My favourite people in the world share the same beautiful quality of being humble. Some are friends and family members, others are transient acquaintances who left a mark that I can’t erase and still hold the magic power of making me smile whenever I remember them.
Humble people make joyful company. They know how to listen to opinions different from their own, you love them because they accept you as you are and you trust them because they’d never dare to put you down or talk behind your back. With all the difficulties that life entails and the inevitable moments of sadness, humble people tend to be contented and accomplished, to the point they always have room in their hearts to celebrate other people’s successes and happiness.
After almost a year of confinement in London, the preciousness of life and good company has become ever more evident to me, to the point I have decided to cut the crap from now on and invest my time and energy only on genuine friends, those who mean well and cherish humility just as much as I do.
Ego is a problem in today’s world. It always has been, but I think social media has only made it worse: too many people are too self-conscious and crave too much attention. I remember a wonderful creative writing tutor I had at Institute ICREA in Caracas who always warned us about the dangers of “posing” in writing. His point was that when writers compose with the purpose of earning admiration rather to satisfy a genuine desire to communicate an idea, the quality of their writing inevitably falls. ‘Readers of fiction are smart’ he used to say ‘and readers will detect the writer’s pretentiousness and eventually get bored. There is no substitute for authenticity.’
I take that line with me: ‘There is no substitute for authenticity.’ Some people put on so many layers to ‘decorate’ themselves in their desperate desire for admiration that they forget their true nature and end up losing sight of what really matters in life. I don’t admire people because of their looks or their job titles, how many followers they have on social media or even how elevated their discourse is, if this is used as a resource to inflate their egos. Humility is palpable and because I have been blessed with genuine and humble friends, relatives and acquaintances who embody this virtue, I know exactly what it looks like. There even are some famous figures out there who I revere for their adherence to their true nature, the footballer Marcus Rashford and Captain Sir Thomas Moore, who sadly passed away this week, are top of my list at the moment.
I will be looking forward to reuniting with my dearest friends and family when we are released from this prolonged seclusion and will be seeking the company of those with whom I can grow as a human being and in whose eyes I know I will always find sincerity. The joy of real love stems from humility and mutual respect after all. Like the great Lama Rod Owens says, “I go where I am loved. I go where I am allowed to express love,” nothing else.