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Hi, and welcome to another episode of Thrive and Connect, the second in a series of podcasts dealing with the power of humility. Today I’ll talk about how the practice of humility can lead to abundance.
I am your host, Gary Monti, publisher of Aurelius Press, providing the only Jungian Type assessments, the Majors PT Elements and PT Inventory, that not only provide both whole Type, those 4 letters such as ESTP, but also real-time measure of the 8 Jungian mental processes, introverted Thinking, extroverted Sensing, etc., providing information on both how one tends to think based on the neural pathways established at birth but also adaptations that have been made while moving through life. For more information go to aureliuspress.com.
Let’s get back to our topic Humility and Abundance.
You might recall the last episode differentiated humility from humiliation and the results may not have been that exciting. After all, it might not sound very cheerful when even in health it’s all about going to a small place.
So what to do? This is where humility opens the door to something very powerful — abundance.
Personally, learning this lesson was a big surprise to me.
Without going into details I can say I spent a large part of my life in the confusion between humility and humiliation. The short version is I tried to make humiliation work. That created a rather painful, frustrating trap of feeling stuck in a small place with no way to get out since it was someone else’s fault I was in there and my only way out was by trying to please the other person who was rummaging around inside my head. Not a happy way to live!
In turn, I tried to compensate for this insanity by trying to please that voice inside my head believing I should be able to do everything by myself – I should be a Superman!
Well, if ever there was a death trap, that was it. No matter what was achieved it wasn’t enough. Humiliation is a black hole with an infinite appetite.
Eventually I burned out trying to fill it and started looking for something else. This something else ended up being humility, which, surprisingly, led to my discovery of abundance. Abundance makes it fine being in a small place. Abundance does this by facilitating connection.
Let me explain with a personal story — something that happened recently. I tried planning what appeared to be a rather ordinary social event. The secret reality was that while the event may appear ordinary on the surface it had importance to me. In fact it had mythic significance. Again, it was just meant to be a pleasant time, or so it seemed.
I was taken by surprise when one of the invitees said they were already planning an event around that time, it was something they did every year, the date was important, etc., etc., etc. They ended up inviting the same people that I was planning to invite. (I’ll come back to this other person later in the podcast.)
I chose to let go of my plans. This ended up being a triggering event that brought up the humiliation. Ironically, the getting past humiliations of the past was the mythic component of the event I was planning. Finally, I was free! Or so I thought. Can you believe it!
But then I thought, “Wait a minute! This is a chance to continue working with humility and getting beyond humiliation.” And that is what I did.
The work consisted of staying with the process of letting go of the reactivity humiliation creates and staying out of the personal hell created by holding on to urges to do whatever (you can fill in that blank with some of the urges you might have had in the past to set people straight, get even, etc.)
By the way, the work to free myself was done through Dharma practice (I’m a secular Buddhist) and I was able to go to the other party and actually have a good time.
But wait, there’s more! Something amazing happened at the party.
As frequently occurs at good parties, subgroups develop and I joined one. While we were sitting there talking and having a good time I asked about the cooking that others like. Several mentioned food that I had made in the past. This created an opportunity to ask, “Then what would you have for a nice meal?”
I took advantage of the situation to see if a meal could be built around the foods that I make. This led to asking, “How about Jeny and I put on a dinner party?” Everyone agreed and now we’re moving forward with the planning. The party may or may not occur. The point is, it supported me in staying with just being and connecting with myself and others.
A quiet sense of joy emerged. Behaving this way helped keep me out of the prison that hanging on to reactivity creates. Belief in abundance and committing to doing the associated work, i.e., having the dinner party, created the space within which I could experience the connection I was looking for in celebrating my release from humiliation. And if this dinner party doesn’t happen then I am free to plan something else! The abundance associated with relationships is still there because I am making the effort to care. The energy would just be moved to the work of that other event should this dinner party fall through.
In all of this it’s important to avoid sounding Pollyanna-ish. This work of abundance doesn’t come easily. Every brick on the path leading towards the creation of abundance is built from a reaction surfacing along with the urge to attach to it and then pulling energy away from that reactivity so I can let go and be free. It repeats over-and-over until the reactivity dissolves.
In Buddhism there’s a term for doing this work of sharing without expecting something in return in order to create abundance. It’s called loving-kindness. Doing the work of loving-kindness dissolves the prison created by reactive emotions.
In this case, offering to do the work of loving-kindness through a simple dinner becomes a statement to myself and to those around me that there is a way to get beyond the anger, frustration, and sense of woundedness associated with humiliation, perceived or otherwise. It can be an example for others which creates an interesting paradox. While working to take care of myself an opportunity for connecting with others is created. Pretty cool!
I want to switch back now to the individual who schedule the other party. You may have noticed during this podcast that I used the phrase, “Perceived or otherwise.” There’s a reason for doing that. When in the grip of humiliation it’s easy to perceive others with suspicion and believe they have dark motives. While these feelings may be intense they also may be inaccurate.
My feelings of humiliation actually are the reaction I choose to have in response to an action another person takes. This actually is separate from the individual’s intentions. That person may very well be intending to humiliate me or they may be doing what they honestly think is best free of intention to create harm.
This bears repeating. There are two important points here:
1. I need to take ownership of any reaction I have to someone’s behavior, and;
2. Space needs to be left to find out what the other person’s story is in order to treat them with the appropriate respect rather than trying to dump my reactive emotions on them.
Respect here simply means treating the individual appropriate for their behaviors. If I find out the person’s a jerk maybe I need to back up for a while or take action to protect myself. If the other person’s intentions are benign and I genuinely feel a sense of harm then we need to talk about making some changes. Finally, if their intentions and actions are benign then I’m back to dealing with my own reactions.
Well that’s probably more than enough for now. I hope you got something from today and can pass it on! I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.
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