Intellectual Humility: Having a consciousness of the limits of one's knowledge, including a sensitivity to circumstances in which one's native egocentrism is likely to function self-deceptively; sensitivity to bias, prejudice and limitations of one's viewpoint. Intellectual humility depends on recognizing that one should not claim more than one actually knows. It does not imply spinelessness or submissiveness. It implies the lack of intellectual pretentiousness, boastfulness, or conceit, combined with insight into the logical foundations, or lack of such foundations, of one's beliefs. From CriticalThinking.org
An aspect of humility that I haven't covered so far is that of Intellectual Humility. This area actually partners very well with one of my other Bliss virtues, that of Inquiry. Recognizing that we don't know everything and that our particular point of view can actually keep us from seeing all aspects of things can be very important and even a little freeing.
Earth teach me caring…as the mother who secures her young
In my early thirties I was shocked to find out how pervasive and limiting my lack of humility really was. I was participating in The Landmark Education Forum and I was introduced to the concept of "my listening" and the effect it was having on all of my relationships, particularly with my mom. I learned that I approached almost every interaction with her already KNOWING how she was going to react. As you may have guessed my bias was not a flattering one and because of this we had a very argumentative relationship. I learned that I actually listened for things to disagree with and it really didn't matter what my mom was trying to tell me, listening that way allowed little room for anything but a contentious interaction.
I would love to report that I am a totally changed woman and that I have changed all my interactions with my mother but of course that wouldn't be the truth. I still struggle with the pervasiveness of believing I already KNOW how things are but when ever I can give that up I allow for something else.
Having my own child also helped me to try on a different point of view regarding my mom. When I first held my little girl I couldn't help but think that my mom had done the very same thing and very likely had a lot of the same thoughts and dreams, like wanting only the best for our child. What I had come to see as controlling and annoying was really my mom's way of loving and trying to protect me. I can't agree with all of her methods but her intention was always the best.
Now if I approach conversations understanding the intention and not reacting to the style we can have really nice conversations and enjoy being with each other. When I notice myself getting upset with something my mom or anyone else says I try to ask myself, "How are you listening to this?" and invariably I can see where my point of view could actually be getting in the way of hearing anything else. This concept also works well when considering different political or social views and almost without fail there is something more I can learn and doing so makes a huge difference.
Where in your life could you give up KNOWING something and possibly allow for an unexpected outcome?
Next post: Humility Resources
My 13 bliss virtues are
joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community,
romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, and surprise.
This week we are studying Humility. Next week it is Surprise.