Years ago, a friend of mine gave my now ten-year-old son a book called “One Smart Cookie” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It is a delightful children’s book that defines vocabulary about manners and character by exploring the words by relating them to making cookies. In it, she states, “Humble means she doesn’t go around talking about how great her cookies are; she just quietly does her thing.” In the illustration, there is a girl offering a plate of cookies to her friends, who say they are the best cookies they’ve ever had.

How humble are you?

What is it about being humble that is so attractive? I think it may come down to holding everyone in positive regard. Being boastful sends a message that I value — or think more highly of — myself than I do you (ironically, being boastful can mask that I think less of myself, but that’s a topic for another day…). Being humble recognizes that we are all human, we are all interconnected, and that we all have value. Being humble means you don’t consider yourself the center of the universe, but rather a small part of a greater whole.

This week’s Challenge: This week, I will foster humility by expressing gratitude for others.

Avoiding being Minimizing (overuse):
To extend on the idea of positive regard above, if you overuse humility by minimizing yourself and your contributions, you are then sending the unspoken message that you hold yourself in lower regard than you do others (or, similar to how boasting can mask insecurities, minimizing can seem disingenuous). As with all of these traits we’ve been exploring each week, being balanced is key. When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, you don’t need to boast or minimize your accomplishments — you can just “be.”

Commendable Trait: Humble
Underused: Boastful
Overused: Minimizing
Strength: Trust
Quadrant: Humanity

“Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of yourself.”
- Blaise Pascal

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