Humbling yourself can be done in many different ways. I believe you first have to find what you need to work on in your life. Sometimes you can pinpoint your personal shortcomings in your actions and other times you’ll find your faults from the harsh truth of a friend. Both discoveries can be hard to cope with because we tend to feel like we are somewhat flawless. It then becomes easy to make the decision to not change. You say to yourself, “This is how I am, and others just have to deal.” You’ll quickly find that way of thinking doesn’t work when you meet someone with the same mindset. How we choose to deal with our imperfections and other's are what make us have a more or less humble character.
I found myself in a big argument with a good friend once. After weeks of not speaking to each other, she had called to apologize. She sounded sincere. I could tell she wanted to move on and put everything behind us but for some reason, I didn’t feel like her apology was sufficient. At that moment, I didn’t want to let her forget what she said or how she hurt me. I didn’t want her to just put it “behind” her. I wanted her to reflect more on the pain she had inflicted on me and to ensure that it wouldn’t happen again. Approaching the situation like this led into yet another argument where neither one of us were really listening to the other.
I remembered that particular argument a couple of weeks ago when I found myself on the other side of the apology. I had mustard up the courage to apologize for overreacting in a situation. I’d placed myself in a vulnerable state and had decided to be a bigger person but instead of acceptance, I felt like I had been disciplined. I felt horrible. I instantly regretted apologizing in the first place. I decided never to react that way to an apology I received.
As both a Christian and a friend, I am constantly learning to forgive to be able to receive forgiveness for myself. Matthew 6:15, "But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses". In other words, how can you expect to be forgiven for your shortcomings if you don’t forgive others? So, I’m working on forgiveness and letting go but I also know I have to continue to work on receiving criticism. Maybe my friend was telling me a harsh truth, and I didn’t want to receive it. Galatians 4:16 reads, "Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" I am learning to receive feedback with an open mind and improve myself. If it’s coming from a sincere and loving place, it may be something I need to hear about myself, so I can start working on that in my life.
In this particular season in my life humbling for me is to become a better listener and be slow to speak and anger (James 1:19). I think it’s better to step away from things that start to become a little heated and come back to them later with a level head. At the point when a conversation turns into the blame game, name-calling, and shouting neither party will get a point across. I’ll try to listen and not judge, apologize, and think before I speak or act. In the case that my humbleness does not yield the result of patching things up I’ll know that I’ll always find forgiveness through Christ when I don’t in men. In turn, I’ll be able to let go of any anger, hurt, or regret in my heart and be rewarded ten folds for my humble nature.