Self-Centered Pride

“Guilt aims at self-destruction and pride aims at the destruction of others.” Grapevine June, 1961.

Pride, as related in the 12 Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, leads the way of the 7 Deadly Sins as being the most prevailing among alcoholics. Self-centered pride exclaims, “Why look at me! I have no pride.” Self-centered pride points fingers at the world and the people in it to wash away personal responsibility. We claimed it was someone else’s problem, anyone but ours.

Pride paints a rose-colored picture through designer lenses called “denial,” hoping to deflect any wrong-doing. Growing up as a child of angry, hostile and embittered parents, pride was secondary to breathing. It felt like I lived to escape one bad situation after another and the way I did that was to take a lead in arrogance and blamed someone else for my own indiscretions. It was comfortable living in denial with the typical response of, “It wasn’t MY Fault…”

What is the difference between Self-Centered Pride and Arrogance?

In an article in Psychology Today, printed June 29, 2014, Guy Winch Ph.D. writes in part:

“Psychologists distinguish between two kinds of pride. 

1.   Authentic pride arises when we feel good about ourselves, confident, and productive, related to socially desirable personality traits such as being agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable. 

2.   Hubristic pride sometimes referred to self-centered pride, is egotism and arrogance,  and is exhibited in undesirable traits such as being disagreeable, aggressive, having low or brittle self-esteem—and being prone to shame.”

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WE CAN DO TO OVERCOME SELF-CENTERED PRIDE?

  1. Stop denying. Anytime we deny our truth we hurt ourselves. Denial sends the message that either we are not strong enough to find our truth or we feel we are not deserving to stand up for our truth.
  • Share our truth with others so that everyone can hear in a non-threatening yet honest way.
  •  Admit our mistakes to others. Yes, we all make mistakes and thank goodness. If we never made mistakes, not only would we be in denial but self-centered pride would continue to keep us stuck, wearing the garb that protects the world from seeing we were not perfect.

  • Give Credit where Credit is Deserved. That’s right. When we were locked into the guise of pride, we would never think of deferring to others and salute their success. Why, we wanted all the glory for ourselves! We handled it all, didn’t we?
    It’s interesting how that worked. When the show came off as planned we stood up, bowed, and took credit for every aspect. But when the show plummeted, we turned to whoever was around us and spouted that it was someone else’s fault things failed!
  • Practice Active Listening. There is so much communication on any day whirling around us, we take for granted, presume we are listening when in reality, we already know how we want to respond, what it is we need to say and how we need to say it. It is as if we’ve cut the person off before they even finish their sentence.
  • Get Rid of False Beliefs: When we do not give ourselves sufficient nurturing, it is impossible for us to see the baggage we still carry around inside us, called false beliefs. We grew up with them, who knows where they came from, parents, teachers, friends. Some false beliefs are
    • I’ve been doing it this way for years:
    • I don’t need any help, I can handle it myself;
    • If it’s not broke, don’t fix it
    • No one has ever complained before now!
    • They’ll never get rid of me, they need me too much;
  • Let someone else be in charge and/or take the lead for a change. Let someone else make the decision or manage the solving of a problem.

What Is The Difference between Healthy Authentic Pride and Arrogance?

  • Pride is confidence, it is easy to see then how too much pride, as it becomes boastful, sounds like arrogance. Arrogance is insecurity wrapped up to appear to be pride.
  • Prideful individuals are aware of other people’s ability and are often sensitive to their successes.
  • Arrogant people, come from a place of strong indifference, are boastful and need to be heard with little concern for their choice of words.
  • Proud people believe in the adage that hard work is worth the wait to success, while people with arrogance expect everything to be handed to them.
  • Proud people understand their core values and sense of self. People of considered arrogance see themselves as better-than, even when and if they are not.

Arrogant People often

  1. Look down their nose on those they serve, or anyone different from them.
  2. Beat themselves up over little mistakes. …
  3. Feel anger as their first response to human frailty.
  4. Secretly manipulate, rather than openly influence others
  5. Help from a high tower position of superiority
  6. Cheat to win. …
  7. Consider people as objects to be used for personal gain.
  8. See themselves as onimopotent
  9. Judge everyone and everything
  10. Have trouble admitting they were wrong.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WE CAN DO TO OVERCOME ARROGANCE?

When we acknowledge to ourselves that we are self-centered to the max, so arrogant that we close off our thinking from the sunlight of the Spirit, what then is our solution?

The solution is prayer, meditation, and the promise of a closer relationship with our Higher Power. Step Eleven is the step we use to become right-sized and to recalibrate an over-exaggerated ego. Here we speak with our Higher Power and work collaboratively to become the person we most want to be. If you don’t know what that is, then we ask in prayer. The answers are already within us. Additionally, we strive to

  • Seek openness to others’ opinion, their way of doing things, and their suggestions. Believe it or not, there really is more than one way to connect the dots, and one way is not necessarily better than the other so long as the task gets accomplished (how important is it??)
  • Get rid of judgement. You are not judge and jury, no better nor any worse than the next.
  • Keep special attention on your own failures. We know how to recite our successes. But can we spot our failures? Yes, its true, we are not perfect.
  • Let others know about your arrogance struggle (a best friend, sponsor) so they can help to point it out to you in the rare case you neglect to see it.
  • Remain teachable! No one is above learning something new every day.
  • Laugh at yourself and not just in private! Let others ‘see’ your difficulties so others know you are just like them–imperfect but lovable.
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. Pride takes offense at a spiteful comment, humility shrugs it off.
  • Forgive ourselves first. When we lighten up on ourselves, our need to appear greater-than becomes diminished. Others spot it too. The more we work to forgive ourselves, the gentler we become with ourselves but also with those around us.

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