The Elderly And Humility

The Elderly And Humility

“We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility”

The Definition And Origin Of Humility

The act of being politely submissiveness, reverential and modest is defined as humility. It is the precise opposite of being arrogant, proud, vain and aggressive. It appears as though a humble person is empty of power, yet on a deeper level he/ she has unlimited power. Funny thing, humility is Mahaney, the author of ‘True Greatness,’ writes in his book about an elder in a small country church who was voted the most humble person and given a pin to wear as a reward. When he wore the pin to church the next Sunday, he was asked to return the pin!

The word humility has its origin in the Latin word humilis, meaning ‘low.’ The urban dictionary describes humility as ‘remaining teachable, knowing that you do not have all the answers.’ It is the quality of recognizing one’s shortcomings, being courteously respectful of others and going out of one’s way to meet the needs and demands of others. It allows one to say. ‘you first’ rather than ‘me first.’

Elderhood Religion And Humility

As one reaches elderhood, one turns more and more towards the all- pervading presence of the creator.

Hence, humility and religion have a very strong link. Qualities such as courtesy, patience and deference have a prominent place in religious literature. The humility of Jesus Christ is taught the world over. It has been researched that religion and humility lead to faster healing and shorter hospital stays!

Humility And Acceptance

Why is it that humility is commonly associated with elders? Many of us observe the agony of elders, even while they are in pain or distressed, they speak with gratitude about their health. Even if they are suffering with pain in some part of their body, they are thankful that the other parts of the body remain pain-free.

As they age, the elders lose their physical capacity and mental acuteness, which we realise. This brings to mind an 87-year-old wise elder, whose acceptance of loss of strength and vitality as her body aged, decided that surrendering and accepting with humility and not fighting it, was the answer. She decided facing the changes with courage and healthy habits, knowing her limitations and helplessness was important.

Ageing And Humility

We have no control over ageing or the circumstances in our life, except to follow good habits and positive thinking; the enormity of this thought itself is humbling. Just when we think we have reached maturity, we realize our maturity is challenged and we need to look for assistance from those around us. Being used to positions in our sphere of work which allowed us respect and dignity, we realize that age knows no barriers and simply takes over.

Elders encounter many humbling experiences. This is where the ageing process allows elders to understand how growing older, creates the necessity for humility. Just as being caught in a storm humbles us to the fury and power of nature, so also the rampage of age and discovering what you can do to increase the odds for survival is a wise and humbling experience.

Respect For Life

Having gone through this cycle, we find elders are more tolerant, loving and giving and this is what attracts youngsters to them – it’s what grand parenting is all about. Their gratitude to the young ones for the joy they bring to their lives help elders overcome pain, self-pity and insecurity. Elders could complain endlessly about the unfairness of ageing, but instead they respect life and display a sense of peace and quiet strength, born out of respect for kith, kin and caregivers.

The importance of uncomplaining elders in society cannot be emphasized enough. Humble elders are just amazing, as distinct from stoic and proud elders. Elders’ acceptance of life and their humble surrender to the inevitable, makes people want to give more of themselves. It opens up and taps into an impulse that wants to give and to take care.

How The Elderly Teach Humility

The elderly in their humility understand individual limitations. They realize that we can interpret only a limited portion of this huge world, but the coming together of different individuals is the grand universe. Humble elders accept that their understanding comes with limitations and embrace It wholeheartedly, they constantly seek answers.

They teach us to appreciate others and help us realize that the world isn’t solely about us and that we are a mere part of the big picture. Elders are inherently tuned to listening more and speaking less. They teach us to respect varied opinions and approach to solutions. Elders teach us humility by helping others, encouraging and promoting them, They know that sheer joy is experienced with giving and not through winning or losing anything.

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