Humility or low-self esteem?

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Hey guys, as we all know humility is one of the most beautiful and wonderful characteristics but many of us may have trouble understanding what true humility is. I really do not understand it fully either and I was wondering if you guys may help.

What I do know is that there is a fine line between humility and low-self esteem. Going around saying that you're the worst person who ever existed and hating yourself is not humility. Knowing that you are a sinner but understanding your great value to God is. Now understanding our sins and evil habits is not the only part of life that we have to be humble about.

How do we distinguish that fine line in other situations?


  • I am no expert, but I would think that the difference between humility and low self-esteem is the following: when you are humble, you know that even though you are a sinner, God loves you and wants the best for you. You are confident that whatever 'bad" things that are happening to you are occuring simply because God wants to reveal a truth to you. You gladly and humbly accept the Grace of God. On the other hand, when you have low self-esteem, you believe that God does not love you and that whatever bad things are happening to you are a result of your own failures. You feel alone, unloved. It becomes hard to accept the Grace of God in your life. In the end, it has to do with how YOU percieve God's will in your life.

    Hope this helps.

    God bless,

  • I'm having the same problem.. how do you know?

    Some say its "putting yourself down" others might call it "humility" which one is it? And if its the negative one, how can you change that in someones thinking without causing them pride?

  • Hi Maz,

    The difference can be found in Philipians:

    "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me."

    When you are humble, you acknowledge that you have weaknesses, but you know that Christ will complete you. You know that your strengths (and there is nothing wrong in recognizing them) are from God.

    When you have low self-esteem, you put yourself down because you believe that you have no strengths at all. Which of course is not true.

    For example. A person may have a beautiful voice. A humble person will recognize that his talent comes from God and he will use it to do good. A person who has low self-esteem will say that he his voice is average and then not use it to do good.

    Christ completes us.

    God bless.....
  • Yecks! :-\

    You hit the nail on the head. Thank you, but...ouch.. haha sorry.. I mean..that then means I have low self-esteem?? :-\ I didn't think so.

    Well, lets say yes, how is that possible to change.

    Another question (sorry)
    What if other people see that you have that talent from God, but you don't see that. Others do, and tell you, but you don't see or like what you hear? You just don't believe you have that talent? Sure you might use it to good use, because it's a hobby that you enjoy, but think you're good at it? Thats the no, no.
    What would you call that?
    Humility or Low-self Esteem?
    Or neither?
    What would it be?


  • perhaps denial :-\

    i do get ur point maz, just don't know how to put it in words ;D
  • lol, yea, it's kind of hard to get, sorry...

    Thanx Hos Erof, can anyone else help? :-[

    Thank you Maz
  • Concerning what to do when somebody compliments a talent or ability you have, I think Beshoy gave a pretty good response regarding that in another thread.

    [quote author=beshoy link=board=1;threadid=716;start=0#msg13505 date=1098755727]

    Theres a really nice story, which many of you have probably heard before, about Anba Macarious and one of his disciples that came once and asked the Saint if he could give him a word or two to help him receive salvation. So Anba Macarious told him to go to the monastery's tomb, and insult or mock all the dead monks. Upon doing this, and receiving no replies, the disciple returned to Anba Macarious and told him what happened.

    Anba Macarious then told him, go to the tombs again tomorrow, and praise all the dead monks. So the disciple did exactly as he was told, and upon receiving no reply, he returned to Anba Macarious and told him again.

    So Anba Macarious explained to him the point of the exercise, telling him, "You know how you insulted them and they did not reply, and how you praised them and they did not speak; so you too, if you wish to be saved, must do the same and become a dead man. Like the dead, take no account of either the scorn of men or their praises, and you can be saved."


    Even though this story addresses how one should react to praises, I think it makes the point, that if you praise someone too much, they may accept the false glory that comes from the mouths of the people rather than the true glory that comes from God. So, even though I think its really important to praise people and give them kind words to brighten their days, as mentioned earlier, it's also important not to exaggerate or praise someone too much, lest they become proud.

    So, one should always keep this in mind, and it never hurts to involve God, when praising someone, saying something like "Thank God, He gave you the ability to this.." or "thank God you reacted this way..." or something along those lines. That way, the person involved can associate what they did well with God's grace. I don't know, this is my opinion on the whole issue. I hope this makes sense...

    Well done Beshoy.
  • Well what I'm basically focusing on is when you have a talent for instance..acknowledging that you have that talent can be considered pride at times..denying it is just how are you going to be humble?
  • Keeping in mind Beshoy’s response, I’m going put a variation to it just a bit.

    Beshoy said that when we compliment somebody we should remember god in our praise. By saying ‘“Thank God, He gave you the ability to this.." or "thank God you reacted this way..."’ etc.

    So I guess when somebody commends you; you should say “thank god I was able to do this and that”. As long as you remember God in whatever skills you were blessed with, then you are being humble. Keeping in mind of course not to boast or be demeaning.

    1 Peter 4:11

    If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

  • I still don't get it ???
  • It’s all about how you feel. Forget what everybody thinks and concentrate on what goes through your head when you receive a complement. When somebody tells you that you’re smart or something do you think “hmm… yeah, I am pretty smart”?

    If you ever feel that you are anything because you made yourself that way, then you aren’t humble. But if you know that any of your abilities are not from you but a gift from god, then you are humble. Acknowledging that your abilities aren’t yours at all but in fact the grace of god is the way to humility.

    As for what to say when somebody complements you, that’s all ambiguous. Somebody could say “a humble response” just so they can hear people say “oh you’re sooo humble”. In that case they just want to hear more praise. Being fake like that isn’t humility; it’s not all about what you say. It all comes down to how you perceive your talents. Do you think they are yours because of your efforts and nothing else; or a combination of your efforts and gods mercy?

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