There are a lot of people around nowadays who seem to have a great fear of being arrogant. Maybe they have been accused of being conceited or full of themselves. Maybe they are genuinely successful people, and they are concerned that their success will go to their heads and they will develop ugly, boastful character traits.
Therefore, to counteract the above tendency many people try to strive towards humility. But what does that mean? Often, it’s interpreted to mean that you need to think that you’re not so great, that others are better than you, to feel simple and lowly, and that will prevent you from being arrogant. But unfortunately, there are several problems with this approach. First of all, it doesn’t seem very pleasant to consider yourself to be a lowly nobody who is inferior to everybody else! How could that be the path to happiness? Furthermore, you may indeed be a very uniquely successful person, and you may have actually achieved many notable things that are indeed superior to many others in certain areas. It certainly doesn’t seem truthful, accurate or helpful to consider yourself lowly, incompetent or inferior. So therefore, what is the true secret for how to be confident without being arrogant?
Please forgive me but in order for me to present my approach to humility, I must talk about a higher power such as an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
I truly believe it is impossible to be truly and admirably humble without bringing Him into the picture. So if you are uncomfortable talking about the idea of God, then this article may not exactly be for you.
Therefore I am truly convinced that the secret to true and healthy humility, is not to think of yourself as lowly or inferior, but to actually be keenly aware of your own greatness, including your accomplishments and qualities of character. You can and should be cognizant of your amazing successes and your unique grandeur. However you need to qualify that by saying, “Who is ultimately responsible for all of my greatness? My higher power, God!” If you really think about it you will see that the truth is, although you have worked very hard to get to where you are, God did 99 percent of the work! Who created and is constantly maintaining the creation of your brain to think? Did you ever notice when you sit down to do some work, that often amazing ideas seem to pop into your head out of nowhere, including the solutions to many difficult problems? Where do those ideas come from? From God of course! Who is maintaining and regulating all the smooth details of your business while you sleep? Isn’t is God himself? If you think about it you will see that it is much more likely that you could have failed at many points during your journey, but there were many small miracles that all had to fall in to place for you to get to where you are today, and He performed them all for you out of the kindness of his heart! Therefore, true humility means you need to think, “I am great, maybe compared to a lot of other people, but I am nothing compared to God! He is a billion times smarter, kinder and more successful that me. Look at this amazing world he maintains! Look at how many acts of kindness he performs for me. The trick is to constantly lay your consciousness on the exaltedness of God compared to yourself and you will feel exceedingly humble, despite your honest recognition of your own greatness!
The power of infinity
Now what is the most essential, striking difference between God and man? It’s that man is finite and limited in all his qualities, but God is infinite in every quality that a being could possible have! That makes Him extremely different from us! So how does this concept help you with humility? Let’s say you are the wisest, most brilliant person on earth. You possess, let’s say 1 trillion pieces of unique deep wisdom. And here you have another man, who is the simplest of folks. He only possesses one single piece of wisdom in his little mind. You are way above him, you possess a trillion more. But where are you compared to God? He actually possesses infinite wisdom and knowledge! Therefore how much wiser is he than you? - infinitely wiser, the distance between a trillion and infinity is infinity. And how much wiser is He that that simple man? Also the same infinitely wiser! So it turns out that with all your wisdom, compared to God, you are just as ignorant as this simpleton! Keeping this in mind will help you maintain your humility. You have to remember God is the creator and we are the created. He is the only one who possesses true, intrinsic existence, and is independent. We are totally dependent on him, and if he were to stop creating us for one instant, we would simply disappear! Therefore despite all our greatness, we are truly nothing compared to his intrinsic truth. And that brings us to God’s great kindness, that even though we are essentially nothing compared to him, he bequeathed us with a little bit of his infinite greatness. Therefore keep in mind His infinity and it will help you with how to be confident without being arrogant.
Gratitude for God’s kindness leads to humility
There’s another way that recognizing your own greatness leads to true humility. When you demonstrate gratitude to a benefactor, that leads directly to humility. If you were starving and someone gave you food, a home and a livelihood, you would and should be very grateful to that benefactor, and it would be difficult to be arrogant towards him. Therefore, one of the key paths to humility, is to recognize your great gratitude to God for all the millions of kindnesses he does for you all day, every day. But not only for your basic needs, God provides you the opportunity to achieve your own success, and become a kind and noble, and even an exalted individual. Therefore the more you realize how great and successful you are, even compared to other people, the more you will be grateful to God and therefore the more humble you will be! That’s the secret, to recognize your unique greatness but don’t take credit for it yourself, give credit and gratitude to God!
How to be confident without being arrogant: Becoming a servant of mankind
There’s even another path to utilizing your own greatness to achieve humility. Let’s say you are a brilliant, wealthy and powerful businessman. You need to say, “Why did God give me all of this power and success? So I could do generous kind deeds and help my fellow man! Therefore I am going to make the goal of my success to humbly serve God by using my abilities and power to humbly serve my fellow man! And that’s including my children, family, friends and community.” In this way the more you are great and successful at helping others, the more humble you will become. The goal of helping others invigorates your business with tremendous vision and vitality. People who have humble goals of helping others, as opposed to self-aggrandizement are generally overall much more successful!
By the way Americans have a special place in the world in this regard.
Although I am American born and raised, I lived for 6 years as an adult abroad in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South America. So I know how Americans compare to others around the globe. Americans are naturally much kinder. Americans are obsessed with kindness! We want to help everyone! So that’s great but you need to remember one important rule in kindness: only spend your kind energy on good and kind people. If someone says, “I’m poor, give me charity!” and you give him 100 dollars, and he uses that money to buy a gun and rob people, did you do kindness? If you are kind to someone and he uses your kindness to buy crack and destroy his own life, is that true kindness? No. You must be selective of your recipients and only invest your energy in kind, noble, honest individuals who will use your charity to themselves perform more kindness and good deeds.
There is plenty more to discuss on this topic. If you would like to discuss it further, I might suggest you email me.
Please feel free to peruse my fascinating blog, or view my videos. If you are struggling with the question of how to be confident without being arrogant, and would like guidance or treatment from a kind, wise NYC psychotherapist feel free to chat with me in the chat box, or call me directly at 646-681 1707 for a complementary 15-minute consultation. I look forward to speaking with you!