Why is humility so hard?

flower shadow

“It is pride that turned angels into devils;

It is humility that makes men as angels.”

Saint Augustine

Jesus describes humility as “the passionate desire to feel ALL of our emotions.” That is every single emotion in every single moment. It is the process of tuning in, becoming sensitive, to how we feel ALL of the time, to listening and acknowledging what is going on in our soul. Our feelings are part of our soul and if felt properly tell us the truth of what is going on, what is going wrong and what is going right. Humility is an essential part of healing, our self-growth and realisation, our growth in love and truth, and if we so desire, our journey to to become at one with God by receiving his love.

So why is it so hard? I have been pondering this question tonight and see that is not the real question. The real question is:

Why am I not more humble? Why do I resist feeling all of my emotions? So why do I resist truth and keep myself from love?

It makes no sense and I have always prided myself on my common sense. I am creative, but I love logic too. I look around at the world and see so much illogical thought and action and wonder why so many don’t see it too. So logically, it makes sense to have humility, to feel, to release the error and discover truth and mostly to choose love, for myself and for others. Logically, humility is obvious, simple and powerful.

So what does humility feel like? For me, in the times when I let myself feel true emotions: rage, fear, grief; afterwards it feels soft, but strong: beautiful, and real. The harsh edges have melted, the armour dropped away. I gain a small sense of the real me. It is surrender and surrender is freeing: wings unclipped, effortless. It is as though I can rest: I don’t have to “try”, or be strong, or keep going, or pushing or pulling one way and another. Even if I am in tears, there is a huge relief, of not have to keep trying to be what others or I expect of me. The is no “should” just I am. It is amazing and yet I resist. Why?

So if I am not humble, if I am not letting myself feel my emotions, what am I doing instead? Instead, I am in a facade and I am used to the facade; I like it; I am used to it. I created it when I was young to protect me, to help me survive. My parents may have encouraged the facade, because the facade rarely upsets the status quo. The one where we are all pretending to be alive, to function, to be a family, to live some kind of life. The one where being too emotional is seen as weakness or drama, where emotions are suppressed, from the first moment our mother says, “don’t cry sweetie, ” we are told not to feel. Feelings frighten us, the truth frightens us. We fear being overwhelmed and create a desire to control and manage our life and our emotions. So this is what I have done, and so have you.

From conception, I inherited emotional injuries from my parents, and so it continued as their injuries spilled out into their parenting and my childhood. This cycle of damage perpetuates the pain and builds the facade. To make it worse, if we want to scream or cry because we feel emotional pain, we are told to be quiet, to not cry, to not express: we ingest our parents and environments beliefs about emotions. So we build more facade. This cycle shrinks us and we become masters of control: I became a master of control.

The facade is our survival technique, but the longer we hold onto it, the more damage is done. But we are in it so utterly, that we will do anything to keep it. We create emotional and physical addictions to numb the pain, to not feel too much: we drink, we eat, we take drugs, we demand to be rescued, to be saved, to look for someone to care for us, to keep us feeling good. We will do anything to feel good and avoid our pain. Over a lifetime we create thousands of addictions, so many, so ingrained we don’t even notice.

So here I am, like many of you, living in a facade to protect my heart, to keep the lid on my Pandora’s box of emotions from my childhood. I am so used to living this way, that even though I have experienced a little of the wonder of humility, my desire to NOT feel outweighs my desire to feel. Inside, I am terrified to feel overwhelmed. So many overwhelming things happened when I was a child: tsunami’s came my way and I couldn’t swim. The constant flight and fright mode, left me fighting for control, amid the chaos. And I got it, I got how to control what I could, whether it was food, feelings, my environment or people: anything to NOT feel the terror of what was going on. And I am still there, afraid of the terror and the grief inside.

So now I sit with feet in both camps. I know, intellectually, that to have humility will change everything for me. I understand it is the way to the real me, to knowing myself and my soulmate, to knowing my real Parent and yet, I stubbornly hang on to my facade and addictions: clinging to the rock face; not wanting to jump and yet knowing I must. Because without humilty I can’t progress, I can’t love or be loved and that makes me sad. I see how in my facade, I defend my point of view, I deny what I really feel to my own detriment and to the detriment of the other half of my soul. My facade hurts me and it hurts others. It is harsh, yukky, unattractive. It pushes away my soulmate, that beautiful man.It keeps me away from God and her love and from real joy.

I don’t like my facade. It has become like an old item of clothing: once a favourite – familiar and safe and yet if you really look at it, it if full of mothballs, scruffy and musty. I really need to throw it out, “thanks for you help mate, but it’s time for you to go.” It’s time for me to feel.

So it’s not humility that is hard. Being emotional is how God created us. It’s our resistance to feel,and the deep hold we let our facade and addictions have in our life. In the end we have the choice to change it, as we do with everything in life. It is our desire, our will to make it happen that creates the change. So far, I feel my desire has been half-hearted. I have made fear my God and fear weaves a web of denial and lack. Fear keeps me from love.

I am sorry, to all those who offer me love and I keep it at bay through my fear. I am sorry I do that to you and I am sorry I do it to myself. My facade has a firm hold and it cares not about Love, but about maintaining itself – at all costs. But I don’t want to give in to it: chip by chip; brick by brick; wall by wall it will come down if I really want it to.  I believe in Love – not the love the world has shown me , but a love my soul understands exists somewhere. I believe in a life with so many more possibilities than the facade can ever offer us.

Humility isn’t hard, my facade is. Humility offers freedom, fear a prison. Humility takes us to truth and to love, not to pain and suffering. Humility is one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves. It is the biggest gift I can give to myself: all of me.

Maxine Bell

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