This article was co-authored by Paul Chernyak, LPC. Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.
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The fact that you’re even reading this article is a sign that you’re on the right path to becoming a humbler, more mindful person. While it’s great to be confident, it’s easy to take it too far. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that you can adjust your mindset and behavior so that you can reel in the pride. In this article, we’ll walk you through the changes you can make in your life to become more balanced and understanding—not only of yourself, but of others as well.
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Acknowledging Your Pridefulness Download Article
- 1Own 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.XResearch source
- 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.
- 2Lose 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.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Business ReviewOnline and print journal covering topics related to business management practicesGo to source
- Do your best to develop a curious attitude and to take in others’ points of view.
- Work on accepting criticism as a learning experience. Taking things personally makes it difficult to reflect and improve.
- 3Practice 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.XResearch source
- 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. It can help to celebrate the success of others.
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Getting Rid of Self-Consciousness Download Article
- 1Take 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.XResearch source
- 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. It is normal and natural to make mistakes.
- 2Embrace 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.XResearch source
- 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.
- 3Stop 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.XResearch source
- Acknowledge your current beliefs but learn to question them. This will help you grow.
- 4Ask 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.XResearch source
- 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?"
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Developing Humility Download Article
- 1Share 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.XResearch source
- Vulnerability takes courage but will get easier the more you practice.
- 2Be 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.XResearch source
- 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.
- 3Praise 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.XResearch source
- 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!"
- Lifting up others also helps you lift yourself as you develop more fully as a person.
- 4Learn 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.XResearch source
- 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!
- 5Serve 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.XResearch source
- 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.
About This Article
It’s necessary to have a certain amount of pride to feel good about yourself, but if you’re too proud, you can come across as arrogant to other people. It’s important to take responsibility for your mistakes just as much as your achievements. If you do something wrong, apologize and take it as an opportunity to learn and improve yourself. Try to avoid comparing yourself to other people, since you never know their whole story. Instead, try to focus on being a better person than you were yesterday or last week. Be willing to ask for help if you’re struggling with something. Even if you’re talented and hardworking, 2 minds will always be better than 1 and you can learn something from everyone you meet! For more tips from our co-author, including how to be more mindful of your thoughts and feelings, read on!