I was in India. My mother was on the other end of the phone offering pieces of wisdom for the journey, which I accepted along with the almonds she sent with me (wisdom for the journey goes well with snacks). I was graciously accepting her advice because my name is Grace and I don't like irony.
"Stay humble," she started.
"But I am humble," I protested proudly. In fact, it hurt my pride that she thought otherwise.
"Ok," she replied diplomatically, because she is a good mother. "I'm not saying you're not. But India is a land of great contrast, and humility helps you walk with the rich and poor, unaffected. And stay thankful."
"But I am thankful," I protested. More thankful than normal, in fact (just not for her advice).
"I'm not saying you're not," she said again. "But being thankful guards your heart against comparison and discontent. Instead it keeps you focussed on being grateful for what you already have."
After the initial "Inability to Graciously Receive Advice from your Mother" syndrome subsided, I came to thinking. Maybe I should give this a go. A little thankfulness and humility wouldn't kill me, right?
Wrong. They did kill me (I'm writing this from the dead. Jokes, I'm not). They killed the part of me that can deserve to die – those lurking bits of pride and ungratefulness that sometimes rear their ugly heads. They made my trip vastly more enjoyable, and I wondered why I did not employ these tactics more at home.
I had discovered, humility makes you happier.
And, for the mathematicians among us (of which my mum is one): humility + thankfulness = contentment.
You're more able to accept what comes when you're content with what you have got.
And Jesus? Well, Jesus makes everything better. In fact, He makes everything.
Grace Mathew is a Sydney-based writer who found the secrets to eternal happiness and is not afraid to share them. She's also super humble.
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