What I love most about Leah is her humility. Leah has outstanding boundaries, and I think that leads to humility. Humility, in turn, leads to gratitude, and gratitude leads to joy. Joy and gratitude are like the offspring of proper humility. Leah’s sincere and overwhelming gratitude is hard to miss. She is sincere–her gratitude for many of the good things in her life is unadulterated and childlike, in the best sense. She is not jaded or hardened. Her gratitude is from the marrow of her bones. Potent, pure gratitude is just part of her adult character. In my opinion, this trait comes from humility (which is, in part, knowing where boundaries actually lie rather than where you wish they did).
Boundaries are often thought of as walls or barriers in between people. But that is not how I think of them. Being good with boundaries is first and foremost knowing what is truly yours, what is truly owed to you, and conversely, knowing what is not truly yours, and what is not truly owed to you.
Leah is the person in my life who has the most admirable boundaries. The reason is that she seems to have an intuitive grasp of just how much in her life is not truly hers. She seems to really get that a good thing in her life is not owed to her, but is given despite the fact that it is not owed. Leah seems to be divinely pure-hearted. She keeps her hands open, and lets things come into her hands and them leave, and she remains steady.
These boundaries lead, in my opinion, to her most astounding feature: her counter-cultural and totally unlearned gift for humility. She was raised in a city, a culture, that did nothing to promote the virtue of humility. Becoming remarkable, becoming extraordinary, becoming self-possessed, articulate, thoughtful, and being able to give a big gift to the world: yes. These are messages that she heard daily. But becoming humble–well, as most people understand humility, that would cut against becoming extraordinary! Or maybe, for a woman, it could cut against becoming strong or self-possessed. My read on Manhattan culture is that humility is one of those things that should just not be discussed much. It could de-rail other great things from developing.
Somehow, though, humility sprang up in Leah’s heart and life. I am not talking about the false humility of self-deprecation, esteeming your self lower than others, or not allowing yourself to see the good in in you. I am talking about genuine humility which can be defined as being aware of who you really are, being “Close to the ground” (humus) regarding your self-understanding. This allows you to be grateful for the good. But it also allows you to recognize the good in others and not compare your self negatively to them. So in this sense, it helps keeps one’s self-estimation as high as it should be. The goal for humility is not being at the bottom of the totem pole, but rather being where you are and who you are well. Leah’s sense of not being owed the gifts in her life is truly remarkable, and is an inspiration.