Saturday 21 April 2018

The thing is... Your 30-second guide to everything: Humility

Pope Francis and Donald Trump
Pope Francis and Donald Trump

Emily Hourican

What: Humility. The genuine type, as opposed to the ghastly humble-brag by which appalling people try to persuade us that they are both magnificent and unassuming; defined as "the quality of having a modest or low view of one's importance".

Why: Because we're sick of listening to how great you are. Humble people are better liked, and that's the truth. And because there are genuine psychological benefits to humility (known as 'a quiet ego') including lower anxiety, better self-control, and healthier relationships.

Why Now: It's circumstantial, really: we've had Ryan Giggs and Kanye West claiming to be 'geniuses', not to mention Trump being the 'best' and announcing that everything he touches becomes 'great'. With that kind of context and company, bragging has shot itself in the foot. So now, in response, we're all about the humility.

How: Fundamentally, for this to work, you need to believe that other people are actually as real and as important as you. And that is hard for some. You don't need to be religious to be humble, but it helps.

Who: Tennyson, who once said that humility is "the highest virtue". Pope Francis, of course, is professionally humble - in fact, you might say being humble is his raison-d'etre; he recently gave a Ted talk calling on world leaders to be more humble. In the world of celebrity, it can be very hard to distinguish fake (the 'what, little old me?'-type stuff that comes with a large dose of disingenuity) from real. However, we are willing to believe Paul Newman and Keanu Reeves. And to give Jennifer Lawrence the benefit of the doubt.

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