What does humility have to do with joy? Humility is about bringing deep compassion to not only our strengths, but also our weak spots, problematic patterns, or colossal screw-ups. It’s about the tenderness we bring to ourselves and the rough, mottled crevices of our lives. It’s also a tool to strengthen relationships.
The Joy in Letting Go
Humility is a powerful antidote to the high-strung stress of perfectionism. If you place undue pressure on yourself to be the perfect parent, provider, homemaker, or partner, you may feel quite relieved when you can finally acknowledge that you are just like everyone else, really terrific but also intensely human and naturally flawed.
The Joy in Laughter
Humility’s greatest partner is laughter. The ability to bring giggles, belly guffaws, or slaphappy surrender to the hard moments of our lives is a great tool for healing. With laughter, there is a release, a letting go, an exhale that makes more space for love.
The Joy in Gentleness
We may be surrounded by tough circumstances – burning dinner, balancing two jobs, powering through boatloads of dishes. Our ears may hurt from a drumbeat of whining. We may be smelling week-old broccoli stinking up the fridge. We may be tiptoeing through a cluttery mess or broken shards from yet another glass a toddler bumped off the table. Whatever chaos surrounds us, bubbles up on us, or closes in on us, humility asks us to approach our situations and ourselves with gentleness. While swimming in stress and taking breaths in the wave-troughs, our best survival tool is treating ourselves with compassion along the way.
The Joy in Honoring Our Weak Spots
Unconditional love means loving all parts of the people we treasure – even the crabby moods, the times they forget to take out the garbage, the way they blacken the pancakes or leave toothpaste slides in the sink. Humility also involves staring our own shortcomings in the eye, acknowledging them without getting stuck on them. It means forgiving ourselves even after we mess up, even if said error holds the deafening shizams of a fireworks finale.
The Joy of Learning
There’s a great joy to learning and stretching. Humility carves out space for growth. There’s an incredible openness, a window that comes after a failure or a few. It’s in that precious space where we are open to learning a better, more evolved, and happier way. When we are clinging tightly to the way we already are, to an illusion of an “it’s all good” we’ve come to lean upon, we can’t see what’s to come. We can’t see the path down which we’re supposed to travel next.