Are you like me and find that you sometimes struggle to find balance in your life? In so many areas I lean too far one way, and then over-correct and lean back the other way. Finding a balance in humility can sometimes be one of these lean-into-over-correct areas. I can usually avoid the extremes of arrogance and self-effacement, but I do wander around between them. Why is it so difficult to find a resting place between my needs and the needs of others?
I was raised by a mother who always tried to take up less space, apologized for the meal before she set the food on the table, and constantly worried about upsetting others. It is not surprising that she was raised by a mother who assumed she was always right, correct in every estimation and decision. My grandmother’s values and points-of-view were the best and only ones.
Neither of them seemed to find that balance point of humility, a strong sense of self but an openness to others. So I was always caught between the woman who took up too much space and the one who never stopped trying to shrink. It was much like the scene in Alice in Wonderland when she drinks from the bottle and becomes too small and then eats the cake and grows too large. As a child I bounced between these two extremes and tried to find my own perfect size, which was not an easy task.
In reality, my “just right” size changes based on the situation. At times it is appropriate to take up a bit more space, and at other times I am best served by yielding the floor to others. The soul-trait of humility seems to be a dance rather than a set-point. Our rhythm needs to shift and adjust to the music, our partner, others on the floor around us, and of course our own ability.
Maybe, in the end, we are balancing our voice with the sacred silence of the universe. You know, that still small voice that we hear when we are truly present and alive, and yes the right size. I would love to hear how you have found your own balance of humility.