humility (n): a modest or low view of one’s own importance; the quality or state of being humble
humble (adj): (1) not proud or haughty, not arrogant or assertive; (2) reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission
Looking just at the dictionary definitions, it’s not hard to see why so many people equate humility with putting themselves down, refusing to accept credit when it is due, keeping their sometimes brilliant ideas hidden away.
But we are blessed to have the thoughts of saints and scholars to expand and enlighten our understanding. Here are some words which I find particularly helpful in shaping a balanced idea of humility:
“The virtue of humility consists in keeping oneself within one’s own bounds, not reaching out to things above one…” ~ St. Thomas Aquinas
“But humility is in reality the opposite of self-deprecation. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God’s eyes and that all we are is pure gift.” ~ Henri Nouwen
“Humility is simply seeing ourselves for who and what we are – no more, no less.” ~ John Michael Talbot