This month, we chose to work on humility, the 11th character trait in our year-long self-improvement journey.  As November comes to a close, we reflect on our efforts to become more humble:

Ellen…

My intention this month was to refrain from talking to others about my accomplishments. That turned out to be a relatively easy task, because I didn’t really have any special accomplishments to speak of – for the most part, it was just a usual month of work and play. In fact, ironically, writing about being humble this month doesn’t feel very humble!

One area in which I think both Jenna and I can be more humble is our MDF activities. We’ve received a lot of press about our blog and our Wharton Mother-Daughter event, and while we are excited to share the news, sometimes I feel like it’s self-serving and not very humble. Do our followers, you, really care to read yet another article about this blog? Or are we just so proud of our efforts that we want others to know about it?

Jenna is good at keeping our focus on what followers would want to read, and as we look to expand MDF’s impact on mothers and daughters through other events and initiatives, I think it’s important for us to continually reflect on why we are doing it. To be able to work together? To improve our relationship? To serve other mothers and daughters? To make money? (Note: We are in the red, and have not made a profit on our passion project to-date.)  Or, is it that we enjoy the recognition?

Jenna…

To me, humility is one of the most complex traits we have tackled this year. It’s a word that has many different notions to different people. But to me, I focused this month on displaying humility by placing my needs aside and recognizing that I am not the most important person in a situation – it’s the others around me.

Thanksgiving presented a great opportunity to practice this trait. It’s definitely my favorite time of year because it forces us all to pause and reflect on things we are thankful for. Thinking of all the wonderful things in my life is always a humbling experience: knowing I did not have control over the family and life circumstances I’ve been given makes me feel particularly grateful.

This month, I made a commitment to apply humility to my mom by placing her needs before my own. While I certainly wasn’t perfect, I tried to do a few things differently that exemplified this trait. I tried to listen intently to my mom and place her interests above mine.

For example, my mom and stepdad purchased a new home this month and while this change will have ramifications for me, I made sure to think of their happiness first when adding my ‘two cents.’ In addition, I had the chance to exercise this trait last weekend when my mom planned to visit me in Philly. Initially, she called to cancel since she was feeling tired, and I was coming home in three days for the holidays. My first reaction was disappointment and, of course, she could hear it in my voice! But after I thought about it, I realized my reaction was selfish and advised her to stay home and rest, especially since we were going to see each other soon. However, she couldn’t resist and still came.  Whether or not it was the right decision for her health, I think we both were energized by the one-on-one time together!

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At the beginning of the year, we chose 12 character traits that we both wanted to improve – individually and in how we relate to each other. In the first post of every month, we discuss one of the traits and set intentions, and at the end of the month, we share how we did. This week, we’ve set our intentions for the trait of humility. If you’re interested in reading our posts on other character traits, here are some blogs on PatienceSpirituality Compassion Listening Self-Confidence Mindfulness Health Creativity  Optimism and Generosity.