Humility and Recovery

In the modern world, humility is a personal quality that is often overlooked and frequently related to weakness rather than strength. In reality, humility is a highly admirable quality that breaks down any potential barriers to progress in recovery. Those in early recovery will likely hear more than once the importance of humility – seeing as addiction in itself is exceedingly humbling. So what is humility, and why is it so important? Webster defines humility as – “The quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people; the quality or state of being humble.” While the definition of humility varies greatly depending on the individual concerned, the concept typically involves a modesty regarding self and a respectfulness regarding others. Being humble essentially means that an individual has an accurate perception of his or her own weaknesses and limitations, as well as a realistic understanding of his or her personal strengths.

The Role of Humility in Addiction Recovery

Pride and humility are not well-adapted bedfellows, for as Ezra T. Benson once stated, “Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.” In order to form a humble outlook, it is important that we cast our senses of ego and pride aside, opening our minds to the possibility of fallibility. In recovery, it is absolutely pertinent that we are open to receiving feedback and constructive criticism. We have blatantly proven time and again that we are not well suited to make our own decisions, seeing as our best thinking landed us in he midst of devastating chemical dependencies. Thus we must be open to feedback from others – both those who have been in our shoes and come out the other side unscathed, and authoritative figures who possess a working knowledge of addiction as a disease. In order to openly listen to and abide by the suggestions of others, we must shrug off our stifling senses of pride and adapt to a newfound humility. Accepting when we are wrong and graciously accepting feedback is a crucial component of addiction recovery that directly involves humility.

How to Effectively Practice Humility

Practicing humility in recovery is essential to spiritual growth. In practicing being humble, we become better listeners, more teachable, and able to honestly examine ourselves without judgment, guilt, or shame. One of the most effective ways to practice humility on a daily basis is to simultaneously practice gratitude. Make a gratitude list at the start or finish of every day, listing several things that you have to be truly grateful for. Being aware of your assets and giving thanks for your admirable qualities without bragging is a good way to stay humble. Practice random acts of kindness. Being kind will in turn improve your humility, as you begin to feel better about yourself without harboring feelings of exceeding self-importance or superiority. There are many daily practices you can participate in to improve your humility – just make sure you possess a thorough understanding of the word and truly dedicate yourself to living by it before attempting to sincerely practice it.

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