Boosting State Humility via Gratitude, Self-Affirmation, and Awe

Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives

Authored by: Peter M. Ruberton , Elliott Kruse , Sonja Lyubomirsky

Handbook of Humility

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138960008
eBook ISBN: 9781315660462
Adobe ISBN: 9781317337164


 Download Chapter



Humility is a psychological characteristic marked by a balanced, accurate self-concept and pronounced focus on other people rather than oneself (Tangney, 2000). We propose that humility is characterized by five hallmarks, or observable markers: (a) a secure and accepting self-identity; (b) freedom from distortion about one’s strengths and weaknesses; (c) openness to new information about oneself and the world; (d) high focus on others relative to the self; and (e) a belief that other people are equally worthy (Chancellor & Lyubomirsky, 2013). Each hallmark must be present, but none is individually sufficient for a person to be humble. These hallmarks thus both define humility and differentiate it from what it is not. In particular, the opposite of humility is high self-focus, including an excessively positive (e.g., narcissism or arrogance) or negative (e.g., depression or low self-esteem) self-view. Further, under this hallmarks-based definition, humility can be distinguished from modesty. Although humble people are frequently modest, they may sometimes behave immodestly when speaking frankly about their genuine strengths and accomplishments. Additionally, narcissistic individuals may behave outwardly modestly for self-presentational purposes while maintaining an inwardly inflated self-worth. As such, humility is neither merely the absence of arrogance nor the presence of modesty.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.