Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Mindful Humility and Gratitude

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Sep 25, 2014 7:42 PM

It's Jewish New Year and our Rabbi talked about the Hebrew terms for mindfulness, humility (contraction) and blessings (gratitude), three elements of personal adjustment, happiness, and spirituality. These modern concepts are totally ancient. We can pay attention to what we do and what we say and still have fun and spontaneity at times. We can make ourselves small enough to let others shine, to let them lead and feel good, to help without drama and heroics and still be assertive and upfront when necessary. We can experience gratitude and bless our everyday life events and huge joys, too, without being blinded by the constant glare of awe.

When we allow ourselves to be humble, to see others as equal or superior, to support rather than outshine, to give with gratitude that we can rather than in expectation of glory, we grow. We are at our finest then.

Don't confuse that contraction of self with victimization. It doesn't mean giving in or giving up to what's wrong. We still stand up for what's right and assert ourselves when necessary. But, we don't insist arrogantly on our way. We don't boss around experts. We respect people, rather than fight with them. Sometimes, we don't even insist on fairness but on doing what's best for the ones we love, even when it's inconvenient or not fair to us. We see the big picture, become the best person we can be and act out of love in a broad sense, rather than trying to win battles and hurt others out of fear and past hurt.

In classicial philosophy, pride is characteristic of the few philosophers who are intelligent, wise and visionary. They consider themselves chosen to lead. Most religions consider pride sinful and value humility. Let me suggest a blend of pride- in caring enough about the self to take care of mind, body and soul and to strive towards integrity- and of humility-in trust, understanding, empathy and respect for others in a sensible, healthy way. Know thyself, as Socrates advised. Love thy neighbor, as the Old Testament advises. Maintain your dignity and self-respect, as we psychologists advise. Balance it well, my friends.

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