4 Humble Things That Arent Actually Humble | RELEVANT

When Ben Franklin turned 20, he wasdetermined to become virtuous. He put togethera list of 12 virtues (frugality, sincerity, justice, etc.),and worked out a system of regularly focusing on one virtue a week while tracking his progress ashe went.

He showed his finishedlist of values to a ministerwho pointed out that Franklinwas missing humilitythe queen of all virtues. Franklinadded itto thelist bringing the total to 13.

After spending many months working on the virtues,Franklins friend asked how he was doing with humility. Franklin responded, I cantboast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to theappearanceof it.

The point is, if youre working hard at acting humble, youre not actually humble.

Virtues are a lot like garments; you can put them onwithout owningthem. Its tricky because we dont just fool the people around us by playing dress upwe fool ourselves.

Humility is much easier to manufacture than it is to internalize, and as long as were more focused on humilitys appearance, well never experience its transformation.


Scriptures packed with references to humility (something God honors), and most of the time its used as an antonym for pride (somethingGod despises).

The classic C. S. Lewis quote from Mere Christianity is a helpful place to start:

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

Humilitys simplicity is what makes it sodifficult. Itssimply thinking about, promoting the interests of and celebrating others more than yourself.

Instead of focusing on others, we tend to promote, celebrate and focus on ourselveswith a little self-depreciating twist to give the appearance that we really dont take ourselvesthatseriously.

Here are four common humblethings that arent actually humility:


I used to work with this guy whod say things like, My wifes always telling me that people think Im weird and socially awkward because I use professor-like vocabulary words instead of talking like a normal person.

Let me translate that for you: Folks think Imweird BECAUSE IM SO STINKIN SMART!

A humble brag is the delightful technique of saying something awesome about yourself, but washing it down with a chaser of faux-criticism or depreciation.

Only one person in a group can never seem to recognize a humble brag, and thats the person whos usingit. Theyre too busy trying to force feed you a spoonful of their awesomeness.


When I had my first viral blog post, I was a bit of a jerk. It was such a big surprise that I didnt know how to talk about it in a way that didnt seem awful. So instead of just talking about it, I would post screenshots and stats and say ridiculous things like, Im so humbled that so many people are reading my blog today.

I wasnt so humbled about itthat was complete nonsense. I was excited. And you know what? Thats OK. Whats not OK is putting on some false sense of humility in order to draw attention to myself.

Now whenever I hear someone tell me how humbled they are, I recognize it for the bull it is. (Also, I cant read Im so humbled without hearing it in Jeremy Irons Scar voice.) Just tell me about the awesome thing youre experiencing so I can celebrate with you.

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Newsflash: Humble people can take a compliment.

Its funny to see someone spend an hour doing their hair and picking out an outfit to see them respond to a compliment on their appearance with, Oh, stop. I look hideous.

Ones inability to take a compliment (even if theyre sincere) is more aboutpride than its about humility.

Humble people have strengths, positive qualities and nice outfits. Its OK. Say thank you and move on.


Sometimes when you compliment a Christian on a job well done theyll give you this kind of response: Oh, that was just the Lord working through me or All the glory goes to the Lord.

This is the Christian mash-up of not taking a compliment and holy humble bragging. Its the worst kind of religiosity because it passes off the compliment while doubling down on self-righteousness.

By acknowledging your gifts, you glorify the Lord. Humility doesnt parade around in the skinny jeans of false piety.

Truly humble people are amazing to be around. Want to be like them? Focusing on being humble will never get you there. Instead, start by looking for ways to celebrate theawesomeness ofothers and stop looking for ways to promote your own.

This article was originally posted at jaysondbradley.com.

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