Conceited. Orgulloso. Creído. Ingreido. Stuck up. Or just plain rude. These were the adjectives we were to avoid at all costs. Regardless of how unjust they were in describing our actions or attitudes at any given moment, being described as any of the above always meant a gut wrenching look of disappointment on our parents’ faces. “Yo sé que no te importa… go ahead and break my heart,” I would always interpret my mother’s glances in dramatic phrases like this one.
So, of course, now de “grown up” I’m always paranoid that I’ll forget to stay humble. That somehow, someway, all of a sudden, all of these “nasty” adjectives would be applicable to explain the makeup of who I am. With such a high level of paranoia you kind of start learning tricks here and there that, as one of my good friends used to say, always reminds you donde estas parado (where you’re standing)! In other words, to help you keep your feet on solid ground.
Crazy or not, these are a few of the things I think help one to always stay humble:
# 1 Remind yourself it’s not about the final destination. As corny as it sounds, and as easy as it is to become overwhelmed and distracted with the here and now, the truth is it really is not about how great you are at being who you are or achieving what you achieve. What matters most when it’s all said and done is how many lives you touched and how.
Instead of focusing solely on what you can do to break through that glass ceiling, sometimes it’s a good idea just to look around and see who else is standing next to you trying to do the same thing. Se pueden sentar a echar carrilla, and at the same time you’ll probably find it’s easier to work together. There is unity in numbers.
# 2 Don’t lie, cheat or steal. Regardless of how easy it might be to get away with, or how much it will help to boost you up closer to your goals, resist, resist, resist! In the words of Shug Avery from The Color Purple “…it ain’t worf it Miss Sealy! Don’t do it! It ain’t worf it!” It really isn’t. De repente you feel guilty or when you least expect it things turn around and you’ll be saying to yourself “damn, I guess what goes around really comes around.” That’s never fun. Believe me.
Instead, do things the good old fashion way – con sudor, sangre y lagrimas. Alright… maybe not literally blood, sweat and tears, but there is a certain satisfaction knowing that what you have achieved was accomplished because of your own hard work and dedication.
# 3 Lower that nose mijito(a). Don’t look down at anybody. There is absolutely no valid reason why you should be looking at another and thinking how much better you are than them. Even if in some ways maybe you are! You could be a better cook, a better parent, a better artist, a better lover, etc., etc., etc. It does not matter. Nobody likes a cocky person.
Mejor, see if there’s something you can do to help that person you think you’re so much better than. Some of the biggest opportunities in my own life have come from highly talented and successful people who took the time to lend me a helping hand along the way. Not only is it a great way to strengthen relationships, it’s also a hugely wonderful reflection on who you are as a person.
# 4 Don’t forget the kids. Don’t make me start singing We are the world, LOL! So yeah, kids do say the darnedest things and at times they are the most brutally honest people you will find. They’re not sweating all the little stuff. As long as they are entertained, fed and comfortable, they’re usually happy. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Personally, I always enjoy getting back to the basics of what really makes me happy. My list isn’t too different at all from that of a child’s.
# 5 Take a little trip down memory lane. Finally, the most sure fire way to get a grasp on your own reality is to take a little trip down memory lane. Pull out those old family albums, pick up the phone and conversate with a friend or family member about the way it used to be. You’ll find before you know it you’ll be feeling a lot of humble inside.
For me, that’s one of the most important things about being true to yourself – knowing where you come from and where you’ve been and not being ashamed of it in the least bit. Every rock along the road is a building block to our future.