Humility & Authenticity

Two years ago, I visited many of the outports on the peninsulas
and islands just off northeastern and eastern Newfoundland.
One of my endearing memories is that of the very friendly, “down-
to-earth” folk in this part of Canada. There was no “second shoe
to drop” when meeting these hardy people. The “hype” of large
cities and suburban dwellers was almost totally absent. After
being with them for only a few minutes it felt as though I had
known them for years. There was an almost immediate feeling
of honesty and trust between us. There was a powerful feeling
of community. In one small village on one of the islands I was
invited to a “jigs dinner” together with all the local citizens.
Within minutes I felt as though I had lived there all my life.

What I was experiencing in Newfoundland was the wonderfully
refreshing characteristic called authenticity.
It is a characteristic that is in short supply in our modern,
fast-moving urban cultures. Computers and so-called “social
networks” de-humanize interactions and turn people into
objects. Many young people actually believe that emotions
can be expressed through e-mail and text messaging. Instant
gratification supplants patience and sensitive relationship-
building. Marketing hype and unleashed pretension swamp the
media. The focus changes from what a person ACTUALLY wants
to what they think or believe they want.

Humility seems to be the first cousin of authenticity. It creates
a space in which a person can identify with others and relate
with them in a meaningful way. Humility is not the same as
humbleness. Humility is “straight out”, and maintains an
individual on a level playing field with others. Humbleness often
involves putting oneself down. Humility is the complete opposite
of arrogance. Arrogance is a way of putting others down.
Arrogance is one of the most repugnant of human traits. Humility
is the anti-dote to arrogance. It takes great emotional courage
to face arrogance with humility. To be authentic all the time also
takes immense courage and fortitude.

I am honored to work with many couples at the depths of human
emotional connection, including “disconnection”, when they are
parting. Staying truly honest with oneself and with one’s mate is
a very challenging task. In truly authentic relationships mutual
respect, integrity, honesty and humility are essential ingredients.
It is very important to “lovingly address” conflict issues with
one’s mate rather than being confrontational with them. When
just loving each other doesn’t work, the four ways that couples
deal with their very deep-seated conflicts are: facing, denying,
hiding and running. Facing is by far the most successful road
to a better relationship. Facing, with humility and authenticity,
seems to be THE KEY!

Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th Century Sufi Mystic, recommended
staying focused on the Beloved as the road to humility and
authenticity in relationships. According to Rumi,
“If the Beloved is everywhere, the lover is a veil, But when living
itself becomes the friend, lovers disappear.”

This article was written in December of 2012 by:
Richard M. Haney, M.Ed., Ph.D. (Counselling and Mediation)

Richard has been practising Wholistic Counselling, Coaching,
Hypnotherapy and Mediation for the past 25 years in Ottawa.

To contact Richard please call (613) 234-5678 or send an e-mail