I’ve learned to be suspicious of people who never seem to be wrong, who always have an opinion, and who insist on talking much more than they listen. There is something within me that feels wronged by people who covertly or overtly insist on having the upper hand; people who would feel more hurt at the insinuation that they have room for improvement.
I’ve also learned that those who are humble enough to know they’ll always be learning, who accept they’ll get things wrong occasionally—who apologise, and who may be wrong by logic even if they’re logical people, don’t consider themselves humble.
But some of the proudest people—who have a ‘knowledgeable’ self-perception—think they’re incredibly humble. They are not; they are proud—the antithesis of humility.
The Bible tells us the humble will be exalted and the exalted, humbled.
God’s Word speaks in so many ironies—it speaks to the broad scope of enigmatic truths, many of which are invisible to the undiscerning.
The humble person—that one who frequently checks themselves for fault more so than they check others for fault—has a phenomenon about them. They’re self-aware. They’re emotionally intelligent. As such, they’re a blessing to others, because they genuinely and routinely put others first. It’s their pleasure to do this.
The humble protect others at the cost of themselves. They love because they can.
Whereas the proud person feels not only entitled to their opinion—whether they’re qualified to comment or not—they insist that others hear them, and, when they’re particularly narcissistic, they get angry when other people differ against their views—most especially when other people act as proud as they are.
The motivation for being self-aware regarding fairness and justice in social situations is love. It has to be love. We must desire better for the other person.
But so often there are cases where people push and shove their way in and around our lives, disrespecting our personal space and our dignity. Of course, this cannot be explained as love, especially when there’s always a justification in the transgression and any resistance from us is seen as us transgressing them, not just maintaining good boundaries.
Becoming self-aware is not only about emotional intelligence—noting how interactions are going, not just for us, but for them too—it’s centrally about love.
When we’re inherently loving we are naturally self-aware. The irony is then we stand to be open for less self-aware people to traipse all over our rightful dominion—our personal space (not the physical space, but the psychological and relational space).
The cost of being lovingly self-aware is we’ll notice all the more when others aren’t.
People never forget how we made them feel. When we listen with pleasure, consider them the same as ourselves, button our lips when tempted to venture opinions, and admit we’re wrong when we are, we’re a blessing to others and we please God.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.