In that moment I had a choice: was I going to feel humiliated because my abilities didn't match my expectations, or was I going to be humbled and learn from my experience?
The older I get, I become more in touch with my own humility, which is wonderfully freeing. (And there are always so many opportunities to be humbled!)
It is interesting, because both words come from the same root: humus - earth, but the words have vastly different meanings.
Humiliate: to cause (a person) a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity; mortify.
This is an isolating feeling. It makes us want to crawl into a hole to hide.
How could anybody have the power to do that to me save myself? I am certainly not saying that I've never been or felt humiliated. Those of you who follow this blog know some of the things I've had to overcome, and I think part of growing up is making mistakes and (hopefully) learning from them.
Humble: to be conscious of one's failings.
This state of being grounds us, and makes us part of the human race - no better or worse than anyone else.
Last spring I started Weight Watcher's, and wrote about it here, but once I started getting really busy with growing Writopia Lab, I found that I couldn't focus on it anymore. I wasn't able to get to meetings and I lost my mojo. When I was younger, I would use this as an excuse to beat myself up. But who am I to expect things to be easy? Focusing on losing weight is hard work and takes a lot of energy. I would love to be able to focus on it, but I can't right now. I am humbled, but I don't hate myself for it. I am not humiliated.
And I have felt lost in the world of publishing - saddened that "success" is so numbers and sales driven, and not based so much on literary merit. But I am certainly not the only writer who has felt or feels that way, so I am humbled. Humility brings me community, while a feeling of humiliation has only ever served to isolate me.
Finding the courage to call myself a "writer" and to seek out other writers has brought me a tremendous community, and the knowledge that I don't have to be perfect, or indeed, hide my imperfections in order to be loved is very freeing indeed.
We have to have a healthy amount of humility in order to be able to write - to get those words on paper. Because we will fail sometimes! That is a guarantee. But we keep trying, don't we?
And maybe I won't ever like a Boot Camp class, but who knows?
Where are you on the spectrum between humiliation and humility in your life?