The root causes of pride is low self-esteem, unworthiness, and insecurity.
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7 Causes of Pride: How to be More Humble!

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Pride is rooted in deep insecurity, fear, and unworthiness. Prideful people often feel small, overlooked, insecure, powerless, and unloved. To hide those feelings from the world a prideful person puts on a false mask of perfection, confidence, and engages in attention seeking behaviors.

If you find that you are prideful there is no reason to be afraid. The truth is, a prideful person doesn’t know how powerful, amazing, and loving they are. You wouldn’t have to pretend if you truly tapped into your inner power. If you fix the underlying insecurities, and fears then it fixes the pride, which will allow you to be more humble.

What is pride?

The meaning of pride is “an unreasonable feeling of superiority as to one’s talents, beauty, wealth, rank, and so forth; to feel no need for God and be totally self-reliant; to look down on others, to feel one deserves or is entitled to certain things due to their hard-work; disdainful behavior or treatment; insolence or arrogance of demeanor; haughty bearing.” (Definition Origin: Insight Into The Scriptures)

The synonym of pride is self-image, self-regard, and self-worth. When pride goes beyond a normal expression of self celebration the synonym becomes arrogance, self-centeredness, and egocentric. The antonym of pride is humility. 

The ultimate cause of pride is trying to fix our low self-esteem, unworthiness, and fears in our own strength. Pride damages your career and relationships because you are only pretending to be confident, strong, and bold.

Related Article: In Love With A Prideful Man? 6 Helpful Tips!

30 Signs of Pride:

Too much pride has negative effects on relationships, jobs, friendships, etc. Many that struggle with pride lack support because “pride” and “ego” stop them from asking for help. They may feel afraid of vulnerability or be unwilling to feel inferior to the person giving the help.

  1. I’m concerned people can see my flaws and will think negatively about me.
  2. I manipulate the situation to make others look guilty or at fault (blame-shifting).
  3. I try to avoid feeling guilt and shame.
  4. If people don’t take my advice, they’ll regret it later.
  5. If I disagree with someone, it’s because they’re overly emotional or flawed. 
  6. I pretend I’m doing great, when I’m falling apart inside.
  7.  If there was something wrong with me, I would see it first.
  8. I have trouble trusting or listening to my leaders.
  9. I like to do or say things to ensure people think well of me (people-pleasing)
  10. I get jealous if someone is better than me.
  11. If I don’t fix a situation who will?
  12. I point out the mistakes of others because I’m annoyed
  13. I do the the right things and work really hard, so I deserve a better life, blessings, and good things (entitlement)

To see if you have the other 30 characteristics of a prideful person take the Pride Test below below.

Pride Quiz:

Take this pride test to find out if you are struggling with the spirit of pride: Am I struggling with pride?


7 Root Causes of Pride

If you grow in these seven areas it will help you to overcome pride and be more humble.

#1 Trying to fix everything.

Trying to fix everything In your own strength is prideful. I believed I could fix others. I would date men that felt worthless and unloved; I thought I would be the most powerful love they ever had. Haha! That blew up in my face twice! I learned that if a broken man can’t even love himself, my love wasn’t going to magically fix or save him!!

That attitude of feeling that I was able to save and fix everything leaked into my work life too. I would stay in jobs and situations where I felt people needed me. I thought I was the only one that could save the company or do the job that well. I would ignore toxic company culture, bad hiring practices, lack of proper training protocol and other problems. And if someone pointed out the dysfunction or complained, I would silently look down on them. I prided myself on being the perfect employee that didn’t complain and could handle every challenge.

Later, I realized that people-pleasing, pride, and codependence were my motivators. In a sense, I used these unhealthy strategies to keep situations in control and I delighted in my God-like power to do so. But, I would be overwhelmed with people’s issues because I wasn’t meant to carry someone’s pain OR try to make situations better in my own strength. 

You can’t be the ONLY ONE carrying the load. Everyone must play their part in GROWTH and HEALING.

You can’t and shouldn’t try to fix a mess yourself. Get an expert involved in your situation. Problems at work? talk to HR about the situation. Problem with family, friends, or a relationship? talk to a therapists, mentors, etc. to find inner peace. And most importantly, PRAY for God’s power to change the situation and the hearts of all involved!

#2 Fear of humility.

Fear of Humility. We need the help and support of others to thrive. Pride will stop us from allowing people to help us because we feel we should do it alone. Also, we may feel embarrassed to tell someone we need help and too prideful to take the help.

Allow yourself to be weak and accept the help. Trust that your support system wants to be there for you according to their ability. If you lack a support system, there are licensed experts such as accountants, therapists, mentors, pastors, and others that can assist you with finances, emotions, relationships, spirituality, and/or your career. And don’t worry, you will eventually be in a place where you can help others overcome the same issues you’re struggling with now.

These are internal signs that indicate you are operating in false humility: purposely trying to convince people you’re humble, a need to hold power/control, telling people how humble you are, comparing your level of humility to others, criticizing others that are confident, harboring jealousy, judging others, and having traces of self-hate.

”And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Related Article: In Love With A Prideful Man? 6 Helpful Tips

#3 Fear of Vulnerability.

Fear of Vulnerability. You can’t be afraid of what people think if you want to be humble. We can often be slow to get help OR be our true selves because we don’t want people to see our weaknesses or gain the upper hand in our lives. We may fear that they will take advantage of us, laugh at us, and hurt us. 

Vulnerability means,the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”

Ultimately, a humble person isn’t afraid of judgmental and critical people (their perspective isn’t true). Sometimes you have to release the fear of people laughing, gossiping, misunderstanding you, and trying to hurt you. The truth is, God always blesses the man that is humble, kind, and tries to do everything with honor and purity. “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

In the Bible, David was told he would be king. However, King Saul hunted him down to kill him for 4 years. David remained vulnerable by letting God protect Him and didn’t concern himself with anyone questioning if God really chose him to be king. During this time, David also had the opportunity to kill Saul and become King in his own strength. But, David kept being humble and allowed God to work it out. He didn’t give concern to people seeing his weakness and judging his situation. After 4 years, David became KING without having to sin!

Also, when Noah was building the ark before the flood – I bet everyone laughed at him. Noah spent 100 years building the ark which looks ridiculous to the human eye. Fortunately, when we trust God in uncomfortable situations it prunes us and develops humility within our lives. Also, God will teach you to trust him and not the negativity of others during this time. He will also expose your enemies and heal them of pride. Don’t judge their journey. Focus on your journey to true humility and trust God to be there for you every step of the way.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Related Article: How To Pray for Beginners!

#5 Low self-esteem.

Low Self-Esteem. Pride and arrogance are masks we wear to hide our struggle with self-hate, shame, unworthiness, guilt, and inadequacy. The mask is used to put on a perfect persona to the world. The goal is to convince everyone you’re perfect and doing better than others. Underneath the mask, I bet you’re dying inside. Vulnerability is hard for those that struggle with pride because it may hurt too much to let someone see your deep rooted self-hate.

If low self-esteem is the main cause of someone’s pride, one of the following symptoms below may be present in their behavior.

  • You may have a hard time apologizing 
  • You blame-shift and gaslight to stay in control or protect your image of perfection 
  • You may over sell yourself when you feel insecure
  • You may deal with toxic shame and guilt
  • You need to feel powerful in different situations
  • You feel good about yourself and get power from being right
  • You get annoyed by mistakes and point out the shortcomings of others
  • You change relationships and jobs quickly because you refuse to change
  • You may stay in toxic relationships or work environments because you can fix it
  • You are overly concerned with being seen as perfect, beautiful, and powerful
  • You have forgotten that your intelligence, talents, and skills are a gift to help the world

Do you feel that you don’t deserve the love of others? Or that you aren’t qualified for something because you are flawed? And, when someone gives you constructive criticism does it make you feel like you are not awesome? The truth is We don’t have to pretend to be okay. It’s okay to not have it all together. 

A great job, a beautiful partner, a lot of money in the bank, nice cars, and other things don’t make you special. You have to believe you’re worthy without  outward things to be truly confident and humble! 

Galatians 6:3: “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”  

#6 Impossible standards of perfection.

Impossible Standards of Perfection. If you struggle with excessive pride, you are probably trying to be perfect. You may feel that others will see all your flaws and judge your mistakes. So, you try to do everything flawlessly, but it never truly fills that hole and deep rooted insecurity in your heart.

When that hole remains unhealed, it manifests into judging other people for their flaws, so you can feel better. Maybe, you try to avoid people seeing your flaws, so you put the focus on someone else’s flaws? You may feel better when you point out that others are less perfect than you. You may feel that you are on top of the world and they are beneath you, which allows you to feel like you did something right. However, it hurts you that people don’t want to be around you because they feel small and judged. You shouldn’t have to be perfect to be successful. And you don’t have to be perfect to be loved and supported.

Any situation that requires you to be perfect at all times is dysfunctional.

Racism, sexism, nationalism, xenophobia, classism, anti-semitism and every system that divides people into categories and determines their self-worth are consequences of pride. If you notice, these systems tend to portray one group as more perfect, pure, and righteous. These are man made systems implemented for people to feel good about themselves and their standing with God. The human mind only wants to rank people within levels because it makes one group feel more powerful than the others.

Pride has also caused chaos in the church since the beginning of time. Some Baptists think they’re better because they’re more biblically sound than charismatics. While Charismatics often feel they are more in touch with the heart and power of God than Baptists. Ugh. Can’t we see that both are needed? Mostly all denominations bring an important characteristic of God. Can’t we work together in balance and resist Satan’s pride trap?

The truth is, there are no prayers, amount of fasting, nor man made rituals we can do to earn God’s love and power. Jesus died to remove the focus on being better than each other and legalistic perfection (Pharisee Vs. Pagans). Through Jesus, we all have EQUAL access to His power and love. The truth is, we are all weak to sin and can’t be obedient without God’s help (the Holy Spirit.) People that believe they are more loved by God and have more revelation or power than others are missing the point of the Gospel and sadly continue pride’s reign of terror. 

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are…” 1 Corinthians 1:26-28

#7 You are not all-knowing.

You are not all-knowing nor do you have supreme wisdom. I’m sure you are smart and feel you are right 99.9% of the time. But, you don’t know everything. You are wrong sometimes even if you don’t see it at the moment. People have gone through pain and darkness that you would NEVER be able to imagine. Wisdom is not one size fits all. Wisdom MUST occasionally be applied differently based on different situations! 

In the Biblical story of Job, it explains that Job’s friends were judging him because he had a series of horrible things happen to him. His friends said he was suffering because he sinned. It seems that they believed people only suffer because of sin and bad choices. God rebuked his friends and said Job was being tested because he was the MOST humble man on earth. Now, my goal is to NEVER be like Job’s friends. I never want to give advice based on what I think rather than what is actually right.

Related Article: 5 Tips On How I Overcame Sexual Sin!

I was speaking to a woman that was being sexually abused daily by the man she was living with. I’m so spoiled and privileged that I confidently suggested she move. Ha! Like she hadn’t thought of that! Most of us would judge and criticize her… And wonder what she did to earn that situation and assert she doesn’t really want to get out badly enough. She cried, “I have no where to go. I have no support and no one will take me.” I cried because I couldn’t imagine living in such a situation and feeling so stuck.

I learned that head knowledge isn’t always practical for everyone. I needed God to help me guide her. I said, “Let’s pray that He wouldn’t be able to touch you. And that God would give you an idea on how to move.” A few months after God made a way for her. AMEN!!! She is such a beautiful soul.

Now, I hesitate to give simple advice because everyone’s situation and past is different. You can do everything right and still have horrible relationships. Or you can have amazing communication which may trigger an abuser because they feel inferior and they struggle with comparison, guilt, and shame. The truth is you can follow advice and do EVERYTHING right and relationships can fail because one of these 7 reasons. I’m basically trying to say that one size doesn’t fit everyone. True wisdom is flexible and bends to fit the needs of unique situations and unique people. Be teachable, there is always more to learn.

So, don’t be quick to think you know it all — even if it seems simple. Be open to hearing what God or people have to say about things you “think” you know. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

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10 Characteristics of a Prideful Person:

  1. Insecure: You have a fragile ego that is easily hurt, offended, and triggered. You seek to hide your sensitivities from the world and exude confidence or toughness.
  2. Self Righteous: A belief that you are better than others and have been blessed because you are “special” and “worked” harder than everyone else. You criticize, judge, and come across as entitled, a know-it-all, or condescending.
  3. Controlling: Trying to control life, the actions of others, and situations means you think you are more capable than God. These characteristics makes it challenging to let go and let God.
  4. Power Hungry: You must be right all the time and be in charge or you feel insignificant.
  5. Perfectionist: You do a lot of things like fasting, praying, and working harder than others to achieve more than others. Rather than doing it for the right reasons.
  6. People Pleaser: You do things so that others or God will love or admire you more. You have to give the impression that you are worthy and amazing to others.
  7. Judgmental: You believe you did it all by yourself and no one helped you. Everyone that isn’t at your level isn’t as hardworking and dedicated as you.
  8. Rebellious: You think you know it all, so you choose paths that are often against God’s will.
  9. Boastful: Pride causes us to show off and brag.
  10. Ungrateful: Your best intentions to fix, perform, and live life can fail without God’s blessing. Don’t let your heart be deceived that you are better than others that are in hard situations. Be grateful when good things happen because you can do everything right and everything can still go wrong. It’s not your power, but the power of God when things go well because He causes all things to work together for our good. 

The prideful man or woman has to be better than everyone else so that they don’t feel small or insecure. But, you will ALWAYS fail if you try to do things by yourself and for selfish gain. You may get the earthly treasure but you will miss out on emotional happiness if you aren’t doing things from a place of humility. What are you doing by yourself? How can you be less prideful?

Related Article: Dying To Self: 4 Tips To Crucify the Flesh!

7 Steps To Overcome Pride

These six steps will help you overcome pride and become humble.

  1. Stop trying to prove others wrong. If they think you’re horrible and they’re committed to misunderstanding and judging you… let them. Keep working and going, because God will exalt the humble in the right time and he will correct the ones that shame and criticized you.
  2. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask for advice, help, and let the wisdom of others guide you. You can skip a lot of pain if you listen to the wisdom of people that have already messed up.
  3. Don’t try to be better than other people. Accept that everyone is going through something hard. Everyone has gifts and weaknesses. Use your strengths to compliment their weakness.
  4. A prideful heart must be purified. You can’t just change the behavior you have to address what you are feeling or the behaviors will continue. You should strip yourself of selfishness, fear, and every emotion that causes you to continue in pride. 
  5. Learn to love yourself. Heal from your insecurities and learn your purpose in Christ. You wouldn’t need to pretend you’re perfect if you were comfortable in your own skin. 
  6. Stop being so hard on yourself. If you mess up get back up again and start fresh tomorrow.
  7. Accept the blood of Christ. Self-help remedies for pride only gives you the tools to begin your healing journey. But, only the power of Jesus Christ can break the cycle of pride. It’s impossible to do it by yourself.  You need God to stitch up the wounds and heal the scars, miraculously.

4 Examples of Pride in the Bible:

In the Bible, the story of Saul, Moses, and Jonah are great examples of verses that explain what pride is and what selfish ambition leads to if you don’t repent – destruction or grace. God gave Pharaoh multiple chances to repent and he didn’t take it. While, God gave Saul the chance to repent and he humbled himself and changed his behavior. Remember, without repentance and changed behavior a prideful person is ultimately choosing sin.

These examples are short excerpts from the article 4 Examples Of Pride In The Bible.

1. Defiant Pharaoh

The Pharaoh was COMMANDED by God to let the Israelites go and He refused to listen despite multiple warnings. He is an example of a prideful man in the Bible because he refused to surrender despite God giving him chances to repent. Pharaoh thought he was a God. So, God showed the Pharaoh how weak He was. God defeated His “man-made” powers (sorcery). (Read more about Defiant Pharaoh)

2. Self-Righteous Saul

Saul (later renamed Paul) is another GREAT example of pride in the Bible. At first, he was so proud of being the perfect Jew and believed that He had a right to kill heretics and blasphemers (Christians) because He had the wisdom to know what God wanted. Saul’s selfish ambition and pride, caused him to be blinded to God’s love and was more focused on being right, being better than everyone, and the law. (Read more about Self-Righteous Saul)

Related Article: 4 Examples Of Pride In The Bible

3. Entitled Jonah

Jonah was the prophet of Nineveh. He was tasked with rebuking the wicked Ninevites and urging them to repent of horrendous acts.Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me” Jonah 1:2 When Jonah heard God’s request, He disobeyed and ran away which led to him getting swallowed by a whale. (Read more about Entitled Jonah)

4. Power Hungry Eve 

In Genesis, we see that pride caused the ultimate fall of mankind into sin. Eve wanted to be at the same level as God and didn’t trust God’s authority. When Satan tempted Eve, it was easy for her to be led astray because she wasn’t submissive and She wanted powerGod has said, ‘You must not eat of it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not surely die,” the serpent told her. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:3-5 (Read more about Power Hungry Eve)


Related Article: Dying To Self: 4 Tips To Crucify The Flesh!

Is Pride A Sin?

Excessive pride is a sin where we become focused on making ourselves feel better by stepping on the feelings of others. The sin of pride causes us to partner with Satan’s plan to destroy others to feel better. When we try to avoid pain and find happiness without God we feed into the plans of Satan. We are called to be filled with the spirit and allow God to protect, provide, and avenge us. 

You can avoid the sin of pride if you choose to humble yourself. To heal you must begin the process of dying to your selfishness. Even if someone hurt you, you are still not better than them nor should you gloat. God’s process of forgiveness and gentleness doesn’t make our flesh feel good in the moment, but it reaps a higher reward later. 

What does the Bible say about pride?

Here are bible verses about pride:

Don’t forget to pray and ask that God to purify a person’s heart from pride, one of the 7 deadly sins. Be concerned for their life as well as your own. “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

Related Article: 5 Secrets for Powerful Prayers That Get Answered!

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:12

What is pride?

 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” Proverbs 29:23

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” Proverbs 8:13

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16

Related Article: 4+ Ways To Defeat Unwanted Thoughts (15+ Bible Verses)

For I Know The Plans I Have For You’ Declares the Lord, ‘Plans to Prosper You and Not to Harm You, Plans to Give You Hope and a Future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” Romans 12:16

Christina Daniels is the founder of Adorned Heart. She is devoted to learning about human behavior and its affects on society. She received a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Public Policy. She hopes to use her life and academic experience to empower & heal the hearts of women!


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