Last week I suffered through a humiliating experience that completely blindsided me. In hindsight, I probably should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I ordinarily don’t have any problems sleeping, but this particular experience left me so shell-shocked that I had trouble sleeping for several nights after it occurred. All I could do was lie in bed, rosary beads in hand, and alternate between praying the mysteries of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
I’m not going to share any specific details about the circumstances surrounding my experience, because they’re too personal. In fact, I’ve gone back and forth with myself about whether I should even be mentioning anything about it, but because we all have to periodically suffer through humiliations, I feel as though it’s my obligation to pass on this information to you. At a minimum, what I say here will provide you with an option to consider next time you’re faced with a humiliating situation.
A truly humiliating experience usually occurs after one or more events have taken place. Since the events leading up to the humiliation cannot be changed or reversed, the person who has been humiliated is stuck with having to suffer through the consequences of what has already occurred. The normal human reactions to being humiliated are shock, anger, rage, resentment, regret, and/or despair.
The key to dealing with a humiliating experience is to shift your mental state from one of shock, resentment, etc., to one of humility, gratitude, and forgiveness. It is only then that the healing process can begin. The best way to engineer this mental shift is to start out by reciting this prayer:
I have been humiliated to the dust, dear Lord, and I ask for courage to benefit from what you sent me. Teach me to know that great graces cannot be obtained without humility, so those who are to have them must be humiliated, to be made worthy by humility to receive the blessings that you withhold from the proud. Having experienced the present humiliation, may I trust it as a sure sign that you have some special grace in store for me. Amen.
This particular prayer has the power to immediately transform your thoughts and behavior from that of a victim to that of a saint. The prayer reflects what the saints routinely did — they showed gratitude to our Lord for allowing them to be humiliated, while expressing hope and trust that He would provide them with the grace to grow in holiness and perfection.
After saying the prayer (and repeating it as often as necessary to keep you in the right frame of mind), it’s important that you forgive yourself and any person who may have been responsible for your humiliating experience. By forgiving the person who caused you to suffer, you are imitating the Son of God who, with a pure heart, forgave everyone who humiliated and tortured Him.
In case you’re wondering, if I had a choice I would have avoided the experience I went through last week, but it did force me to sit down in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel and write out a detailed plan on how I can avoid the same situation in the future.
We are all flawed creatures who are destined to periodically suffer from humiliating experiences. What matters most in those situations is how we react. We have a choice. We can either act like victims or like saints.