“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” —C.S. Lewis
I heard this quote on the radio the other day, and it resonated with me. I struggle with this very thing. Often I get my definition of humility mixed up, and I think it’s common to confuse humility with having a low self worth. We skew our vision of ourselves because we don’t want to come across as conceited.
I’m one of those people who has a hard time selling herself during job interviews. I don’t like telling people I’m good at certain things. I have a hard time accepting compliments that are directed at me rather than something I did or something I’m wearing.
For example, my boyfriend tells me I’m beautiful every day. Because we typically only see each other during weekends, the compliment usually comes over text. I have an easier time accepting a written compliment, but I still have a hard time saying “thank you.” Most of the time I brush it off. When he has an opportunity to tell me in person, I normally just give him a weird look, or I blush and look away.
Once he looked me straight in the eyes, said he wants me to know I’m beautiful, and asked me if I believe it. He actually made me repeat it back to him. It was more than just answering with a “yes.” He made me say the words. I felt silly, but it was good practice for me.
I have a hard time accepting compliments even though I really do like myself, and as the saying goes, I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m pleased when I look in the mirror most days, and I’m satisfied with where I am in life.
I generally desire to be a humble person. That’s why the C.S. Lewis quote caught my attention so much. In my efforts to be humble, I come across sometimes as having low self-esteem. Part of the reason is that I’m shy and would rather have attention focused anywhere other than on me.
Accepting compliments is hard even though I know the difference between pride and humility. Continuing my example about looks, a prideful person would let everyone know how beautiful they think they are, how expensive their clothes are, etc. They would brag about themselves, hardly stopping to compliment anyone else. If they do, they might pay a compliment simply out of hope of receiving one in return.
A humble person would still be confident about their beauty, but they would wait for people to compliment them or ask where they purchased a specific item of clothing. And they would accept the compliment with a “thank you.” A humble person would also take time to compliment others without expecting a compliment in return.
The challenge for me is learning to balance humility with a healthy view of myself that I can verbally express. I’m working on being able to accept compliments well instead of trying to deflect them politely. Do you struggle with accepting personal compliments? How do you balance humility with a healthy view of yourself?