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Humbled or Humiliated?

By Toku

It’s normal to be humbled by something new. It reminds us that no matter what we do life can be challenging, that we always have new horizons to learn from and deepen. To be humbled is good and powerful and a sacrament. But humiliation is different. It’s an experience of becoming less than, of discovering ourselves flawed while at the same moment having those flaws exposed to the world. 

Humiliation is humbleness mixed with shame, self-recrimination, and with self-abandonment. It’s something done to us when we’re young that we learn to do to ourselves before the world ever could. 

It is good to be humbled, but bad if we turn this into a subtle form of self-abuse in the form of humiliation. If instead we can be gentle and kind to the parts of ourselves that feel humiliation the most, and offer a form of acceptance they so long for, regardless of success or failure. You can learn to absorb the barbs of humiliation and transform them into humbling lessons that help you grow stronger on your journey. 

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