The quest for happiness is the topic of much literature, films, blogs, and the essence of the spiritual journey for many.
What if I told you that humility and happiness go hand in hand and that happiness is not a destination, but a choice that starts through humility?
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Irvine, California provides three helpful tips to remain humble:
- Don’t demand what you think you deserve.
- Look for ways that you can serve.
- Do what’s right even when it’s painful
“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels” Saint Augustine.
Happiness starts with a choice to look at what is and question who is in control – your successful thoughts or your ego? Your ego robs you of joy, demanding that you deserve more and pointing out your suffering and affliction.
Your thoughts are actually the key to driving your happiness because it is in your thoughts that you can dispel the lies of your ego. When your ego decides to tell you how much more you deserve, ask yourself, is it true that I deserve more than the next person?
If all are created equal, does anyone truly deserve more than another? I am not saying that you should not have desires and dreams. What I am saying is that your ego has a sneaky way of robbing your joy and happiness by twisting your thoughts and beliefs that happiness is based on you being worthier than another.
When we invite humility into our thinking we can challenge ego and find happiness that is already inside. Humility calms the chaos. Rather than being in conflict with others, we are in unity and see that it is not “what I deserve,” instead it is “my desire”.
What is humility? One definition is the “freedom from control of the competitive reflex.”
A dear friend of mine and I like to spar on the concept of “friendly competition.” My position is that there is no friendliness associated with a desire to overtake another. My friend’s position is that through competition it challenges us to push our limits. If one person in the end is left feeling inadequate, where is the friendship? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating “participation trophies” for all so that everyone can feel good.
What I am saying is that when we compete against others our humility goes out the window. What we need to be doing is competing with ourselves. Pushing our own limits, not measuring them against others. Ask yourself, is it true that I will be happy if I beat my brother at the game? Or is it my choice to be happy because I have the ability to be in the game and challenge myself to do great?
Instead of competing against others, stay in your space and out of their Kool-Aid! Your space is your business, their Kool-Aid is their business. Challenge yourself to be a better version of you. A great way to do this is to know that through humility you have more control over the chaos of being in everyone’s business.
Humility is a space of emotional neutrality and a space that we can exercise service, which builds our humility muscles. In this space we gain insight that we are not above or below others, instead, we are hand in hand. In this space you will find that rather than creating chaos through competition (having to be better), that by encouraging their achievement and helping them succeed in areas that they need a helping hand, you will feel peace. Through service, we humble ourselves to get out of the “me, me, me, I need to be superior” thinking and into unity and understanding of how happiness is cultivated through peace in our thinking.
Let me just tell you, sometimes being humble hurts. Sometimes going up against the ego reveals things to us that aren’t so pretty, but it’s necessary if you want to find peace and happiness that resides within.
“He who finds joy within himself discovers that his body is charged with an electric current and life energy that is not from food, but from God” Paramahansa Yogananda.
We each have a river of joy and happiness running through us – finding it does not mean finding something outside of ourselves, or stepping over others to do so. Rather, humility is the key that will unlock the door to the happiness within.
Humility is the wisdom of accepting the truth that what your ego is telling you is wrong. Strength comes from telling your ego to take a hike, that “I choose happy.”
Go after that thing that you desire, with all your heart. Just make sure that you add a heaping helping of humility so that you understand that success does not equal happiness, but happiness equals success.
Have a blessed week. Namaste.