknowledging and owning our limitations. Humility also involves being other-oriented rather than self-focused. In our culture, humility is counter-intuitive. It goes against the grain. But that is precisely why humility is needed. Boosting a generation of kids’ levels of self-esteem hasn’t resulted in a better functioning generation, because positive feelings about the self has to be tied to accurate feedback. Something different is needed to help us engage in a process of growth and change that actually works.
That something is humility.