Humility | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what humility is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Humility?

Humility means accurately evaluating your accomplishments. It’s easy to describe what humility is not — it is not bragging, not doing things in excess, not seeking the spotlight, not drawing attention to yourself, not viewing yourself as more special or important than others. On the other hand, it is not bowing to every wish or demand of another person and it is not being highly self-critical. Truly humble people think well of themselves and have a good sense of who they are, but they also are aware of their mistakes, gaps in their knowledge, and imperfections. Most importantly, they are content without being a center of attention or getting praised for their accomplishments.

A common misconception is that humility involves having a low self-esteem, a sense of unworthiness, and/or a lack of self-focus. However, true humility involves an accurate self-assessment, recognition of limitations, keeping accomplishments in perspective, and forgetting of the self. Humble people do not distort information to defend or verify their own image, and they do not need to see-or present- themselves as being better than they actually are.

Which virtue is this strength?
Humility is a strength within the virtue category of temperance, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Temperance describes strengths that help you manage habits and protect against excess. The other strengths in Temperance are forgiveness , humility , prudence , and self-regulation .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of humility found humility is linked with good self-esteem and a positive self-view. Humble people are likely to demonstrate higher levels of gratitude, forgiveness, spirituality, and general health. Humility is also related to having less anxiety about death and to religious tolerance.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used humility in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • Where does your humility come from and how do you express it?
  • How does humility limit your life or get in your way?
  • How do you balance humility with a need for recognition and appreciation?
Examples of this Strength in Action

Wondering about times that you may be using this strength? Here are a few examples of humility at work in the world.

  • Express humility by listening attentively to your co-workers’ ideas, and compliment them when you feel they have good input without trying to add your ideas as well.
  • Notice if you speak more than others in a group or team situation, and focus on the other people in the group.
  • Prime yourself to be humble before interacting in one of your close relationships. This means spending a few minutes thinking about humility and how you could act modestly with the person in an upcoming situation.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of humility in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • Resist showing off accomplishments for a week and notice the changes in your interpersonal relationships.
  • Notice if you speak more than others in a group situation.
  • Admit your mistakes and apologize even to those who are younger than you.