At first glance, being prideful may appear as a strength. In truth, pride is synonymous with self-praise and self-importance, which means prideful people may have difficulty seeing their own shortcomings. If you are prideful, you may view yourself as better than others. In the end, pride can ruin relationships and stump self-growth. Overcome your pride by acknowledging this bad habit, eliminating self-consciousness, and replacing it with humility.
Acknowledging Your Pridefulness
- Own up to your mistakes. If you are a prideful person, you may have trouble admitting when you’re wrong. In a way, everyone has some difficulty taking ownership for mistakes. You might deny responsibility because the act of “being wrong” doesn’t align with your self-concept. But admitting you’re wrong is not a weakness—it’s simply a part of being human.
- Learn to admit the mistake, and apologize/rectify when you’re wrong. Simply say, “I apologize; that was my mistake.” Doing so will help you retain relationships and may even benefit your personal growth.
- Lose the defensiveness. In a way, excessive pride places you on shaky ground because you’re always fearful of losing favor or status. Because of this instability, you might be quick to defend. Defensiveness makes you appear inflexible and insecure. It also shuts down the lines of communication.
- Instead of jumping to defensiveness, pause. Don’t follow your instincts, which are to defend. Take a few deep breaths. Agree—to a degree—by saying “Yes, and…” This is preferable to “Yes, but,” which comes off as defensive. Then, try to work with the other person to brainstorm an effective solution that doesn’t jeopardize the relationship.
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness allows you to slow down and connect with the present moment. It brings awareness to your thoughts and can help you notice your prideful thoughts and reactions. Start a mindfulness practice to notice and eventually accept those parts of yourself.
- You can activate mindfulness during times when your pride is in control. For example, you feel threatened by a coworker who is doing outstanding work. You might slow down and tune into your thoughts and feelings. Remember that you don't have to see others' success as a threat. Think of ways you can learn from the person instead.
Getting Rid of Self-Consciousness
- Take more risks. Pride makes you self-conscious. As a result, you’re less likely to do anything that will upset your status. You may avoid doing anything that will cause people to judge you, which may involve not taking any risks or trying new things.
- Identify one thing you would like to learn or do, and make a plan to get started within the next week. Don’t overthink it, just do it.
- As you engage in this challenging activity, focus on how you feel to be defying your self-consciousness. Refrain from giving any thought to others’ opinions or judgments. If you make a mistake, embrace it as a part of your development.
- Embrace constructive criticism. Prideful people rarely seek out feedback. Yet, getting another point-of-view at times is the only way to maintain an accurate perspective of yourself. Make a commitment to start seeking out, and using, constructive criticism.
- To start, ask a few friends or colleague to give an honest list of three traits they admire about you and then three traits where you might need to do some work. Don’t defend. Say, “Thank you,” and see how you can use their suggestions for your personal growth.
- Stop comparing. When you compare, you are searching for some way that you are better than others. As a prideful person, you may tie your self-worth to what you have or what you’ve done. The healthiest form of self-worth, however, is connected to who you are. It’s not reliant on achievements or belongings.
- All humans are essentially worthy because they are alive. You don’t have to compare yourself to others. Instead, recognize your core value as a person. If you must repeat affirmations like “I am worthy” or “I have value simply because I am.”
- Ask questions. Pride and self-consciousness often delude you into thinking you know all there is to know. And, if you don’t, you wouldn’t dare tell anyone. Overcome pride by admitting that you don’t have all the answers. Be okay with saying “I don’t know.” And, have the courage to ask questions to expand your thinking.
- For instance, you're in class and the professor asks you a question. Your typical reaction when you don't know something might be to become defensive. Instead you might say, "I'm not sure. Can you help me understand?"
- Share your imperfections. If pride rules you, you probably have difficulty admitting your shortcomings. Take an exercise in vulnerability and start disclosing your imperfections. You may find that others are more attracted to you. Plus, you are in a better position to offer feedback without coming off as haughty.
- This doesn’t have to be some big revelation. You can start small. The next time you hear someone else being vulnerable—say someone says “Oh, how I have trouble resisting sweets!”—if you can relate to them, say so. Don’t hold yourself back from developing deeper connections in an effort to appear perfect.
- Be open to different points-of-view. Actively listen. You can learn something from everyone, even people who appear to be beneath you. If you adopt the belief that what you have to say is more valuable than what others have to say, you’ll push others away. This approach will also severely limit your growth options.
- Even if someone approaches you with a far-out idea, show them the respect of listening. Who knows, perhaps half-way through their spiel, you might start to see the genius of their plan.
- Praise others. Whether in your professional or personal life, it pays to share the spotlight. Sometimes, prideful people are hesitant to let others shine. You may think that it will diminish your own achievements. It won’t. Give credit where it’s due. And, when you see something positive in someone else, tell them.
- For instance, if you notice that a friend appears to be really good at writing, say so. Say, “Wow, I always thought I was the writer of the bunch, but you got some skills, Terry. This is awesome!”
- Learn to ask for help. Humble people understand that everyone, at some point, needs a hand. Prideful people, however, may attempt to do it all themselves, pretending that they don’t need others. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, if it reduces suffering and promotes collaboration, it’s a smart thing to do.
- Take baby steps by asking others to help you when you are in need. This could be as simple as asking someone ahead of you to hold the door or telling a friend you could use a listening ear. Notice how receptive people are to your requests—people like to help out!
- Serve others rather than being served. Being humble doesn’t translate to putting others before you at the cost of self. Rather it simply means not being so focused inwardly that you miss opportunities to serve. Turn your focus outward and identify how you can serve and connect with others, as equals.
- The next time you see someone struggling, offer them a hand. Ask your coworker, partner, or friend, “Is there anything I can do to make your day better?”
- You can also serve by volunteering your time in the local community.
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