It was good enough for Ben Franklin, it is good enough for me!

Benjamin Franklin Metal Wall Art by Alan Derrick (click image for details)

Happy New Year!!

I always say that “the perfect Bliss Habit” shows up just when I need it. For those of you who have been following Bliss Habits for a while, you know that I cycle through each of my habits in sequence. Follow along on the top of the blog and you know just where I am and what will be coming next. Well, for this reason I have known for some time that humility was going to be my 2012 opener.

As I read inspiration around the blogosphere I find people who are picking one word, three words, new intentions, all sorts of things to ground them as they begin this new year. Had my Bliss Habit been “Joy” or one of the other habits I would easily see myself embracing it it as my mantra for the year. Can you imagine, picking “Surprise” as your guiding force for the year? Why that sounds darn right celebratory! and fun! “Creativity” conjures up all sorts of ideas about being injecting new angles of thought on everything and finding interesting ways to handle things.

But “Humility.”


First of all Humility doesn’t sound like very much fun. I don’t know about you, but for me, it kind of conjures up dour nuns and and brave faces put on in the face of suffering. Not exactly the type of thing I want to devote an entire year to!

What you should also know about Humility is that I put this habit on my list in great part to pay homage to Ben Franklin, who followed 13 virtues of his own and inspired my project. He had put his own list together and added Humility at a friends suggestion.  I thought it would also do me some good to consider it.

It was good enough for Ben, Jesus and Socrates were both known for embracing it so it seemed like a good idea.

Ha!  a good idea. You know where all these sort of things go. The problem is, while I do indeed think it is a good idea to incorporate humility into my life, and certainly believe there are great joys available for doing so, humility hasn’t been truly embraced as MY BLISS HABIT. It is a good idea, it was recommended by Ben Franklin, but I haven’t really taken the time to own it for myself.

Last Humility week, I caught a glimpse of what it could be about when my daughter held me captive in her room but I didn’t let the lesson completely in. I’ve been holding humility at arms length and thanks to my New Year wake up call this is about to change. This week I plan on practicing humility, I don’t plan on owning it. I don’t plan on making it my clarion call for the new year I am just going to practice and here is how I am going to do it:

  • Practice being humble – Do my best to stop comparing myself to other people. Be courteous and respectful in all interactions with other people.
  • Loosen expectations – (From Be Inspired Everyday) No matter how good you are at making plans or predicting outcomes, no matter how strong your belief is that something should be a certain way, life will often produce results you did not expect or did not want. When we hold tight to expectations, we become easily frustrated, disappointed, angry and humiliated. When we take ourselves and our expectations less seriously, we can more easily handle what life hands us and move out of God’s way as we are guided on our unique life journey. I know I have a tendency to expect things to proceed exactly the way I have planned and I will do my best to release this often frustrating habit.
  • Practice Kindness Anonymously – Each day, make a point of doing something kind, without taking any credit. This can be in the form of an anonymous donation to a charity or a kind deed.
  • Give Up Trying to Change Other People – If your husband leaves the cap off the toothpaste just put it on without berating him. If your mom insists on bringing food even when you asked her not to, say thank you and resist the urge to complain. Pass over the mistakes of others and accept being slighted, forgotten, and disliked. Let’s give up trying to force our will upon others (even when we know it would be good for them!)

Won’t you join me?

Humility might just turn out to be a very good idea after all!


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5 thoughts on “It was good enough for Ben Franklin, it is good enough for me!

  1. I think Humility holds a lot of “let’s not shine too much” type of energy for me to embrace it. I believe this is the time for us all to embrace who we are and celebrate it. May be instead of Humility the more current world would be Authenticity?

  2. Thanks for the link Kathy!
    Great post. Humility gets such a bad rap. I think because it’s so hard to understand. Your article sheds a little light on a seemingly vast and dark subject.
    Remember that humility doesn’t have to be about lowering yourself or reducing your importance. It’s really about detaching your self-worth from the opinions of others and worldly accomplishments and possessions. Humility can actually boost confidence and sense of worth. It’s possible to be humble and shine and even celebrate yourself!

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