There are two facets to humility. The first is composed of you regarding your brother as more sensible than yourself and more superior to you, or according to the advice of the Holy Fathers, "regard yourself as being lower than everybody." The second is comprised in ascribing your self-imposed meritorious ordeal to God — this is the complete form of humility of the Saints. It is born naturally in the soul through fulfilling the commandments. Because it is like the branches of a tree that sag downwards when they have abundant fruit on them. However, branches that have no fruit strive upwards and grow straight up. There are trees in existence that will not bear fruit unless their branches are bent downwards: if somebody attaches a stone to them so that they grow toward the ground, they yield fruit. Similarly with the soul, when it becomes humble, it brings forth fruit, and the more fruit it produces, the humbler it becomes. The closer the Saints get to God, the more they realize their sinfulness.
Know that if a person is oppressed by some thought and he does not confess it (to his spiritual father), he will give the thought more power to oppose and torment him. If the person confesses the oppressive thought, if he opposes and struggles with it, instilling into himself the desire for the opposite to the thought, then the passion will weaken and will eventually cease to plague him. Thus with time, in committing himself and receiving assistance from God, that person will conquer the passion itself.
Being prone to passions, we mustn’t believe our own heart because a crooked precept will warp the upright.