Ask A Kabbalist

Humiliation

Question:

If humiliation helps destroy one’s ego, but one’s ego can make one feel like they are less than worthy, what are the elements that make humiliation a positive tool? ~FR

Answer:

So, the question is, does humiliation destroy your ego, or your soul? That choice is yours.

You're right—it sounds like a contradiction.

To evolve, to create, to be more effective and sustainably successful, you've got to knockout the ego, and humiliation is one tool. But when humiliated, embarrassed, or ashamed, how creative, motivated, or effective do we feel? If anything, less!

Humiliation can be truly dangerous. The fact is the negative side is not allowed to destroy us and it actually doesn't need to; it simply makes us destroy ourselves. And feeling humiliated can cause such self-destruction. ‎You could say it is soul-destroying. The point is to make it ego-destroying. ‎The difference between the two is subtle but huge! You've got to separate the person or thing humiliating you from your reaction to it. They're two different worlds as far apart as the body and the soul.

Humiliation by someone or something is not about the someone or the something (the external element) itself. It's about the cleansing of your ego's attachment (the internal element) ‎to that someone or someone. For example, if someone insults you in public, you have to separate the insult and the person (the external element) from your need for respect or approval (the internal element). Or, you beat yourself up for failing at a work task, which you know‎ you could have excelled at. Can you separate the failure, the lesson (the external element), from your incapacity to let go of it (the internal element)?

So get this! The humiliation (the external story, person, event) is actually purifying our vessel from our internal element (the neediness, the fear, insecurity, attachment, etc.) in order to reveal more Light. The humiliation was necessary to keep us humble and spiritually clean. It's so tough! But don’t let it upset you as it's cleaning your vessel, separating the poison of ego from the real self.

The big question is, can you separate these two aspects—the thing humiliating you externally and your internal feeling as you interpret this event? If not, and if you (the soul) are so attached to the internal ego's attachment, then humiliation will drag your soul down to the level of your ego, destroying you (your soul) and your self-esteem. But, if you're attached to your soul, allocate the humiliation to cleansing your old ego (your ego of fear and attachment, etc.), which will, in turn, free your soul, making you more open to fulfillment.

Related

See all