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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In my (not so) humble opinion

HUMILITY - The quality or condition of being humble; imitate Jesus and Socrates. [Humility week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve;
nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of self.

Funny how each of my virtue weeks pose different sorts of conundrums. Last week Moxie seemed to be demanding a very aggressive (thanks Jingle) approach and this week Humility seems to cry out for the complete opposite. Aggressive Moxie sounds like a ton fun but aggressive Humility sounds downright blasphemous. You can never have too much Joy or Creativity but once Humility gets over used somehow it starts to feel cheap.

Take as an example the phrase "In my humble opinion."  I don't know about you but whenever I hear it I am immediately on guard for an inflated ego. Don't you just love how it usually precedes a statement that is far from humble? As the urban dictionary compares it, much like "no offense" precedes an offensive comment, "in my humble opinion" usually indicates an a**hole comment is forthcoming.

Years ago, I had a boyfriend who seemed to think that by putting this declaration in front of anything he said it somehow made him look smarter and/or more qualified to comment. "In my humble opinion, that is never the way to go..." It used to drive me crazy. I told him it didn't add anything and mostly just put people on guard for hearing what foolish blow hard thing was going to come out of his mouth. O.K. I didn't quite say it that way when we were dating... if only I had the chance now! He really did think he was an expert on everything! LOL

Anyway, I digress...

I do realize that this phrase has become so common it often is a "throw away" in the context of any dialog (or now texting conversations, IMHO) but I think it should just be dropped from the vernacular all together. How can we actually be serious about being humble if we bandy the word about in this total disrespectful fashion? Even if your intent is not to become humble I think rampant misuse of a word denigrates its meaning.

I know that our English language is a living language and change is expected over time but Humble is a nice word. It has been around since the mid thirteenth century (from Etymonline: O.Fr. humble, earlier humele, from L. humilis "lowly, humble," lit. "on the ground," from humus "earth.") In my anything but humble opinion it should be allowed to stay pure and lowly and if we take a gentle, rather then aggressive approach, I just might have a chance at grasping it!


And for a little bit of Whimsy (because whimsy week is still a way off and I miss it) go to Urban Dictionary and type in your first name. I think you will find it enjoyable as I did:

Kathy is a word to explain one amazing person.the shiz net of all friends. One of the most beautiful and gorgeous people. also one of the kindest.

Next Post: Gentle Humility.

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise


  1. Humility's something I've never fully wrapped my head around in any respect. Not entirely convinced it's really the virtue at work when it's being credited, or at least not all the time, if that makes sense.

    (I appreciate that it probably doesn't.)

  2. I won't be guest posting this week! HA! This is NOT a strong area for me! I will be reading, though! Can't wait to hear what your thoughts are!

  3. T- that makes total sense to me. I think that is part of the reason it is so allusive. People claim having/using it when it really isn't the case at all!

    J- anytime you want to guest post again you let me know... I think you probably have something surprising and entertaining on every topic!


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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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