Enough about you, let’s get to me! How many times have you heard that tune playing in your own head? Being in front, first and recognized is highly encouraged in our society. We place more value on humiliation than humility, because we think standing out is better than staying within. Just watch a few minutes of any reality show, and you’ll see how easily people volunteer to trade public humiliation for fifteen minutes of fame. Oh. . . those poor bachelorettes who get that single rose and the boot!
Between my first and second book, I had a rough time—emotionally, physically and financially. I had yet to be recognized nationally for my work (Oprah wasn’t calling!), my husband was in between careers, and a back injury prevented me from writing. One day I was caught in a traffic jam on my way to an appointment in San Francisco. I got increasingly frustrated sitting there as my mind started replaying all my problems. By the time I got into the city, I was depressed about my career and my life. I kept thinking about poor little me.
As I drove through the city, I saw the familiar sight of street beggars at each intersection. Most of them were men—some sitting on cardboard boxes, some with signs asking for money. One after the other, I passed them without stopping to give them anything. There was a mantra I grew up with in New York about the homeless that goes something like this: “Don’t give to beggars on the streets. They’ll only buy alcohol or drugs with the money. "
As I got to the end of a long line of intersections, I stopped at a red light and noticed a young woman a few feet in front of me begging at the corner. She couldn’t have been more than eighteen years old with long straggly dirty blond hair, a petite chiseled face and piercing light blue eyes. I could see the outline of her ribs through her mismatched ragged clothes that hung from her emaciated body. Her bony arms were wrapped around a cardboard sign that said, “Please help. I need food and money. " The driver in front of me handed her a can of soda, and I watched while she strained a smile to thank him, as if her face muscles could barely command the skin to move. I quickly started rummaging through my purse, hoping the light wouldn’t change and cause the drivers behind me to start honking their horns. I whipped out a $5.00 bill and gently handed it to her, smiled and wished her a good day. She said thanks and continued walking to approach the car behind me. I immediately wanted to give her more, but traffic had moved on, and I was already on my way. Driving back through that same intersection later that day, I looked for her. She was gone. She was one of thousands of women who live on the streets, some with their children. That day was certainly a reminder to me that life was about a lot more than just me and my own little problems.
When we think about humility, we think about the charity and unselfishness of someone like Mother Teresa. A woman who devoted her life to the poorest of the poor, opened missionary houses all over the world, and never once boasted about winning the Nobel Peace Prize! But, humility has two sides. To me, the homeless woman on the street corner was overflowing with humility. She sought the light in others, without realizing it was actually her own light that attracted them to her. She was a humble Goddess.
5 Ways to Eat Humble Pie:
Excerpted from the book: The Goddess of Happiness, A Down-to-Earth Guide for Heavenly Balance and Bliss
Debbie Gisonni, aka The Goddess of Happiness™, is an author (The Goddess of Happiness: A Down-to-Earth Guide for Heavenly Balance and Bliss and Vita’s Will: Real Life Lessons about Life Death & Moving On), speaker, happiness expert and columnist for iVillage.com. Contact: http://www.goddessofhappiness.com
Copyright, All Rights Reserved, Debbie Gisonni