The Most Beautiful Word in the English Language

10 October 2016

You’re one of the shooters, and you know for a fact that there are two University scouts amongst the spectators that are very eager to choose one girl for a scholarship. Suddenly you’re in the circle and the ball is passed to you, you get ready to take the shot… but then… you see the other shooter for your team with an expression that cannot be described on her face. You know she is jealous and disappointed in herself for not being in your shoes. You know how hard she has worked for this.

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Now you realize that you are faced with the task of deciding to shoot, score and win the scholarship to the school of your dreams… Or pass the ball to your teammate and let her take the shot. In the last second, to everyone’s utter amazement, you pass the ball to her which allows her to shoot and score. The crowd goes nuts as the siren blares and it’s announced that your team has won. After the match, the two scouts decide to sponsor both of you for your exceptional skills! So now, after hearing that story, what is the lesson to be learned? This story shows an act of HUMILITY.

Ask yourself if you would have made the same move if you were placed in that situation. C. S Lewis once said that humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. Humility is the quality of being modest, respectful, and lacking pretence, but is often misunderstood as being meek. A while ago, somebody mentioned to me that “windowsill” was voted the most beautiful word in the English language. What many people don’t realise is that words have enormous power. They can make us erupt into laughter or bring tears to our eyes.

They can influence, inspire, manipulate and shock. They can build and destroy. Some words have different effects on different people. An example of this is “humility”. It is one of those words that are mostly one-sided. Some people, like me, love the word and all it stands for. Some people almost fear it and link it with lack of self-confidence or timidity. In the novel, ‘The Kite Runner’, Hassan is seen as a humble little boy who takes the blame for Amir’s constant misbehaviour, not because he is meek and vulnerable, but because he loves Amir and would do anything for him.

John Ruskin said that he believes that the first test of a truly great man is in his humility. Humility is one of Hassan’s greatest assets, and to me it stands out the most. There are so many benefits to practicing humility. It improves relationships, reduces anxiety, encourages more openness and less self-pretence, and it increases one’s self-confidence. For me, it replaces “windowsill” as the most beautiful word in the English language.

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