The value of ha‘aha‘a, is the value of humility. It urges us to be humble, and to be modest and learn from our experiences.
Ha‘aha‘a is pronounced [ha aha a].
In Hawaiian, ha‘aha‘a means to be humble and to learn from others. It urges us to be modest but not to lack in assertiveness or reticence. It does not promote lowliness, rather a respectable self-assurance. There is worthiness in acknowledging our accomplishments and being proud of the good things we have done. It is not however ha’aha’a to show a kind of pride that has arrogance, conceit or condescension.
Ha‘aha‘a calls on us to be open-minded and to learn out of respect for others and a desire to grow. We want to respect others and support them to contribute so we can do the same in kind.
In Hawai’i, it is of value to groom one’s character with a sense of humility that stems from a respect for others and the natural world. Ha‘aha‘a teaches us that our nobility stems from our growth and improving on our previous self. It is never to be superior to another, it is to learn with modesty from others and to stay humbly open to life as our teacher.
Ha‘aha‘a supports the community and uplifts individuals in that it values the contribution of others and our inherent need to collaborate. It acknowledges that each person has their own unique talents to offer and that no one person can satisfy every need.
In Hawai’i, Kuleana [responsibility] and Ohana [family & social group] tie into this value. It is very culturally important for Hawaiians to take responsibility for what is theirs to do and to tend to their Ohana with respect and honor.
The act of listening helps us understand, learn, and grow. It helps us tune into what another person, community or the land may need. When we fully hear what is needed, we can meet that need well and with honor.
Curiosity keeps us engaged in life in a healthy way. When we bring an inquisitive perspective to what we encounter we can adapt to what is needed with more agility and ease.
It is not always easy for people to communicate what is needed in a situation. If we ask questions in a curious way, we may be able to learn more about how to help or what is best to do in response to any circumstance. When working on a team or project, asking questions is critical to make a valuable contribution.
Appreciation for others and for life in general goes a long way to uplift our collective spirits and keep us humble. Life is full of exchanges and collaborations and acknowledgement of what others bring adds value to these engagements. When we honor the contribution of another, we honor ourselves and invite the highest potential to unfold for the benefit of everyone involved.