THE FOLLY OF PRIDE AND THE GRACE OF HUMILITY

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?’

Remember this line from the story of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’? A lovely tale that I enjoy to this day! Snow White’s stepmother, the evil queen, was so proud of her beauty that she flew into a furious rage to hear her magic mirror say that Snow White was more beautiful than her and plotted to kill Snow White. It’s another thing that the story has a happy ending (as most stories do) with Snow White in the arms of a charming prince and the evil queen banished from the kingdom.

Simply put, pride is the feeling of ‘I am better than others’. This feeling may creep in owing to the knowledge one possesses, the success one achieves, the looks (beauty) one has, the successful relationships one enjoys, the riches and material possessions one has in the coffers, the sound health that one has or the skills one possesses. Pride is an abstract intangible destructive mental construct that often finds expression in behavioural paradigms.

The more one dwells on ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘My’ and ‘Mine’, the more haughty one becomes. There is a fine line between the feeling of satisfaction/contentment/happiness and pride. To feel happy, contented and satisfied about something is beneficial and propels one for further good. However, pride never leads to beneficial consequences. That is why, pride is not to be harboured.

  • Pride enshrouds Reality – Reality says that there are many others better than me. But, the more I dwell upon a ‘me’ that I think is the best, the more ignorance I feign of my true identity. And so I learn to live in a bubble which stays put for a short while.  
  • Pride averts Acceptance – Since I mask my true identity, I evade acceptance of certain infallible truths about me. This lack of acceptance leads to a state of cognitive dissonance which leads to errant decision making.
  • Pride arrests Progress – Progress in any area of life is the product of an honest assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Pride refuses to acknowledge weaknesses by camouflaging them and hoisting a pretentious facade of strengths. And so, roadblocks to progress are bound to appear sooner or later. All forward movements stop. There occurs either a standstill or backward drift.
  • Pride precedes Failure – ‘Pride goes before a fall’ is a well-known adage that withstood the test of times. A haughty person may not experience immediate failure. In fact, that is what keeps him/her proud. However, the bubble is due to burst in time and the downward spiral begins. The Bible says, “. . . whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased . . .”
  • Pride is a Sin and leads to sin – No matter how less or more debilitating the consequences of pride, it must be understood that pride is a sin. Pride is an offense against God. Anything good that one thinks to be proud of is a blessing of God. It is easy to think with our finite minds that many accomplishments in life are the outcomes of our own efforts. But, it is mere foolishness to harbour such thoughts! If I have a melodious voice/ good looks and am praised for it, the glory belongs to the One who has made my voice or looks so – and not to me who is a mere carrier of the voice or looks, because I have not created any atom of myself. To take the glory of God upon oneself is a sin. Not only is pride a sin, it leads to further sinful acts, just like the evil queen in the Snow White story was proud enough of her beauty so as to attempt to have Snow White killed. Pride cannot tolerate competition. Hence, cheating, lying, deceit, murders, and crimes occur as after effects of pride.

A wise king once wrote a proverb –Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.

At the opposite end of the continuum is humility. To be humble simply means to be unassuming and down-to-earth. Humility doesn’t mean being a doormat. Humility is an attitude of the heart which does not hoist ‘self’ on a pedestal. A humble person doesn’t live by ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘My’ and ‘Mine’. S/he doesn’t beat her/his own drum doesn’t do things to earn self-glory nor causes harm to others for self-gain.

Humility is a virtue scarce in the world today. Many motivational speakers give the suggestion that one needs to project himself/herself before others at any cost, because no one else will bother to put him/her in the limelight. True, we are living in a world where there is a mad rush for recognition and prominence. But, have we ever spared a thought, who are we demanding the recognition from? From people, organizations, authorities, society? None of these recognitions would last forever. Today’s dignitary is tomorrow’s statistic.

It is foolishness to harbour pride and enjoy momentary glory than to go unnoticed in favour of eternal recognition and glory. Our journey on earth is just a small lap of the extensive journey of eternity. To be recognized and acknowledged by our Maker at the end of this earthly journey would be a thrill to bask in for eternity.

One cannot learn to be humble from any of the self-help books on the shelves. A humble spirit is one that thrives on constant acknowledgment of God over self. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Isn’t God’s favour of much more worth than the accolades of men that pride would earn? It surely would give more contentment to receive the applause of God, which seems elusive but is a certainty.

Humility is an attribute perceived by onlookers, never identified or endorsed by self. Watch out for a person who says of himself/herself, “I am a humble person”. S/he is definitely not!

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” – THE BIBLE

Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.
– ANDREW MURRAY

WHAT IS ARROGANCE & WHAT IT CAN DO TO A PERSON? WHAT THE GREAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT IT?

Finally, we came to the end of another fruitful week discussing about pride and arrogance. Though the size of readers is less this week but we did have some good write-ups posted throughout. 

All the previous articles can be found HERE together starting from the Mega Article to Final Words.

Tonight, I am bit arrogant to write anything on arrogance… Lol 😉

But actually I don’t want to talk about it when the great people and the people around the world have spoken so much about arrogance. I have mentioned them as follows:

“You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.”  George Clooney

“Arrogance is a creature. It does not have senses.
It has only a sharp tongue and the pointing finger.”  Toba Beta

There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.” ― John C. Maxwell

Arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence. Not a pretty cocktail of personality traits in the best of situations. No sirree. Not a pretty cocktail in an office-mate and not a pretty cocktail in a head of state. In fact, in a leader, it’s a lethal cocktail.”  Graydon Carter

Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.”  Sydney J. Harris

Love measures our stature: the more we love, the bigger we are. There is no smaller package in all the world than that of a man all wrapped up in himself.”  William Sloane Coffin

He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.”  George Eliot

The last quote by George Eliot was my favourite from the lot above. What arrogance can do to the people, we really can’t imagine. Is there any comparison between a cock and the sun? Yet, arrogance made the cock to think that the sun rises to hear it crow. Funny, isn’t it?

Friends, keep reading, keep pondering on these articles, snippets and quotes…

Stay Blessed!

(Quotes are collected from  - http://www.wisdomquotes.com, 
http://www.goodreads.com & http://www.brainyquote.com) 

WHAT IF LIFE GAVE YOU AN DESERVING OPPORTUNITY TO BE ARROGANT? WOULD YOU?

Our topic this week is haughty eyes – or pride – or arrogance, you know the drill.

But let me flip it for you a little. What if a situation gave you FULL authority to be proud, to show your authority over another? What would you do then?

The answer lies in this wonderful little video that went viral a couple of months ago – it is about a judge passing a sentence to a man convicted of burglary theft.

As he was about to leave, the judge asked him if he went to a particular school. Immediately he recognised her and broke into uncontrollable sobs. They were classmates in the same school while growing up. One became a convict, another a judge. Imagine this situation.

The thing is, she could have chided him – gloated about where she has reached in life, and where he was, a convicted burglar.

She didn’t.

Rather, she gently told him, “I hope you can change your ways, you were the nicest kid.” Hearing that the man burst into tears, only managing to say, “Oh my goodness…!”

Thanks to this kind and humble judge, there is a good chance that the man will possibly mend his ways and turn to an honest life.

Watch the video – and keep a box of tissues nearby. You will need it.

NO ONE IS BEST BUT ME

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘haughty‘ as being blatantly or disdainfully proud or which in simple terms mean having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter or more important than other people.

No doubt being haughty or rather having haughty eyes is considered to be one among the seven things hated by Lord Almighty. The eyes are the mirror to the heart. It is believed that if one looks into the eyes the mechanisms of the heart could be understood. So it also means, if a person has haughty eyes, the overall attitude of his heart is to look down upon and scorn others.

Now this is something we really don’t want to encounter. Haughtiness or pride is spontaneous and this gives rise to a host of other sins.

What causes a person to be haughty?

Friends, it can be anything one does best or a possession but the biggest thing that triggers haughtiness is a consideration that ‘I am above all’. A haughty person acknowledges less and attributes his blessings, his successes all to himself. A feeling that ‘no one is best but me’ empowers the heart of a haughty person. He or she doesn’t think for a second time to lie, shed innocent blood and spread violence. All this is done only to be at the top.

The scriptures speak about such people who wanted to be at the top. Lucifer, Nimrod, Belshazzar, King Saul were among them. The result of such arrogance is nothing but downfall.

The philosophy behind terrorism is haughtiness. Certain people are proud of the way they profess their love for their religion. Professing love for God without humility is not righteousness.

Haughtiness only leads to downfall as the person is concerned with gathering treasures of the Earth which is passing away.

The real treasure lies in not staying at the top but acknowledging the Most High and in building relationships of a healthy kind with your fellow beings in encouragement and motivation.

Now that’s called making a difference.

SELF-RESPECT IS VITAL BUT EGO IS DANGEROUS

“No matter what you have achieved in life; no matter who you are, if you are arrogant – it all goes down the drain.”

I read this somewhere as a child and it stuck a cord inside me. I understood to the core that there is no reason or excuse to be arrogant – and I never took that path. Rather I went to the other extreme. I was too humble, so much that I allowed people to step over me and use me like a doormat. I was a low confident child who also suffered from being bullied. With time and age I understood the real meaning of ego, arrogance and how it is different from respecting yourself – and this is what I want to write about.

“I can do this job very well” is self-respect and confidence. “Only I can do this job and nobody else is as smart to do it” is arrogance and over-confidence. Self respect says that I should be valued exactly the way I value others and myself. Humility says I will always value others for what they deserve. Humility says that every human being is special and has certain qualities that I can get inspired from. Ego says that I am supreme and nobody else is better than me.

What happens when you don’t respect yourself enough? The world doesn’t respect you either and you get treated like a doormat. What happens when you are arrogant and egotistic? The world doesn’t respect you yet again because you don’t respect the world. The only way to be in harmony with the world is to respect yourself and others. One should be humble enough to say that I love myself and my world; I respect myself and my people; I will take care of myself and people around me; I will continue to find inspirations to be a better person and will inspire others to be better as well; I believe that I am special and so is every other human being.

So, understand the thin line between self respect and ego that we all have to watch out for – where one is vital and other is dangerous.

WHY DON’T YOU JUST FLIP THE COIN?

A coin has two sides. And we always look at the side facing us and not the other.

Its a weird sentence to start with. But though we live in a simple world its our own emotions that complicate everything around. As much as we appear to be sensible and confident there is always that insecurity and vulnerability that is seeded deep within us and we cannot shake it off. It’s a feeling that never goes away. It is this deep rooted feeling that gives birth to our ugly side. The façade that we put on for the world to see. The arrogance, the ego, the pride , the vanity… All to  keep the world at bay, so that nobody peers close enough to look at how utterly lost you.

How unbelievable beat down you feel. The haughty eyes hide the fear underneath that if we show our real self we won’t be accepted for who we are, that we will be mocked and be called weak or naive. So we do the same to everybody around. We mock them, judge them. Because how dare they… how dare they have the guts to do what we failed at…?

So like I said, two sides of the same coin. Two stories of the same person. One arrogant and the other  lost. One proud and the other insecure. One egoistic and the other vulnerable. Simple life but complicated beings.

So food for your thoughts is how much better would it be if we just drop the act… Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we just flip the coin and show what we are really made of…? ‘A Scared bunch of people with a good heart and kind soul…!’

HOW THREE SISTERS LED HUMANITY TO DESTRUCTION?

I want to tell you a story about three sisters and their mother.

Arrogance, Pride & Ego are three very good sisters. And their beloved mother is Selfishness (Self  in short). Ego is the eldest daughter of Selfishness, Pride is second and the third one is Arrogance. Ego & Pride usually initiate and plan things in obedience to their mother Selfishness and Arrogance implements it publicly.  They never care for anybody. They don’t think what people will feel or how their actions can affect others. They only care about themselves and their mother, Self.

These three sisters continued these acts daily to please their mother, Self. They never restrained themselves to do what they wanted to do.

A day came when people started to avoid their mother, Selfishness. She was unable to understand why people were avoiding her and her daughters. She became isolated from all her friends and society. She became all alone. Self was the strength of her three daughters. Thus, they became very feeble and weak along with their mother. 

Finally, a day came when Self was found dead in her own apartment along with her three daughters. They all committed suicide.

What a sad end to the family of Self or Selfishness and her three daughters?

Truly, arrogance, pride and ego have destroyed many people. They have initiated quarrels and wars among families  and nations. They are on the verge of destroying the whole human kind.

There are two Greek forms of the word arrogance used in the Bible. One is Huperogkos means “swelling” or “extravagant” used to describe  “arrogant words.” The second one is Phusiosis, meaning a “puffing up of the soul” or “loftiness, pride.”

Gotquestions.com describes: “Arrogance is nothing more than an overt display of one’s sense of self-importance (2 Timothy 3:2). It is akin to that “it’s all about me” mindset that says, “The world revolves around me” (Proverbs 21:24).” 

Who will accept you when you try to declare that you are everything and everything should go according to you? The answer is known to us: “NOBODY.”

I saw this video on Youtube which made me feel scared. Click the link bellow to have a glance: 

Stay Blessed