15 Humbleness Examples You See Throughout Life

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“Oh, did you also see how high-and-mighty that person is? They’re really amazing!” Said nobody ever, right? People don’t like it when someone acts all superior and snobby… but if you are living a life filled with humbleness examples, you are sure to be admired and people will naturally gravitate to you

Being real is what keeps me humble. It doesn't matter how much money I make or how much I accomplish. What's critical is staying real to myself and keeping my feet on the ground. That's what helps keep me going.” ~ Anuel AA 

Are you able to do “real?” Do you live a life of humbleness? It’s time to come down to earth, get over your ego, embrace your actual gifts, and practice your humility characteristics so you can lead a life of real meaning. 

What Is Humbleness? 

Humbleness is the noun form of the word humble (which is an adjective), and both humbleness and humble means being grounded and knowing who you truly are

In essence, a humble person is free from the ego of their false self and knows their true identity – that you are equal to all other living things (people, plants, animals, and other life forms) and they are equal to you.

In the Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship), Paramahansa Yogananda states that when you are truly humble, you transcend your ego and free your soul to identify with God (or the Universe).   

So, when you are humble, you don’t think or believe you are better than others. You are as valuable, worthy, and enough as everyone (and everything) else, and you don’t look for external validation to determine your worth. You realize that everyone makes mistakes and that everyone else’s needs are just as important as yours. 

Anand Mahindra said it best:

If you aren't humble, whatever empathy you claim is false and probably results from some arrogance or the desire to control. But true empathy is rooted in humility and the understanding that there are many people with as much to contribute in life as you.

While a humble person believes they are enough, they believe there’s room and opportunities to grow, to become an even better person, and to be more of who they are meant to be – their true authentic self.   

Many of us feel an inkling of what it is to be humble when we witness Mother Nature in all her glory.

You feel humbled when you see an amazing sunset (or sunrise), when you look up at the vast night sky, or when you stand on a cliff, gazing at the ocean. You know you are small in comparison to the universe, yet you play an essential role on earth. 

Benefits of Being Humble in Life 

Most people may associate being humble as a weakness, that you have a low or poor self-esteem and that you lack confidence

Yet, being humble is a strength as you accurately see yourself for who you are – the imperfectly perfect and perfectly imperfect you with strengths, weaknesses, mistakes, successes, and everything in between.

You are self-aware and accepting of yourself, even though you may downplay your achievements, deflect praise, and not boast.     

As such, there are various benefits to being humble in life, both in a personal and professional capacity. 

Here are the main benefits to being humble

  • You have a kinder approach with how you interact with others, helping you form stronger, more empathic and compassionate connections.
  • Since you are able to rationally identify where you need to improve, you increase your self-growth, self-awareness, and overall happiness. One study found that those who have humility have more positive emotions. 
  • Because you are consciously aware of your worth and what you bring to the table, you have a broader perspective of life and the world. 
  • You have a healthy self-esteem since you can see yourself accurately, knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are. 
  • You are genuinely happy when someone celebrates a win or success and don’t feel the need to be jealous or resentful.
  • You are more approachable, which makes you a better leader and team player.  
  • Your mental, emotional, and physical well-being is better because you are more grateful, resilient, and tolerant and can better self-regulate your emotions. 

Similarities and Differences Between Humbleness and Humility 

Most people use “humbleness” and “humility” interchangeably, and it’s easy to see why. “Humble” and “humility” have common root words: the Latin word humilis, meaning “low” or “lowly,” and humus, meaning “ground.” And “humbleness” and “humility” are also direct synonyms for each other. 

But when you dive deeper, you’ll learn that “humility” is a noun and various dictionaries, such as Dictionary.com, define it as a quality or state of having a low or modest view of your own importance. It’s a quality of being humble. 

While “humbleness” is also a noun, the more common word is “humble,” which is an adjective meaning modest, lowly, or low. A humble person doesn't have a pretentious opinion of themself; they lack pride and arrogance. A humble person is also courteous and respectful.

To make it simpler, “humble” or “humbleness” is the overarching or umbrella term while “humility” is a quality or characteristic we pursue in life. Humbleness is a state of being, and you have a humble spirit because you act with humility, respect, kindness, and modesty. 

It’s like humbleness is the teabag, and humility is the tea you make from that.  

Humbleness vs Conceited 

Both “humble” and “conceited” are adjectives, and they fall on opposite ends of a sliding scale. The word “conceited” and “humble” are direct antonyms, and here’s why. 

A humble person has a modest, unassuming view of themself, and such an individual lacks arrogance, self-centeredness, and pride.

They may be accurately aware of their abilities but may downplay them to not seem boastful and like they are bragging since they don’t believe they are better than others. 

On the contrary, someone who is conceited has a very high opinion about themself, and a conceited person is characterized by their pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness.

They believe they are superior to others, and it’s typical of them to overestimate their importance, abilities, and achievements. They like to boast; their attention-seeking and “look at me” attitudes love when others admire them.  

15 Humbleness Examples 

There are several ways in which you can practice being humble, and it starts with these humbleness examples:  

1. Other-Oriented

Humble people are very much other-centered or other-oriented. They feel comfortable in their own skin and they know exactly who they are, so they can focus on others and help them. Plus, they know that every living thing on this earth (and the universe) is equally important. 

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A humble person knows what you say is valuable, and that’s why they are attentive and listen.  

You may even go so far and call folks who are humble altruistic, and many of them are. They serve others because they want to and it’s the right thing to do

But don’t think humbleness is the same as being a doormat; humble individuals know their limits and can say no.

2. Situationally Aware

When a person is truly humble, they are situationally aware. They pay attention and are highly observant to what’s going on around them, which helps them understand, perceive, and effectively respond to a situation

It feels like they are highly intuitive (and maybe they are) because a humble person just seems to know what to say, how to act, or what to do to help diffuse a situation, where to help, and how to make someone feel better. 

3. Appreciate Others 

Humble folks will always show their appreciation, and you can tell that it’s genuine – not fake or put one because they want something. 

You may see that they may buy their office manager a coffee for a job well done, write a “thank you and I appreciate you” note to their partner, pay the office cleaner a compliment, or show their appreciation in other ways that makes those around them feel heard and seen.   

Of course, a humble person won’t show their appreciation in overly public ways to gain attention; where possible, they’ll be appreciative in quiet or subtle ways because it’s about the person they are appreciating, not the humble person. 

4. Maintain Relationships

Humble people understand the importance of connection and belonging, and because they are other-oriented, they prefer to maintain the relationships they’ve built, whether in their personal or professional lives.  

When you are humble, you don’t let ego destroy your relationships. Nothing stops you from apologizing if you’ve been in the wrong as you value the gift of real friendship more than being right. 

5. Great Listening Skills 

One standout humbleness example is the fact that people who are humble have great listening skills.

They don’t think about what they are going to say or what they should say when talking to you; instead, they are focused on you – empathically and actively listening to your words and observing your body language. 

They may pause for a moment before replying, but that’s only so they can process what you’ve said and so they can act in your self-interest by summarizing your main points, asking clarifying questions, and responding in a way that lets you know you were heard

A humble person knows what you say is valuable, and that’s why they are attentive and listen.  

6. Curious by Nature 

Someone who is humble by nature (or nurture) will be curious because they see themselves as students for (and of) life. They know they don’t have all the answers and they aren’t know-it-alls, so they continuously learn from others and want opportunities to learn more. 

This helps them in their quest for self-improvement and to be an even better person than they were yesterday.  

7. Don’t Brag 

Those who are humble never brag about themselves. You’ll never hear them boasting about their successes, wins, abilities, or achievements – you’ll hear how amazing they are from those around them. 

Self-advertising isn’t a characteristic of humbleness, because these individuals know that they are worthy – and you are just as worthy

If they do happen to mention their successes, it’ll be a fact or small part of the larger picture. Or they’ll more commonly downplay their wins so others don’t feel uncomfortable.   

8. Abundance or Growth Mentality 

Humble individuals also have a growth mentality or abundance mindset. They don’t see their win as another person’s loss because they believe there’s an abundance of opportunities, resources, and time – for everyone – to accomplish their goals. 

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Being grateful changes how you see the world because, as a humble person, you acknowledge the value you and everyone else bring to life.

You don’t need to trample on others to get ahead; humble people will stop and help others while knowing they have what they need to achieve their objectives.  

9. Make Time to Be Grateful

One thing that stands out clearly when someone is humble is that they always have time to be grateful. In fact, they practice gratitude every day. 

A 2014 study found that there’s a direct correlation between humility and gratitude, and when you are grateful, you are humble, and the opposite is true too.  

Being grateful changes how you see the world because, as a humble person, you acknowledge the value you and everyone else bring to life.

10. Patience 

With a humble spirit comes a deep sense of the order of things. Being humble means you accept things don’t happen on your time, and you know that patience is a virtue worth practicing. 

Learn to wait calmly for the things that would normally have annoyed you. There is no rush as we all get there in the end, so it’s not necessary to push people out of your way in the rat race of life.  

With humility, you can become the calm in the storm.

11. Take Responsibility for Their Actions 

“I am so sorry; I totally messed up.” Why are these words so hard to say? It’s not an indication that people should think less of you when you admit you did something wrong. It’s ego that keeps you from admitting to failing or messing up or being wrong. 

Humbleness opens the door to asking forgiveness, admitting to your wrongs, and being a better and more humble person.

There is strength in apologizing, so practice doing it as many times as you can when you are given the gift of understanding and identifying your own errors.  

Stop deflecting and start reflecting.

12. Accepting Your Flaws

We are, all of us, made of flaws that have been sewn together with our best intentions” – or so the Facebook meme goes.

But accepting your flaws is a case of “eating humble pie” to many. We are so conditioned that we should see it as a character flaw when we realize we are failing at something. But is it really? 

Is eating humble pie a bad thing, or is it something that our diet in life needs much more of? When you accept your flaws, welcome the opportunity to correct them, and you cherish the lessons you can learn from your flaws, your humbleness raises you up to walk on mountains.  

13. Ask for Help When Needed 

Do you believe you know everything? Have you learned all you should or could? If you think this, you will never really know humbleness.

Those who are humble know they have limitations, that they still need the help of others, and that they have much to learn. 

Being willing to learn also means being willing to ask for help. When was the last time you asked for help? Asking for help is so frowned on in society that we think it’s a weakness, when it should be a strength

The truly humble know their limitations, and because of that, they don’t expect others to do what they themselves can’t.  

14. Generous 

When people hear the word “generous” they are quick to think of money. But real generosity is about sharing your real gifts, which are time, attention, and understanding. Learn to give without seeking anything in return. 

People ultimately value that you listen to them way more than a quick (and even more quickly spent) cash handout. With true kindness, you open your heart to others and practice a generosity of spirit when you are humble.  

15. Empathic and Understanding 

Because someone with their feet on the ground doesn’t look down on others, they are better able to practice empathy and understanding.

When practicing real humility, you stop sticking your head in the clouds and begin to help uplift those who walk in the mud with you. 

With empathy, you begin to understand that your humbleness examples can help others succeed, which is how you reach true greatness.  

Final Thoughts on Humbleness Examples 

Living a humble life is something that we all immediately see for the absolute treasure it is, but it’s not easy. We live in a world where being humble isn’t always encouraged, yet it’s what we all value and respect in the humbleness examples of the truly great people of our time:

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Mother Teresa
  • The Dalai Lama 

That’s some pretty great company to keep, don’t you agree? If you would you like to learn more about practicing humility as an expression of cultivating a humble spirit, be sure to read our guide on practicing humility and add some humility to your humble life.

And if you're looking for more articles about different values, be sure to check out these blog posts:

Finally, if you want a simple way to reduce your stress and anxiety, then try writing these 35 mindfulness journaling prompts to live more in the present moment.

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