Humility means to focus on how we can serve, not on what we deserve

In life, we frequently feel that we don’t get what we deserve. For example, we may work tirelessly on a project, yet our team may not adequately appreciate our contribution. Similarly, in many other life-areas, we may feel undervalued and under-recognized.

Wanting some recognition and reciprocation is an understandable human longing. Yet just because a particular longing is understandable doesn’t mean that its fulfillment is probable – the world is often an uncaring place. And if we long for recognition from people who don’t seem to care about us, we make ourselves dependent on things beyond our control, thereby disempowering ourselves. 

How, then, can we get the motivation to persevere in doing our part? By cultivating humility, which the Bhagavad-gita (13.08) states is the beginning of knowledge. Humility helps us remember our identity and purpose. Gita wisdom explains that we are souls and are meant to serve the Whole, Krishna (Bhagavad-gita 15.07). If we start working in a mood of service to him, that service gradually becomes our connection with him. Through that connection, we gain an inner stability that decreases our dependence on externals such as worldly appreciation. 

Moreover, when we connect with Krishna, he gives us inner guidance to better understand ourselves as well as others. Thereby, we can seek like-minded association, wherein we are more likely to be understood, valued and appreciated. Being thus strengthened, we can better work with unlike-minded people whenever we need to.  

If we focus on how we can serve the Whole and the various parts of the Whole, we start relishing the sublime joy of living with a positive service attitude. When our life becomes empowered with such inner fulfillment, we surprise ourselves with our perseverance and resilience. Thereby, we make significant contributions that stand tall on their own merit, irrespective of the world’s appreciation.  


Think it over:

  • How does focusing on what we deserve disempower us?
  • How does focusing on how we can serve empower us?
  • How does spiritual knowledge empower us to focus on how we can serve?



13.08 Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; … [ – all these I declare to be knowledge].

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