Humility is not the opposite of arrogance, neither is it thinking badly of yourself or about yourself less. We all know people who have tried to be humble, and yet others who are, without, it seems, even trying. Humility allows us to look up to others and not down on them, but humility is difficult, hard to fake, and even harder to understand.
To have a positive attitude for life today, we are advised to look inside ourselves, to take pride in our strengths, to embrace our individuality, to focus less on what others think of us, and to avoid negative thoughts. And this all sounds good advice but taken in isolation it does expose us to the delusion that it is ourselves who are the centre around which the world revolves. And that is not Humility.
You see humility comes from somewhere else. It comes from the realisation that we are entirely dependent on God for everything, including the next breath we breathe. It comes when we are willing to take the risk of acting as though we value other people more than we value ourselves. It comes when we understand that we are just as broken and flawed as the other person and that perhaps their need for what we seek ourselves may be greater than ours.
Humility does not come naturally to me, yet two things encourage me to keep on seeking it. Firstly, that Jesus, God himself, chose to put my need for forgiveness above his own needs, by humbling himself and choosing death on a cross to save me and you. And secondly, that when we put others first, and ourselves last we do not disadvantage ourselves, because God sees us, and he has promised to bless the meek and to favour and exalt the humble.