We want to be thought of as humble, but none of us actually wants to be humbled. Meaning, we do NOT want to “goof”, as my granddaughter would say, particularly in public.
The other day our family was gathered in our living room and my neighbor stopped by to see the grand babies. In the course of her visit, she handed me her cell phone to share her own grandchildren pics. Then she left, forgetting her phone.
I jumped into action, thinking, and unfortunately saying out loud, the following…”Oh no. Jean forgot her phone! I’ll call her.” I proceeded to dial my friend’s number on my phone which prompted her phone to ring with my name on its screen. My brain was slow to process this mystery. And yes, I then picked up her phone and spoke to myself.
Grandma Mimi realized her goof and scanned the room to see who witnessed this self to self conversation on two phones. I caught sight of my daughter chuckling in the adjacent room, which was not a good sign.
Such incidents are humbling. (Humiliating is more accurate.) And as we age, they can happen with annoying frequency. We have become the gray haired ladies on those Hallmark cards, the ones who sit together in the front seat of a car and one says, “Where are we going?” And the other responds, “I thought YOU were driving!”
Joy and I believe it is healthy to laugh at ourselves and by doing so, to practice humility. Turning into those Hallmark ladies can be embarrassing, but it is preferable to being self-righteous and ego driven, traits which we try, often unsuccessfully, to keep in check.
I struggle, however, with finding the balance between proper humility and self condemnation, between having a healthy view of self, and self-aggrandizement. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, defines humility as, “Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” This definition butts heads with our social media obsession luring us to check and then double check likes and comments; or to scroll through our photos and enlarge our own image…vowing next time to raise our chins so as not to see that loose skin succumbing to time and gravity. We (I) do need to think of ourselves less, while maintaining a proper self image.
In the book of Philippians, we find a Do This/Not That. Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” And in Proverbs, Solomon says, “Fools delight in airing their own opinions.”
It turns out I can be a fool AND a goof! But each day of my retirement life, I am going to TRY to remember to put others first and to ask questions more than insert opinions. That is the anecdote to pride and arrogance — and the desire to check a mirror to see how your lipstick is faring. (I have become my mother in this practice; she would not hesitate to pull out her compact and reapply her lipstick, whether in the grocery store or at a dinner party.)
But now I need to end this post and go see how my chin is looking this morning.
-When you do goof in public, and you will, celebrate that you are human, prone to failure, and LAUGH at yourself. That said, do try to think before opening your goofball mouth!
-Try to listen, really listen; curb the temptation to interrupt, and try not to be distracted by your self-oriented mindset, which is wondering what you will eat for dinner. And do not under any circumstance, call your friend’s phone when that same phone is in your hand!
Enjoy the ride!
xox Barclay and Joy, your fellow goofballs