I am excited to share a thought provoking guest post with you today. Lori Carpenos, coming from her background as a family therapist, and personal practitioner and advocate of Sydney Banks’ Three Principles, is here to share her reflections on humility.
I think humility is underrated. I never hear that it is something to which people aspire. I rarely hear it used as a compliment or find it in a list of positive employee attributes in a LinkedIn profile. It flies under the radar, yet I think it could possibly be one of the finest characteristics a person can possess. It is certainly worth some reflection.
I enjoy writing as I reflect; it makes me feel like I’m having a conversation even though it takes place in my own head, so thank you for joining me.
I’ll begin by looking at potential outcomes that can arise out of humble behavior. I’ll explain a set of principles that prove why humility makes sense, and I’ll end by explaining how to naturally tap into humility. Let’s have a look at potential outcomes. If you bring to mind someone you know who appears humble you’ll see what I mean.
A woman named Chris Heath comes to my mind. I met Chris in 1985. We were both Marriage and Family Therapists. We met in a postgraduate yearlong internship that took place in Florida. Chris had moved from Minnesota and I had moved from CT. The training revolved around a set of Principles that had been recognized a decade earlier and proved that everyone has innate health, though it is quite frequently covered by typical negative thoughts.
After graduation Chris left, along with two of the nurses in the program, and moved to Hawaii. None of the three women knew anyone upon their arrival in Hawaii, but the three managed to create a mental health clinic that employed fifteen counselors and obtained government contracts.
It was years later that Chris found out that native Hawaiians did not typically embrace outsiders, but that thought had never been a question in Chris’s mind. Since it wasn’t on her mind, she explained, she just went about the business of setting up a clinic. Yes, ignorance can be bliss. And there is a way to experience bliss, even though we need not be ignorant to do so! I’ll explain that when I talk about how to tap into humility.
First, back to Chris; she returned to Minnesota to open a second clinic, and both continue to thrive to this day. I asked Chris how she pulled it off. She looked at me like I had two heads and said it was really simple, “I just like being surrounded by a lot of people, so I trained other counselors in the Three Principles and everyone pitched in nicely.” That was a typical remark from Chris, who was as humble as humble can be.
Chris’s story illustrates some advantages of humility. I imagine it allowed people to warm up to her as easily as did I, because it’s easy to warm up to humble people. It’s easy to trust humble people, because it’s clear that they’re not selfish, and that they enjoy their lives and other people. After all, it landed her government contracts in a place that didn’t trust outsiders!
While studying how the Three Principles (Mind, Thought and Consciousness) work within all of us, to create our experience of life, we realized that certain characteristics are brought out in people when they’re in higher states of mind. In a state of higher consciousness, more positive thoughts come to mind and we’re more patient, creative, interested in life, empathic, generous. Now I found that intriguing, that a certain state of mind could bring about positive characteristics from within. Well, in that case I thought, “How do I get myself into a higher state of mind more consistently?” Isn’t that a bit like pulling yourself up by your bootstraps?
What I learned is that we each create our own state of mind constantly by virtue of our own thinking. Then I realized that I had a habit of some pretty negative thinking, such as focusing on life’s disappointing thoughts; I would play that card more than I care to admit. Then I learned that I didn’t have to buy into anything I thought; after all, I’m making it up to begin with, and in low moods, I’m going to generate more negative thoughts. In fact, that’s what a low mood is – low quality thinking!
What a relief to realize that just because I had a negative thought, I didn’t have to keep it going. I was the one fueling it by thinking it was the absolute truth! It’s easier to let a thought go than you may have realized. Have you ever forgotten where you put your keys or your eye glasses? Anything we don’t focus on will fly out of our heads. We can put that knowledge to good use when it comes to the negative thoughts that are dragging us down; best to let them go, they’re not the only possible lens through which to look. Things change, thoughts change, experiences change on their own when we get out of our own way.
Learning that we all work the same way psychologically (through the 3 Principles) really levels the playing field. We can realize that regardless of a person’s background, upbringing, socio-economic status or education, we all experience life through the same Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought. Now, that’s quite humbling!
Lori Carpenos, LMFT