My AA home group reads from the Daily Reflections devotional every morning. The topics in the book follow along with the 12 steps of AA. January is step 1, February step 2, etc. July, being step 7 (which is – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings), is about humility. Here is what we read this morning:
|A NOURISHING INGREDIENT|
|Where humility had formerly stood for a forced feeding on humble pie, it now begins to mean the nourishing ingredient which can give us serenity.|
|TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 74|
|How often do I focus on my problems and frustrations? When I am having a “good day” these same problems shrink in importance and my preoccupation with them dwindles. Wouldn’t it be better if I could find a key to unlock the “magic” of my “good days” for use on the woes of my “bad days?”I already have the solution! Instead of trying to run away from my pain and wish my problems away, I can pray for humility! Humility will heal the pain. Humility will take me out of myself. Humility, that strength granted to me by that “power greater than myself,” is mine for the asking! Humility will bring balance back into my life. Humility will allow me to accept my humanness joyously.|
How often do I focus on my problems and frustrations? All the time! And yes, when I am having a good day, those same problems do seem to be less daunting. And yes again, I would love it if I could use the magic of the good days to combat the hopelessness of the bad ones. Does this mean I lack humility? I think it does. And I do want the positive things that the reading offers when we are able to achieve humility: balance, acceptance, and joy. I’m just not sure how to do it.
I have struggled for the two plus years I have been a member of AA to really understand what humility is. I have heard a lot of different ideas and definitions. Some say that having humility is being able to remain teachable. Others say that it means thinking about others instead of ourselves. I have also heard that it means staying right-sized. There are jokes that go around the rooms that contend that as soon as you can announce you’ve found humility, you’ve lost it. None of this coincides with what I thought about humility before I got into AA. I thought that I must be one of the most humble human beings on the planet, because I disliked myself so much. How could I be considered proud when my self-worth was so low? But it turns out, as I found out from some old-timers, that that is not humility. It’s just self-loathing. There’s no humility in that because I was still self-absorbed. Even if it was with negative thoughts of myself.
Now, even though my self-worth has improved somewhat, I still suffer from a lot of negative self talk and it’s very easy for me to get down on myself. I can quickly turn almost any situation (good or bad) into the Jami-show. Not doing that, is something that I work on daily. It’s still hard, though, to look at my self and see what is real, what God made, and not see all of my shortcomings. I have noticed that I am able to recognize my self-bashing much faster now, but that doesn’t always mean that I am willing, or able, to do something about it. I think what it boils down to is that when it comes to humility, I have to have a heart-change. I have to change to way I see myself into a more accurate image. I can’t continue to hate on myself, but I can’t think that I’m all that either. I have to be careful to tell myself the truth about who I am, not the things that I think others believe about me. I have to see myself as God created me, not as a sum of my past behavior. Maybe then, I will understand what humility is.
As I was getting ready to write this post, I did find one definition of humility that I really like. It was on a discussion board on one of the recovery sites I belong to. It says:
Humility is the ability to look in a mirror and see what’s there: nothing more, nothing less.
That is something I think I can work with. 🙂