How humility boosts our self-esteem…
We often feel under-recognized by the world. We frequently think that we have far more talents and much greater potential than what others credit us.
Does such self-perception symptomize unhealthy pride or healthy self-esteem?
It may be either, but more important, Gita wisdom informs us, is that our self-perception be based on true knowledge.
The Bhagavad-gita (13.08) indicates that true knowledge begins with pridelessness, which essentially implies freedom from the unrealizable expectation that the world devote itself to praising us.
Gita wisdom explains that all of us are souls, parts of Krishna. We get real spiritual happiness by loving and serving him. A central part of such love and service is glorification. When we glorify Krishna, we relish a far greater and richer fulfillment than what we experience when others glorify us. Why is that? Because hearing our own glories titillates our ego, whereas speaking Krishna’s glories satisfies our heart. As the ego is superfluous to our true identity, so is the pleasure that comes from its titillation.
Internalization of this truth is liberating for our self-esteem. We no longer feel dependent for our self-identity on the world’s validation and glorification. Irrespective of whether others value us or not, we stay rooted in a mission that is intrinsically valuable: glorifying Krishna. As our self-esteem thus becomes freed from the insecurities induced by external dependencies, we utilize our talents more effectively and actualize our potentials more fully. This naturally leads to our getting more attention and appreciation. But because we no longer crave for it, we don’t become infatuated by it. Instead, we see it as Krishna’s indication that he is accepting our service. So, that appreciation instead of bloating our ego breaks through the ego and animates our heart with the desire to glorify Krishna more.
Thus does humility boost our self-esteem.
“Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona ﬁde spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratiﬁcation; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth – all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.”