Skip to content

LIFE WITH CYNTHIA: How humble are you?

Columnist Cynthia Breadner ponders humility in today's world
Cynthia Breadner photo

How humble are you? Watching the news today and seeing the university parties where the needs and importance of “student’s fun” causes me to shake my head. At what point does humanity lose sight of self-importance for expression that they cannot be humbled? I know as I age and as I experience life after 60+ years on this planet, I yet again, am wondering where are we going.

How humble are you? I know I was humbled the past week or so. I have been sick and I take back all I have ever said about being down and out with a virus. I admit I have been humbled and this illness (while negative on a stick) brought me and my personal healthy claims down a notch or two. It took me out! I was eight days, alone and self-medicating with tinctures, essential oils, sleep and tea. The isolation was deafening. I missed my family and my friends, and of course, my work.

Needing to keep busy I finished the sweater I was knitting and started another. I watched my fill of various shows on streaming networks, and I slept, and I slept. Most of all I communed with that which I call “self”. That part of me is often ignored and overlooked. This said, the demons I could have been hosting have been put to bed with self-discovery and so I was much calmer and able to be alone without going out of my mind. Can this be said for others? And for those who are not used to being alone for so many days and hours, how do they cope?

The definition of humble is showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. The students who crowded the streets of the university towns thinking they have the right to pee in driveways, fight and show public intoxication may need a lesson in being humble. I believe our right for self-expression has swung too far the other way, is it time for all of our push for who matters to begin the journey back? Can we swing back to a humble level of self-importance, and value self-expression while caring for all children, all people, and the planet? The biggest takeaway from my week of isolated illness is that I see the best place to live is in my own home, safe and secure away from the world. However, is this too humble? Have I reduced my self-importance to not mattering at all? When does the level of humility border on the edge of snuffing ourselves out of existence and ceasing to care about the world at all? It scares me.

I remember my parents shaking their heads and making the blanket statement, “what is this world coming to?” I remember my dad’s look of sadness as he stood in the door watching the program I was watching as a young teen, thinking it was the best. I have said this before, how I am becoming my parents. I better understand them and their pining for a simpler life. Our global experience has tremendous value, however, as I have said many times before it is at the cost of community.

While I was sick, I realized my social capital is very limited. The young neighbour knocked on my door. When I answered, they said, “I know you’re sick, is there anything you need.” I was in shock and asked how they knew. They had read the note I left for the courier delivering a box. I put on the note how I was sick, and they might want to drop the package and run. I was so touched that they stopped their day to ask it brought tears to my eyes. Social capital is a term used for informal care we all have come to depend on in our life with a hurting health care system. Friends, family and those close to us who will provide some care should we need it. I work in the industry of providing spiritual care and will do anything for anybody however I have realized one of the ghosts of my alcoholic past is I have no “friends”. My friend was my wine and we got along well. Now that friend is gone, I have not built any new social capital to depend on. Not that wine would have provided me anything, it only kept me more isolated.

It humbled me to know I am somewhat alone in my life and must reach out more and let people know my own vulnerabilities. As I strive to help others, I ask them to show me their needs, however, I am very good at redirecting any self-talk or showing any personal need. There is a fine line between professional work and social capital, and I will strive to find that moment in time.

I went for a walk later in the week as I was feeling a little better and came across some trash in the woods. I carried it out. On the bottle, it said, “smart” water …. As I carried the bottle I wondered if water can be smart then why can’t I? So, my task anew is to be smart and build relationships myself, while I encourage others to do the same. May you find your social capital to be rich and full beyond your needs in troubled times. May you be the social capital others need and may you give with a humble spirit caring for everyone and our planet.

Cynthia Breadner is a teacher, author, grief specialist and bereavement counsellor; a soul care worker and offers specialized care in spiritually integrated therapies. She works as a LTC chaplain assisting with end-of-life care for client and family. She is the mother part of the #DanCynAdventures duo and practices fitness, health and wellness. She is available remotely by safe and secure video connections, if you have any questions contact her today! [email protected]

Reader Feedback

Cynthia Breadner

About the Author: Cynthia Breadner

Writer Cynthia Breadner is a grief specialist and bereavement counsellor, a soul care worker providing one-on-one support at
Read more