How sad. But also a powerful reminder … if we don’t make key aspects of our spiritual growth part of our daily practice, they are forgotten in the pull of our daily life. We must affirm our key truths every day.
As with most things spiritual, one cannot will oneself to be humble. It just doesn’t work. There are too many interior obstacles. And so if you try that route you will just set yourself up for internal struggles and defeat.
Instead, in order to feel humility, it is essential that one stops feeling prideful, that one is special. This is not to gainsay whatever talents or other qualities you have. But do those things make you special?
You are not special because everyone is special. Everyone is born with something that makes them special. For some it is a talent, for others it is a disposition. Whatever the gift, everyone is born with something. Everyone is also equally deserving of acknowledgment.
The other way in which we feel special is that we feel that I did it. The ego-mind thinks that we have been successful because it engineered it. While the ego-mind can truthfully often take credit for our perseverance, that is not really a source of pride. A pat on the back, but not pride. First there is the realization that the basic gift that the ego-mind pushed was not something it created but was something we were born with. The other is that whether perseverance pays off is truly a matter of happenstance … being in the right place at the right time. These are matters beyond our control.
Why do we seem to have this need to feel special? Because we learn early on that it is the people who are special in some way who get rewarded, whether at home or in school. And so it becomes part of our survival instinct. If we can’t identify our natural gift, we identify some reason to feel special.
But through your spiritual practice, you have hopefully come to learn the truth that you have everything inside yourself that you need to be at peace and happy, and that that is what you value most, what is most important to you. And that all will be well regardless what life throws your way, what situation you are in, because you will always return home to your true Buddha self and be at peace and happy. Thus if you apply those truths to this situation, the need to feel special vanishes because we are not dependent on the acknowledgment of others for our peace and happiness, our wellbeing.
When you are able to feel from within that you truly are not special and when you cease feeling the need to be special because you are aware that you have everything you need to be at peace and happy, then you will arrive at humility naturally.