How to be humble without putting yourself down

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Self-doubt can be crippling, but it doesn’t have to be part of our daily lives. Founder of F*ck Being Humble, Stefanie Sword-Williams, shares her advice on how to get rid of negative thoughts and self-doubt for good.

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How do you respond when someone gives you a compliment? Do you accept it, or does it make you feel toe-curlingly uncomfortable? Self-deprecation is something many women do without realising and, if done enough, it can lead to self-loathing and negative thoughts.

These thoughts can haunt us in our personal lives and in the workplace. Research from KPMG found 75% of executive women had personally experienced imposter syndrome during their career. Meanwhile, a Hewlett Packard report found men applied for a job or promotion when they met 60% of the qualifications, whereas women only applied if they met 100% of them.

Whether you’re struggling with your self-image at work or socially, dealing with negative thoughts and learning to stop putting yourself down isn’t something that happens overnight. But, it’s something you can start working towards right now.

Stefanie Sword-Williams has been helping others with self-confidence since she founded the platform F*ck Being Humble in 2018.

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Stefanie Sword-Williams: “Self-promotion is not a dirty word”

“F*ck Being Humble is a movement to help people be unapologetically proud of their achievements,” says Stefanie. “I believe a big part of our individual success is down to the storytelling that accompanies our hard work. I don’t think self-promotion is optional – I think it’s essential.”

Stefanie’s platform focuses on careers, but her message applies to all areas of life. “For women, in particular, I want to take the pressure off fitting into society’s standard of what success looks like,” she says.

Stefanie provides resources and tips to help stop feelings of self-doubt. Here, she shares some of the most useful advice she’s learnt along the way, as well as exercises to help you deal with negative thoughts and self-deprecation.

I don’t think self-promotion is optional – I think it’s essential

Unlearn what you know about self-promotion

“In the UK, it’s more encouraged to be self-deprecating than it is to celebrate yourself,” Stefanie says, explaining that putting yourself down is something that’s ingrained in UK society. It’s crucial to recognise how the culture we live in might have affected you in order to move past it.

“We don’t have lots of role models advocating for building a positive self-brand or self-advocacy,” says Stefanie. “A lot of people assume self-promotion is standing on a table with a megaphone screaming, ‘I am amazing,’ and it’s absolutely not that.”

“If we’ve always looked at self-promotion or self-advocacy as being arrogant or self-indulgent, we’ll feel those negative emotions when we do it,” Stefanie says. “But if we can reframe it in our minds to see it as a benefit, we can change our outlook on it.”

Understand how your inner thoughts affect your approach to life

“The words you say become the house you live in,” Stefanie says, explaining that talking and thinking about yourself negatively can seriously affect the way you perceive yourself and present yourself to the world.

This impacts the way other people view you, says Stefanie: “If people don’t already have an opinion on you and you only ever say negative things about yourself, that’s the story you’re telling them and they’re going to take that on.”

Not every woman wants to be a CEO, or an entrepreneur, or a ‘girl boss’

Recognise what your goals are and don’t chase other people’s dreams

Comparison culture – the urge to analyse the minute details of the people around us – looms over our lives, particularly on social media. But, if it gets to a point where you compare yourself to others so much, you can’t differentiate between what you actually want and the things people are achieving around you, it’s time to re-think.

“Not every woman wants to be a CEO or an entrepreneur or a ‘girl boss’,” Stefanie says. Try and understand what your goals are and what they would be if no one else knew you were achieving them. Then you can focus on what you really want from life.

Stefanie advises against making goals based on where you think you should be, like wanting to buy a house by the age of 30. “Don’t do things because you feel like you need to by a certain age. Do them because it feels like it’s the right time in life for you,” she says. “Give yourself permission not to have it all figured out.”

Use social media as inspiration

When it comes to building a more positive relationship with social media, unfollowing and muting people who you compare yourself to in a negative way is a good place to start. But, it’s also important to reframe the way you view other people’s success.

“Rather than negatively compare, strategically compare,” is Stefanie’s advice. Instead of saying to yourself, “I can’t believe they got that – I’d never get to do that,” reframe it as: “That’s amazing. How have they got that?”

“Be inquisitive about someone’s success, rather than putting it down to make yourself feel better in the moment,” says Stephanie. “There’s no long-term gain in bitching about someone else’s success.”

How to be humble without putting yourself down

Humble people can receive a bad rap. Humility is frequently associated with being too passive, submissive or insecure, but this couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Instead, humble people are quite the opposite—confident and competent in themselves so much that, as a result, they seek to self-actualize by helping theirs. Humble people are still self-efficacious; they just don’t feel the impetus to boast about themselves but instead, let their actions speak for their ideals. To be humble is not to think less of oneself, but to think of oneself less.

To help identify what humble looks like (and how you can adopt greater humility for yourself. After all, who doesn’t need greater humility?), here are 13 habits of humble people:

They’re Situationally Aware

Situational awareness is a function of emotional intelligence as it is being aware of oneself, the group, the actions of each and the social dynamics therein. As such, situationally aware people aim their focus outward as they try to absorb (i.e. learn) more about the situation

They Retain Relationships

Studies have shown that humble people are more likely to help friends than their prideful counterparts. As a result, they maintain stronger personal and professional relationships. A study of more than 1,000 people—with roughly 200 in leadership positions—revealed that companies with humble people in leadership positions had a more engaged workforce and less employee turnover.

They Make Difficult Decisions With Ease

Since humble people put others’ needs before their own, when faced with difficult decisions they respect the moral and ethical boundaries that govern the decision and base their decision-making criteria off a sense of shared purpose rather than self-interest.

They Put Others First

Humble people know their self-worth. As a result, they don’t feel the need to cast themselves before others just to show them how much they know. Instead, humble people realize that nobody cares how much they know until those people know how much they’re cared for.

Humility is the true key to success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts this arrogance and self-indulging trap. Humble people share the credit and wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success.

They Listen

There’s nothing more annoying that being in a conversation with somebody who you can just tell is dying to get his or her words in. When you see their mental gears spinning, it’s a sign they’re not listening but rather waiting to speak. Why? Because they believe that what they have to say is more valuable than listening to you. In other words, they’re placing their self-interest first.

Humble people, however, actively listen to others before summarizing the conversation. Moreover, humble people don’t try to dominate a conversation or talk over people. They’re eager to understand others because they’re curious. Speaking of which…

Gallery: 10 Steps You Can Take To Become A Successful Young Leader At Work

They’re Curious

Humble people seek knowledge because they are perpetual learners and realize that they don’t have all the answers. They glean knowledge from the experiences of others and crave more opportunities to learn.

They Speak Their Minds

While active listening is certainly important, humble people aren’t afraid to speak their minds because being wrong is not a fear they have. They know that to bridge the gap between unwillingness and willingness there must be action; they summon the courage to face difficulty as they graciously accept to sacrifice themselves.

They Take Time To Say “Thank You”

At a business dinner, for example, no matter whether you’re engaged in a heated conversation with others or not, humble people take the time to express thanks to the service for tending to the little things.

They Have An Abundance Mentality

Humble people don’t believe that one person’s “win” necessarily mean another person’s “loss.” Instead, they know there’s plenty of opportunity to go around and that finding it just necessitates collaboration and communication.

They Start Sentences With “You” Rather Than “I”

Humble people put others at the forefront of their thoughts. Humble people brag about others, while the prideful people brag about themselves.

They Accept Feedback

Humble people are not only receptive to constructive criticism but actively seek it because they know that feedback is a pathway to improvement.

They Assume Responsibility

Rather than eschewing blame on “the system” or the behaviors of others, humble people assume responsibility by speaking up and owning their part.

They Ask For Help

Part of being humble means realizing that you don’t have all the answers. No one does. Humble people acknowledge what they do and do not know and enlist help for the latter.

Humility displays a willingness to learn and become better–two things that everybody should cultivate. How is humility viewed in your organization?

By Janet Chismar July 14, 2009

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  • 12 Ways to Humble Yourself

Routinely confess your sin to God (Luke 18:9-14). All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. However, too few of us have a routine practice of rigorous self-honesty examination. Weekly, even daily, review of our hearts and behaviors, coupled with confession to God, is an essential practice of humility.

Acknowledge your sin to others (James 3:2, James 5:16). Humility before God is not complete unless there is also humility before man. A true test of our willingness to humble ourselves is willingness to share with others the weaknesses we confess to God. Wisdom, however, dictates that we do so with others that we trust.

Take wrong patiently (1 Peter 3:8-17). When something is unjust we want to react and rectify it. However, patiently responding to the unjust accusations and actions of others demonstrates our strength of godly character and provides an opportunity to put on humility.

Actively submit to authority…the good and the bad (1 Peter 2:18). Our culture does not value submission; rather it promotes individualism. How purposely and actively do you work on submission to those whom God has placed as authorities in your life? Doing so is a good way to humble yourself.

Receive correction and feedback from others graciously (Proverbs 10:17, 12:1). In the Phoenix area, a local East valley pastor was noted for graciously receiving any negative feedback or correction offered. He would simply say “thank you for caring enough to share that with me, I will pray about it and get back to you.” Look for the kernel of truth in what people offer you, even if it comes from a dubious source. Always pray, “Lord, what are you trying to show me through this?”

Accept a lowly place (Proverbs 25:6,7). If you find yourself wanting to sit at the head table, wanting others to recognize your contribution or become offended when others are honored or chosen, then pride is present. Purpose to support others being recognized, rather than you. Accept and look for the lowly place; it is the place of humility.

Purposely associate with people of lower state than you (Luke 7:36-39). Jesus was derided by the Pharisees for socializing with the poor and those of lowly state. Our culture is very status conscious and people naturally want to socialize upward. Resist the temptation of being partial to those with status or wealth.

Choose to serve others (Philippians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 4:5, Matthew 23:11). When we serve others, we are serving God’s purposes in their lives. Doing so reduces our focus on ourselves and builds the Kingdom of God. When serving another costs us nothing, we should question whether it is really servanthood

Be quick to forgive (Matthew 18: 21-35). Forgiveness is possibly one of the greatest acts of humility we can do. To forgive is to acknowledge a wrong that has been done us and also to further release our right of repayment for the wrong. Forgiveness is denial of self. Forgiveness is not insisting on our way and our justice.

Cultivate a grateful heart (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The more we develop an attitude of gratitude for the gift of salvation and life He has given us, the more true our perspective of self. A grateful heart is a humble heart.

Purpose to speak well of others (Ephesians 4:31-32). Saying negative things about others puts them “one down” and us “one up.” Speaking well of others edifies them and builds them up. Make sure, however, that what you say is not intended as flattery.

Treat pride as a condition that always necessitates embracing the cross (Luke 9:23). It is our nature to be proud and it is God’s nature in us that brings humility. Committing to a lifestyle of daily dying to ourselves and living through Him is the foundation for true humility.

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The world does not value or understand the power of humility but we do, because it was what Jesus used to save us.

How to be humble without putting yourself down

Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II on May 2, 1992. (photo: L’Osservatore Romano photo)

Good self-esteem is confidence in one’s worth or abilities. Think about Mother Teresa. That little nun had good self-esteem. She even dared to speak against abortion at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1993 before her invited hosts President Bill Clinton, and Vice President Al Gore, and their spouses. That’s guts. That’s self-confidence. And that’s humility.

All the saints understood that humility is the way to nail down a good self-esteem by depending on God rather than oneself. It’s the understanding that everything comes from God and that God is everything.

Mother Teresa called humility the mother of all virtues. She said: “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.”

3 Myths About Humility

Humility, however, is often misunderstood. Some think it is synonymous with self-deprecation. In a recent Sunday homily, Fr. Jared Johnson, associate pastor of Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck identified three myths about humility.

Myth #1. The humble souls lacks confidence. “The most humble people out there are some of the most confident and sometimes some of the most prideful people are the most insecure,” he said. “ Humble souls know their life is dependent on God and know what to value—things lasting not passing. They values the Lord over anything else

Myth #2. Humility is not attractive. “True humility is attractive,” he explained. “It is the humble person who listens and cares about others as opposed to the one focused on their self and trying to look good.”

Myth #3. Humble people want to be recognized as humble. Father Johnson explained that wanting to look humble is false humility. In reality, he said they simply want to do something because it is right and they are not looking for praise.

“Our greatest block to growing closer to God is when we rely more on us than on him,” Father Johnson said. By putting on the virtue of humility, he explained that we grow more confident and allow ourselves to grow closer to God. “When we look at a crucifix, we see a man who is humble and who is not about himself. We see a man who is for others. May we imitate that humility so that we can experience God in his fullness.”

Ways to Become Humble

Mother Teresa’s example proves all three of Fr. Johnson’s points. While she was head of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa kept a list of ways to cultivate humility for the sisters in her care.

  1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
  2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
  3. Avoid curiosity (she is referring to wanting to know things that should not concern you.)
  4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
  5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
  6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
  7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
  8. Give in to the will of others.
  9. Accept insults and injuries.
  10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
  11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
  12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
  13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
  14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
  15. Choose always the more difficult task.

The Power of Humility

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” —Saint Augustine

The devil preferred to leave Heaven for eternity in Hell rather than to humble himself before his creator. And humility would have protected Adam and Eve from thinking they could disobey God and become like him.

Yet through our humility and thus obedience to God, the devil is defeated. St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, who was often harassed by the devil, related a conversation with him. The devil said: “I can do everything you do, I can also do your penances, I can imitate you in everything. There is one thing, however, that I cannot do, I cannot imitate you in humility.”

“That is why I defeat you,” St. John Vianney responded.

Humility seems to be a contradiction, and yet, Jesus was meek and humble of heart (Matthew 11:29). “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7)

The world does not value or understand the power of humility but we do, because it was what Jesus used to save us. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

This article originally appeared Nov. 21, 2016, at the Register.

How to be humble without putting yourself down

“Before I took over managing the team, no one knew what they were doing. If it weren’t for me, they’d probably be out of business.” Cringe-worthy comments like that are usually met with an eye roll.

No one likes a braggart. People prefer humility.

So how do you talk about your success without sounding like a blowhard? Becoming too modest minimizes your achievements. That can be a problem when you’re looking for a promotion or applying for a new job.

But shying away from talking about your success isn’t just a professional problem. It can affect your personal life too.

If you don’t share your accomplishments with your friends and family, they won’t be able to celebrate alongside you. But, how do you share the news that you got a prestigious award or an impressive accomplishment without sounding like you’re bragging?

Here are seven tips for owning your success without sounding like a narcissist:

1. Stick to the facts.

Positive labels and sweeping generalizations equate to tooting your own horn. You’ll sound more authentic when you stick to self-disclosure, as opposed to self-praise. So rather than saying, “I’m an excellent manager,” say, “Since I took over, retention rates have improved.”

Let your listeners interpret the fact. If they conclude you’re an excellent manager or rock star leader on their own, you’ll still come across as humble.

2. Give credit where it’s due.

There’s a reason academy award acceptance speeches tend to give credit to other people–thanking others helps you sound modest. So whether you’ve gotten a promotion or you got elected to office, acknowledge the colleagues, friends, or family members who assisted you along the way.

Say, “I couldn’t have done this without my team’s efforts,” or, “I couldn’t have done this without such a supportive wife.” People enjoy hearing success stories that involve a team effort.

3. Keep the emphasis on your effort.

Don’t make it sound like your accomplishments were easy. Otherwise, you’ll sound arrogant. When you’ve accomplished something big, emphasize your hard work.

Say, “I worked hard to make this happen. It took a long time to get here but it’s worth it.” Listeners will appreciate your victories when they recognize the effort you put in to get there.

4. Express gratitude.

Acting like you deserve your good fortune makes you sound entitled. And that won’t be endearing to anyone.

Show gratitude for your success by saying, “I’m thankful the organization gave me this opportunity,” or, “I’m grateful the investors were willing to take support my ideas.” Expressing your appreciation will show you are down to earth.

5. Don’t belittle anyone else.

Disparaging remarks like, “No one else made even half as many sales as I did,” won’t elevate your status. Instead, put-downs will just make you sound mean.

Leave out comparisons whenever possible. If you crossed the finish line first, it’s OK to acknowledge that. But avoid adding that the second place runner finished 10 minutes behind you.

6. Avoid the qualifier.

Saying, “I hate to brag, but. ” won’t excuse showing off. In fact, it will only draw attention to the fact that you’re saying something that may be a turn-off and you’re saying it anyway.

Instead of a semi-apologetic warning, emphasize your positive emotions. Say, “I’m excited to share. ” or, “I’m happy to announce some good news. ” before you tout your accomplishment.

7. Skip the humble brag.

Disparaging remarks won’t offset your air of self-importance. Saying, “No one told me driving a Lamborghini would mean I’d get pulled over at least once a week,” won’t earn you any brownie points. In fact, studies by Harvard Business School show humble-bragging will make you sound insincere.

If you want to make a good impression, don’t try to disguise self-promotion as a complaint. People will see right through it. It’s better to directly communicate your accomplishments.

Get Comfortable With Your Success

Before sharing your success stories, consider why you want to tout your accomplishments. If you’re seeking a promotion or you simply want others to celebrate along with you, touting your accomplishments can be a good thing.

If however, you’re hoping to gain admiration so you can feel better about yourself, or your goal is to make others look inferior, don’t share. Instead, you may need to do a little work on improving your self-worth and increasing your mental strength.

When you’re comfortable with who you are and what you’ve achieved, you’ll feel worthy of your success. And you’ll feel less awkward talking about your accomplishments.

Whether you can or you cannot do something usually depends upon your chosen patterns of thought. If you put yourself down you will find that your own thoughts are what get in the way of your happiness and success.

When you put yourself down you set in motion a cycle of negative effect. From an individual perspective you will find it more difficult to achieve many things but there is also a detrimental impact upon those who surround you. Other people will frequently, unconsciously or consciously, privately or overtly, put you down too.

There will of course be friends and family members who love you and fight your corner and stand up for you. They will constantly tell you not to put yourself down. They will tell you how intelligent you are, how beautiful you are and how proud they are of you.

But if you don’t believe them their support and encouragement has little impact upon your psyche. And your constant denial of your own abilities inevitably unconsciously rubs off upon even your most loving supporters.

Life is not as enjoyable, happy or easy when you put yourself down. Everything becomes a struggle and an effort. You avoid many things as well. Whenever a person starts a thought with “I can’t do this” or “I’m no good at that” they effectively place a huge barrier between them and that which they might wish to do, be or achieve.

My father used to say, “there’s no such word as can’t”. He did not allow us to use that word, or at the very least he poked fun at us when we did attempt to utilize it. This I think is a helpful way to remind yourself not to put yourself down. Whenever you catch yourself thinking or saying anything that begins with “I can’t” you could remind yourself that there is no such word in the English vocabulary.

In this way you force yourself to change the thought for something better. “I don’t want to” or “I don’t think I can do” are more malleable phrases and allow you to at least begin to think in a more positive way. “I can’t” is final. “I don’t think I can” leaves you room to change your mind and find a way to feel that you can do whatever it is.

Once you begin to think about ways in which you can change there are many things that might assist. Instead of putting yourself down, you can discover new ways through which you can build yourself up. You soon discover that in most areas of life, if you think that you can do something you will be able to, whereas if you think you can’t you won’t be able to. How you think about yourself dictates the outcome that you experience.

Confidence in yourself is so very important. It is pivotal to success or failure, happiness or unhappiness, feeling constrained or feeling free to fully experience what life has to offer. There are many methods that you can employ so as to help build confidence and hypnosis is one of these.

Hypnosis is very powerful because it allows you to access the inner workings of your mind and adjust the deep-rooted beliefs and expectations that are stored therein. Hypnosis is natural and easy to use and all too frequently misunderstood and therefore overlooked.

Roseanna Leaton, specialist in hypnosis confidence mp3 downloads.

“These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.

To mind one’s own business.

Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one’s dignity.

To choose always the hardest.”
― Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

How to be humble without putting yourself down

In a society where fortune favors the strong, modesty is often seen as a weakness. Climbing to the top of a corporate ladder is our modern version of “survival of the fittest” — and for that reason, meekness is often under-appreciated. But turns out, the secret to success and fulfillment may very well lie in the ability to express humility.

The emphasis on humility in philosophy and religious texts shows that it’s a trait and principle that deserves to be revered. As Confucius once defined it, humility is “the solid foundation of all virtues” — and possibly the key to achievement. While humble people are often seen in today’s corporate culture as unassertive, passive types, there’s something truly powerful about them that we can all stand to emulate. Studies have associated humility with healthy adjustment, good leadership and other positive emotions — demonstrating that in order to reach total success, we could stand to benefit from getting in touch with our modest side. And this doesn’t require as much self-deprecation as one might think, says Mike Austin, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University.

“Many people think of humility as . thinking very little of yourself, and I don’t think that’s right,” Austin tells The Huffington Post. “It’s more about a proper or accurate assessment. A big part of humility is knowing our own limits, our strengths and weaknesses, morally or otherwise.”

But beyond just knowing ourselves, humility can also build upon other positive traits we already have, Austin says. “In general, most traditions, religious or philosophical, believe that certain character traits make up a good person — and a lot of those attributes are enhanced by humility,” he notes.

So how do we add a little more humility to our lives? Below, find seven traits humble people have mastered that allow them to live accomplished, fulfilled and happy lives.

They focus their energy on others.
How to be humble without putting yourself down

People who practice humility tend to reflect inward, but when it comes to where they focus their energy, it’s all about other people. Austin says that while humble people put others before themselves, they do it in a mindful manner that doesn’t end up hurting themselves in the long run. “Some people think of humility as thinking little of yourself, but I would say it’s someone who just doesn’t think about themselves that much,” he explains. “Their focus is just outward. They have a real interest in others and their contributions to the world.”

Because there’s this lack of self-absorption, humble people also have more courage to try new things. With a focus on others, there is less pressure to be perfect. “That really frees them up to take risks,” Austin says. “They’re not paralyzed with a fear of failure because that’s not their chief concern.”

They’re conscientious.
In addition to being concerned for others, people who exude humility also act on their compassion. According to a 2012 study, humble people are more likely than prideful people to help out a friend. Additionally, research also shows that humble people show a more charitable and generous nature toward other people. Not a bad kind of person to have in your corner — and certainly not a bad habit to adopt yourself. Science shows, after all, that altruism can benefit health and significantly contribute to happiness.

Their moral compass guides their decision-making.
How to be humble without putting yourself down

We’ve all been there: Stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to making a choice. But when humble people struggle with what the best option is, they look to their instincts. “Humble people have a habit of thinking about their values when they make choices,” Austin says. “It involves certain respect for important moral values — like compassion.” Humility by its partial definition is to accept things with grace — and part of doing that, he explains, is knowing that you made a decision you will stand by, no matter the outcome.

They see happiness as a journey.
Studies have shown that we tend to achieve happiness more when we’re not actually pursuing it. Humble people — who already place their focus outward — tend to naturally take this approach. As a result, the virtue allows them to feel fulfilled on a regular basis, Austin says.

“Human nature is such that we want to be happy, however we tend to define that, but . people that are the happiest are the ones that don’t think so much about trying to be happy,” he explains. “That works for humble people. They get caught up in projects, people and things that they consider bigger and more important than themselves and then they get more happiness anyway as a byproduct.”

They excel as leaders.
While humility is more of a softer strength, that doesn’t mean it can’t make an impact in the boardroom. “It sort of defies the stereotype of the arrogant, self-centered CEO. . You don’t really think of humility as a key trait for success in leadership, but it is,” Austin says.

Humble people have the ability to shine in professional settings because they give credit where it is due and are open to collaboration. And while the workplace tends to recognize self-promoters over their more modest counterparts, humility actually makes people better employees and bosses, TIME reports.

They know good things lie ahead — and they’re OK waiting for them.
How to be humble without putting yourself down

When you live on the side of modesty, you’re genuinely thankful for the opportunities and accolades you receive — and not only is that a refreshing outlook to have, but it helps you cope with the periods of wait time in-between. With humility, Austin says, you’re more capable of waiting for the peaks of your life to come — and you’re grateful when they do. “We’re impatient with people and our circumstances because we want what we want, right now,” Austin says. “But because humility focuses so outwardly, it tends to foster patience.”

They have strong relationships.
While humility may sometimes be viewed as a subservient characteristic, when it comes down to it, most people don’t want a narcissistic friend or partner — and that ability to posses modesty and genuine graciousness for others can significantly strengthen social bonds.

According to the American Psychological Association, humility creates a sense of “we-ness” in relationships. Being humble means possessing a better capacity to form cooperative alliances — a crucial component in strengthening connections. “Of any communal endeavor, whether it’s a business, a family or an athletic team, humility can make those relationships better,” Austin says. “When there’s that kind of harmony, that’s when the better angles of our nature come out.”

Despite what we see in movies, getting asked out on a date isn’t always a magical, flattering experience. In fact, chances are good that you aren’t actually interested in the person and have no interest in seeing them socially or romantically. Having said that, turning someone down is never easy either—especially if you’re caught off-guard.

When that happens, it can cause you to be awkward, say something stupid, or even hurt someone unintentionally. These tips won’t help much after the fact, but it’s good advice to keep in mind so you’re prepared to handle things flawlessly next time.

H ere are a few tips for letting people down easily when you’re not feeling a love connection.

How to Keep Your Dignity When You Get Shot Down for a Date

When you finally muster the courage to ask a friend out on a date and they say no, it can hurt in…

Be honest, swift, and direct

It’s awkward turning someone down—especially if they make some wildly romantic gesture —but honesty is the best policy when you want to keep people from getting too hurt. First, you need to be honest with yourself. Everybody deserves a chance, but sometimes you just know it’s not going to work, so i f you don’t feel any kind of connection, it’s best not to drag things on because you want to be nice. Don’t agree to a date out of pity—i t can be a waste of both your time, and the other person could get more hurt in the process.

Why You Make Bad Decisions When You’re Attracted to Someone

Dating new people is fun and exciting. It’s also likely to cause even the most rational,…

Don’t make up lies, but be graciously honest. If you already have a boyfriend or girlfriend, let the person know. If you don’t have a sweetheart, but you are still not interested, tell him or her the truth. It’s okay to simply say, “No, thank you.” If it’s true, you can tell him or her that you are just not interested in dating anyone right now.

You don’t owe them an explanation, but if you actually have a good reason there’s no harm in mentioning it. When it comes to turning someone down, being active is always better than being passive. Address it as soon as you have the chance; d on’t stall, avoid confrontation, or just assume that they will eventually “take the hint.” Give a definitive “ no” so both of you can move on with your lives.

Treat them how you’d want to be treated

A direct “no” can sound pretty harsh if it isn’t handled tactfully, so always try to apply the golden rule to these situations. There’s no reason to be offended or act like you’re disgusted (unless they’re intentionally being offensive or disgusting). It’s flattering to get asked out, so be polite and try to at least show some appreciation for the thought . Remember, it takes a lot of courage to approach someone, especially in person.

How Being Humble, Kind, and Calm Will Make Your Life Easier

You’ve heard it all your life: Being humble, kind, and calm is the “right thing to do.” But if that

Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony, suggests you show them the same respect you would want if the tables were turned. Always keep your tone in mind, stay calm and be gentle, while you also make sure you still sound assured.

Lastly, keep the situation to yourself. If you’re in a group situation or share the same friends, don’t tell everyone what happened. If you’ve turned someone down, they already feel rejected and don’t need to add embarrassment to the list.

Use “I” statements to keep it about you

If you choose to explain to someone why you’re not interested in them, try and keep the reasoning about you, not the other person. Listing reasons of why they don’t “measure up” can come off as rude, condescending, and also damage their confidence to approach people in the future. Susan RoAne, communication expert and author of What Do I Say Next?, recommends you use “I” statements instead. Here are some examples:

  • I don’t see you that way, I’m sorry.
  • I’ve really enjoyed talking with you, but I don’t feel a connection between us.
  • I’m trying to do my own thing right now so I’m not looking to date anyone.
  • I think you’re great, but I’m looking for something else right now.

You’re not bringing them down or putting yourself above them, you’re just explaining your perspective. Think of it as a pre-emptive “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. Only this way, nobody is getting nearly as hurt.

Make things clear and final

When you turn someone down, do it nicely, but make sure they know it’s final. Don’t keep people on the hook. You might think you’re being nice by saying “let’s be friends” or “why don’t we get to know each other first,” but it’s only going to blow up in your face down the line if you don’t mean it.

On her blog, author Marcella Purnama explains that there’s no need to be overly sympathetic or friendly after the fact:

After being rejected, the door is sometimes not yet fully closed and prone to be opened by the slightest friendly action.. . Don’t let him think that there’s still hope when there’s not.

There’s no need to call, text, or even be Facebook friends if that’s not something you want. As dating expert Christie Hartman, Ph.D. explains , only say “let’s be friends” if you actually want that and have a very strong reason to believe it will work. Otherwise, this can be confusing to them; they might think your initial “no” just means “not right now.” If you’re not into them, be respectful and let them know it’s never going to happen.

Ask an Expert: All About Online Dating Etiquette

Say hi to Adam Huie, CEO of the free dating app Let’s Date. Described as “the Instagram of dating,”