We’re all vulnerable at the level of our assumptions.
For example, I have wrongly assumed that:
- my anger justified my saying hurtful things
- holding a grudge made the other person miserable
- my feeling threatened gave me the right to disrespect another person
- my good intentions meant that she would like the gift
- all of my problems were out there somewhere to be identified and solved
- changing my job would resolve my stress
- doing more, to the point of exhaustion, would bring success
- I was too busy to help or listen…so someone else would have to do it
- my perspective didn’t matter
- my perspective mattered most
- I knew what I was talking about
I’m struck by my lack of humility.
In his book, Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker Palmer defines humility as understanding that the truth we hold is always partial and may not even be true at all.
While I’ll never be able to strip away my assumptions, I can humbly remember to name them, own them, and face them. And then, I can move forward, confidently vulnerable, as I step into the discomfort, risk, and uncertainty of doing the right thing.
Elegance is achieved when all that is superfluous has been discarded and the human being discovers simplicity and concentration: the simpler and more sober the posture, the more beautiful it will be. Paulo Coelho
Here is more of Parker Palmer’s Habits of the Heart (read now).