Hubris as the Greeks called it, or Excessive Pride, is one the most seductive of sins. We all fight with Pride, some of us harder than others. The following points and observations are ones that I have learned through my own struggles and battles, but are by no means the only ways to fight arrogance, they are merely the ones I have found to be effective in my own life.
Hubris enchants you, not with the image of another, but with a perfect image of yourself. It is a monster that sits by your ear, whispering praises of your accomplishments and ignores your faults.
We all possess Pride to some degree. It’s healthy to have confidence in what you do. The danger lies in its excess, when you begin to believe yourself greater and better than you actually are, minimizing your flaws and magnifying your strengths.
When examining Pride as a whole, we can find multiple strains of the quality, some good and some bad. It becomes dangerous when it grows into Hubris, and this will inevitably lead to destruction.
To help in the war against Excessive Pride or Hubris, battling the beast inside, we offer five effective strategies:
Use A True Mirror
Our arrogance most frequently comes from a misrepresentation of who and what we think we are. Instead of measuring ourselves against truth, we look at the other flawed people around us and begin to think better of ourselves than we ought.
By looking at a true reflection of who we are, the odds of losing your sense of proportion decrease. The Bible helps remind us we all fall short, but can be saved by the only perfect person there every was or will be.
In the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom is frequently offered as the goal of all young men. By seeking knowledge and wisdom, we admit to our shortcomings, our need, and our folly. Without such confession, true wisdom cannot be found.
This pertains not only to searching scripture, but also in looking for mentors in your life, be it spiritually or professionally. Many mentors are willing to teach someone who is earnestly desiring to learn, but recoil from the presence of upstarts who think they know everything.
Re-Orient Your Thinking
C.S. Lewis once noted that, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
Consequently, the path of Pride is when our every action and motive involves the oldest of religions: self-worship. Instead of thinking how your actions will affect you, consider how they affects others. You will go a long way toward staving off Pride and become more effective at what you are trying to accomplish.
It is worth noting that this can be incredibly difficult for introverts like myself. When by nature your mind is wrapped up inside yourself, evaluating everything through an internal lens of you (even if not purposefully prideful), it is difficult to shift focus. Never-the-less, by shifting this focus you’ll find that your social interactions with others becomes better and less painful or monotonous.
Be Wary In Victory
The easiest time to fall from grace is when we are at the heights of success. You may overcome a Giant in your life, but it is in that moment that you are the most vulnerable to the attack of Pride. Reign in your ego by remembering that success is fleeting and another battle is around the corner.
Give Others The Credit
Instead of taking the lions share of credit for your success, give as much of it away as you can. Admit to the help and aid you received to get where you are, and you will go a long way in preventing the pimple between your shoulders from popping.
Do not do this arrogantly, as a way of acting humble. Do it with a genuine gratitude for help and contributions others made to earn the success and accolades you’ve received.
Remember that while a hubristic pride is extremely unhealthy and dangerous to your life and soul, a managed, authentic pride will give you the confidence to pursue your goals and prevent you from succumbing to the other great sins of life. Forget the fun house mirror you’ve been gaging your actions by, and seek the true wisdom and see how you actually measure in life.