You and I are nothing special. We are all considered the same human being, with the same potential for constructive emotions and destructive emotions. When we meet someone, we must first and foremost remember that they, too, have the same desire to have a happy day, a happy month, a happy life. We all have the right to achieve it. But if we consider ourselves as something special, that frame of mind isolates us and gives us a sense of separateness that builds barriers between other people. In fact, this arrogant way of thinking creates a sense of loneliness and anxiety.
When things are going smoothly for us, we act like we’re something special. But when something happens, something unexpected, we’re thrusted back into being normal human beings and we find ourselves looking for community in our misery. But even when things are going well for us, we need to relate to others on this human level. We need to shed ourselves from the formality of titles and official statuses, or we will never be able to get to know one another as a community, as singular collective human beings, as friends. When we approach occasions formally, we pretend we’re something different and special — artificial — but we are all simply the same ordinary people looking for the same things.
Humility is not something one can claim to have or be an expert on and it can often be misconstrued as fake modesty, but it is essential to a life of joy. It’s this humility that makes everyone in the world connected to each other, relatable to each other’s problems, and effective in our actions against the calamities we face. When we meet people, we need to be appreciative of who is in front of us and realize that they are more useful and have more to offer than meets the eye — we all are.
But how exactly does humility cultivate joy? It starts with perspective (again). There’s a reason why joy carefully chose to structured itself around the support of perspective first. When we have an expansive perspective, we have a natural understanding of our place in the great sweep of all that was, is, and will be. This naturally leads to humility and the recognition that as human beings, we can’t solve everything or control all aspects of life alone. We need help. Our vulnerabilities and our limitations are a reminder that we need each other. We are not created for independence or self-sufficiency, but for interdependence and mutual support. We are all born and and die the same way, whether we’re a bum, a CEO of a mega corporation, or a duke. Remembering this can help us take a lighter attitude toward life: amused by everything going on, taking pleasure in whatever is going on, but not taking anything too personal and not worrying or taking offense to anything that is happening. We need to be careful not to get caught up in our roles because this is where arrogance can easily slip in and confuse our temporary roles with our fundamental identity. None of us are immune to the human limitations of pride or ego, but true arrogance comes from insecurity. Needing to be better and climb higher than others comes from our fear of being at the bottom of the totem pole. But the word humility is actually derived from the Latin word for “soil” or “earth”, so humility literally brings us back down to earth — it grounds us.
We are all equal and of intrinsic value, and while we may not be special, we are all essential in the roles we play.
(To be continued…)
DAY 29. Love, Ro