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humility as honesty
middot humility meditation humility as honesty

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humility as honesty

Written by  rebbetzin malkah

art-dalifneiThe Hebrew word for humility is anavah Anavah denotes balance; a moderate, accurate understanding of ourselves. 

When we have conceit, we fill a room with our enormous presence when we enter.  There is no room for anyone else, there is no space for anyone to flourish.

When we are self-deprecating and degrade ourselves, we lack proper humility as well.  We are a wallflower and cannot be found in a room.  Our potential almost ceases to exist as we view our gifts and abilities as useless.

In order to gain a proper perspective of who we are, we need to be honest with ourselves. We have to express through our behaviors and actions that we are not more than we are, and we are not less than we truly are.

As a means of keeping a more balanced perspective of self, practice this simple meditation in action if find your humility starting to falter:

As you are in the presence of another person, whether in conversation or activity, take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing brings oxygen to your brain and helps clear the mind. Continue breathing in a focused manner.

Focus on the verse "Know before whom you stand."

While this verse is typically used to bring us before Hashem in humility and induce proper kavanah (focus) for prayer, it can also help us to guard ourselves in front of others—for they too are made in the image of Hashem.

Concentrate on this verse as you engage in your interactions with others. As you are meditating on this verse in the recesses of your mind, gently analyze your behavior in this interaction.

How is your humility unbalanced?  Are you overbearing?  Are you listening well?  Are you gracious?  Are your ideas, feelings, etc., more important than this person's?  Or are you always fading into the background, not acting in the fullness that you are able to in the relationship?  Do you always yield?  Do you consider yourself to have nothing to add?

"Know before whom you stand."  Consider why you are acting this way before this person. Hold this awareness of imbalanced humility before you and recognize that this person is in the image of G-d. This individual deserves a more balanced, humble you.

Continue to be aware of all aspects of your humility as you are in the presence of this person.  As you depart from one another, what can you take away as "homework"?  What do you need to work on to express proper humility before this person the next time you have an encounter?

What this exercise will have achieved for you is mental focus, awareness of your behavior, and a moment to illustrate your necessary work with regard to humility. If you are able to have a better understanding of whom you stand before on this planet, you can better know Whom you stand before in the Heavens.

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