The root causes of pride is low self-esteem, unworthiness, and insecurity.
faith,  healing,  self-love,  strength

7 Causes of Pride: How to be More Humble!

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Pride is often rooted in deep insecurity, fear, and feelings of unworthiness. Prideful individuals may often feel small, overlooked, insecure, powerless, and unloved. To conceal these feelings from the world, they put on a false mask of perfection, confidence, and engage in attention-seeking behaviors.

If you discover that you struggle with pride, there is no reason to be afraid. The truth is, a prideful person may not realize how powerful, amazing, and loving they truly are. If you tap into your inner power, you won’t need to pretend. Fixing the underlying insecurities and fears that contribute to your pride can ultimately lead to greater humility.

Want help addressing pride? I can help you! Try 20 mins of Empowerment Coaching now!

What is pride?

The ultimate cause of pride is trying to fix low self-esteem, unworthiness, and fears in your own strength. However, excessive pride can harm careers and relationships by creating a false sense of confidence, strength, and boldness.

The definition of pride refers to “an unreasonable sense of superiority in one’s talents, beauty, wealth, social rank, and other such factors; feeling no need for God and relying entirely on oneself; looking down on others; feeling entitled to certain things due to hard work; exhibiting disdainful behavior, insolence, or arrogance.” (Definition Source: Insight Into The Scriptures)

Synonyms for pride include self-image, self-regard, and self-worth. However, when pride becomes excessive, synonyms may include arrogance, self-centeredness, and egocentricity. The antonym of pride is humility.

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

30 Signs of Pride

Excessive pride can have a negative impact on relationships, jobs, friendships, and other areas of life. Many people who struggle with pride lack support because their pride and ego stop them from seeking help. They may feel afraid of being vulnerable or unwilling to appear inferior to the person offering assistance.

  1. I am concerned that people will notice my flaws and form negative opinions of me.
  2. I have a tendency to manipulate situations to make others appear guilty or at fault (blame-shifting).
  3. I try to avoid feelings of guilt and shame.
  4. I believe that if people do not take my advice, they will regret it later.
  5. When I disagree with someone, I tend to think that they are overly emotional or flawed.
  6. I often pretend that I am doing well, even when I am struggling internally.
  7. I believe that if there was something wrong with me, I would be the first to know.
  8. I struggle to trust or listen to my leaders.
  9. I have a tendency to say or do things to ensure that people think highly of me (people-pleasing).
  10. I become jealous if someone is better than me.
  11. If I do not fix a situation, I feel that no one else will.
  12. I tend to point out the mistakes of others when I am annoyed.
  13. I believe that I deserve a better life, blessings, and good things because I do the right things and work hard (entitlement).

To see if you have the other 30 characteristics of a prideful person take this pride test to find out if you are struggling with pride: QUIZ: 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 on your own is a manifestation of pride. In the past, I believed that I could fix others. I dated men who felt worthless and unloved, thinking that my love would be enough to heal them. But it didn’t work out, and I learned that if a broken man can’t even love himself, my love couldn’t magically fix or save him.

This attitude of feeling that I could save and fix everything extended to my work life as well. I would stay in jobs and situations where I felt people needed me. I thought I was the only one who could save the company or do the job that well. I would ignore toxic company culture, bad hiring practices, lack of proper training protocols, 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 who didn’t complain and could handle every challenge.

Later, I realized that my motivators were people-pleasing, pride, and codependence. These unhealthy tendencies gave me a false sense of control and I took pleasure in the illusion of god-like power they provided. However, I soon realized that trying to bear the burdens of others on my own was overwhelming and beyond my capacity.

You can’t be the only one carrying the load. Everyone must play their part.

You can’t and shouldn’t try to fix a mess by yourself. Get an expert involved in your situation. Problems at work? Talk to HR about the situation. Problems with family, friends, or a relationship? Talk to therapists, mentors, or other trusted individuals 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.

We need the help and support of others to thrive. Pride can prevent us from allowing others to help because we feel we should do it alone. We may also feel embarrassed to ask for help and too proud to accept it.

Pride can prevent us from allowing others to help because we feel we should do it alone.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable and accept help. Trust that your support system wants to be there for you to the best of their ability. If you lack a support system, licensed experts such as accountants, therapists, mentors, pastors, and others can assist you with finances, emotions, relationships, spirituality, and/or your career. And rest assured, you will eventually be in a position to help others overcome the same issues you are struggling with now.

If you struggle with pride, you may struggle with false humility. These are internal signs that indicate you are operating in false humility: intentionally trying to convince others of your humility, a need to hold power or control, boasting about your humility, comparing your level of humility to others, criticizing confident individuals, 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.

You can’t be afraid of what people think if you want to be humble. We can often be slow to seek help or show 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, or 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, or trying to hurt you. The truth is, God always blesses the person who 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 four 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 four 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 looked 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.

      Pride and arrogance are often used as masks to hide our struggles with self-hate, shame, unworthiness, guilt, and inadequacy. These masks are used to present a perfect persona to the world and to convince everyone that we’re doing better than others. However, underneath the mask, we may be struggling and dying inside. For those who struggle with pride, vulnerability can be difficult because it may be too painful to let someone see their deep-rooted self-hate.

      These masks are used to present a perfect persona to the world and to convince everyone that we’re doing better than others.

      If low self-esteem is the root cause of someone’s pride, the following symptoms 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 like you don’t deserve the love of others? Or that you aren’t qualified for something because of your flaws? And when someone gives you constructive criticism, do you feel like you’re not awesome? The truth is, you 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 that you’re worthy without external things to truly be 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.

      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. However, it never truly fills the 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. 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. Sometimes you are wrong even if you don’t realize it. People have gone through pain and darkness that you could never imagine. Wisdom is not one-size-fits-all; it must be applied differently based on different situations.

      In the Biblical story of Job, his friends judged him when he experienced a series of terrible events. They said he was suffering because he sinned, as if people only suffer because of their bad choices. However, God rebuked his friends and said Job was being tested because he was the most humble man on earth. My goal is to never be like Job’s friends and give advice based on my opinions rather than what is right.

      I once spoke to a woman who was being sexually abused daily by the man she was living with. Being spoiled and privileged, 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. I felt heartbroken for her. I realized that head knowledge isn’t always practical for everyone, and I needed God to help me guide her. I prayed that He would protect her and give her an idea on how to move. A few months later, God made a way for her. She is a beautiful soul.

      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 struggle with comparison, guilt, and shame. The truth is, you can follow advice and do everything right, but relationships can still fail due to one of these seven reasons. One size doesn’t fit everyone. True wisdom is flexible and bends to fit the needs of unique situations and people. Be teachable, as 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

       

      10 Characteristics of a Prideful Person:

      1. Insecure: You may have a fragile ego that is easily hurt, offended, or triggered. You might try to hide your sensitivities from the world by projecting confidence or toughness.
      2. Self-righteous: Believing that you are better than others and have been blessed because you are “special” and worked harder than everyone else can lead to criticism, judgment, entitlement, or condescension.
      3. Controlling: Wanting to control life, the actions of others, and situations may suggest that you think you are more capable than God. This characteristic can make it difficult to let go and let God.
      4. Power-hungry: Feeling the need to be right all the time and be in charge may stem from a desire to avoid feeling insignificant.
      5. Perfectionist: Engaging in behaviors such as fasting, praying, and working harder than others to achieve more may not always be for the right reasons.
      6. People-pleaser: Doing things to earn the love or admiration of others or God can stem from a desire to feel worthy or amazing.
      7. Judgmental: Believing that you did everything by yourself and that nobody helped you can lead to judgment of those who are not at your level of hard work and dedication.
      8. Rebellious: Thinking you know it all and choosing paths that go against God’s will can be a result of rebelliousness.
      9. Boastful: Pride can cause you to show off or brag.
      10. Ungrateful: Remember that you cannot always fix, perform, or live life on your own without God’s blessings. Be grateful when good things happen because, even if you do everything right, things can still go wrong. Acknowledge that the power of God 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.

      Free empowerment coaching to help you go deeper spiritually and achieve your goals.
      1. Accept the blood of Christ. Self-help remedies for pride only provide tools to begin the healing process. Only the power of Jesus Christ can break the cycle of pride. It’s impossible to do it alone; you need God to heal your wounds and scars miraculously.
      2. Stop trying to prove others wrong. If they think you’re horrible and are committed to misunderstanding and judging you, let them. Keep working and moving forward because God will exalt the humble in due time and correct those who shame and criticize you.
      3. Don’t try to do everything by yourself. Seek advice, help, and let the wisdom of others guide you. You can avoid a lot of pain by listening to people who have already learned from their mistakes.
      4. Don’t try to be better than others. Accept that everyone is going through their own struggles, and everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths to complement others’ weaknesses.
      5. A prideful heart must be purified. Changing behavior alone is not enough; you must also address the underlying emotions that drive your pride. Strip yourself of selfishness, fear, and any emotion that fuels pride.
      6. Learn to love yourself. Heal from your insecurities and discover your purpose in Christ. If you were comfortable in your own skin, you wouldn’t need to pretend to be perfect.
      7. Stop being so hard on yourself. If you make a mistake, get back up and start fresh the next day.

      38 Examples of Pride in the Bible:

      Some examples of pride in the Bible are shown in the stories of Pharaoh, Saul, Jonah, and Eve.

      • Pharaoh was too proud to surrender and repent despite God giving him multiple chances, which ultimately led to his defeat.
      • Saul, also known as Paul, was blinded by his self-righteousness and pride, which made him focus more on the law and being better than everyone rather than God’s love.
      • Jonah was entitled and disobedient to God’s request to rebuke the wicked Ninevites, and his pride led to him being swallowed by a whale.
      • Eve’s desire for power and lack of submission to God’s authority caused the fall of mankind into sin.

      These stories show that pride and selfish ambition lead to destruction and separation from God, but humbling oneself and repenting can lead to grace and redemption.

      Related Article: 4 Examples Of Pride In The Bible

      Is Pride A Sin?

      Excessive pride is a sin that involves prioritizing our own feelings at the expense 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
      • 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
      • 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)

      What is pride?
      • 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
      • “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

      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!

      52 Comments

      • Lucy

        While pride causes us to filter out the evil we see in ourselves, it also causes us to filter out God’s goodness in others. We sift them.

      • Jasmine McCutcheon

        this really helped me so much. it may have been simple but something that has really been holding me back. I always thought pride was just thinking i was better than others (which i don’t) or not accepting help (which i do) but i did not know all of the other things…and i do a few of those. so thank you!

        • Christina Daniels

          I’m so glad to hear that this article helped you. Keep being amazing and feel free to reach out if I can help with anything else :)!

        • Omobolaji Bolaji

          Please can I ask for your support in prayer for God to deliver me. I need from pride. Pride is so evil and can dress itself like humility, it comes across very suttle. It’s something I have struggled with soooo badly.
          Thank you for your post, will definitely share this.

          • Christina Daniels

            Of course, your request for prayer is both brave and heartfelt. I will absolutely keep you in my thoughts and prayers, asking for God’s guidance and strength to help you overcome the challenges posed by pride. It’s true that pride can often disguise itself as humility, but with faith and self-awareness, you can make significant progress in this journey towards self-improvement and spiritual growth.Thank you for your kind words about the post, and your willingness to share it is greatly appreciated. I’ll continue to pray. ????????

      • Sandy

        I had not ever thought insecurities were prideful. How do I learn to accept my limited abilities and use them for God’s glory?

        • Deniece

          Thank you for this article. I have struggled with pride for most of my life. This is the clearest breakdown of what it is that I’ve seen. Thank you for helping me better understand the root of my problem.

          • Christina Daniels

            You’re very welcome! I’m delighted to hear that the article provided clarity on the issue of pride and helped you better understand its root causes. Self-awareness is a crucial step in personal growth and overcoming challenges. If you have any more questions or need further insights on this topic or any other, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Keep on your path of self-improvement, and I wish you all the best in your journey!

        • Christina Daniels

          Dave, I’m so happy this helped. This article is a reflection of God stripping me of pride… so I understand! xoxo

        • Christina Daniels

          Pride is soooooo sneaky! I didn’t know I had pride till God pointed it out! Thanks for the commentary Francis, we are being pruned and perfected 🙂

        • Christina Daniels

          Wow thanks for your feedback.. You made my day and I’m happy this was helpful 🙂 xoxo Christina Daniels

      • Oladayo Victor

        I was so excited with this spiritually inclined article. I have been battling with pride lately stemmed from low self-esteem.but this article really help ma healing process rapidly..God bless you ma.

        • Christina Daniels

          Hi Victor! I’m very happy this was helpful and sped up your healing process! Bless you my dear brother in Christ!

      • Pat

        This is a fantastic article and really spoke to me! I love how you define pride — what an eye-opener!!! But we don’t want to trust in experts (man) we want to trust in God to change our hearts and heal us. Thank you for a insightful article.

        • Christina Daniels

          Thanks for the love Pat! That’s for sure — experts are suppose to help us remove roadblocks that keep us from trusting God! We should always seek experts by Holy Spirits direction (to find the right ones), so it doesn’t become an unhealthy and idolatrous partnership! Bless you!

      • Chidinma Nsiegbunam

        Pride is one thing we were raised with but I see it destroying me in the future because I see it act and speak through me. Thank you so much for breaking it down to the basics.

        • Christina Daniels

          Hello Chidinma, You’re welcome! Pride is so sneaky and it’s great that you’ve recognized it (that’s VERY humble). I’m praying that your growth journey is blessed. Xoxo

      • Iloke Innocent

        This is mind blowing. Thanks for this. It met me really well. I must confess, I have to take this practically little by little to amend well. God bless you. Thanks for the article.

      • OLU

        I’ve experience most of this all & prayed tirelessly to God for he’s intervention with my struggle to get rid of pride in my life. I believe & hoping on God for he’s gift of humility.

      • Peace Nasasiira

        Waaaawooooo so wonderful.
        I have finally got the answer to all the questions I have been having pride.
        Thank you so much Daniels
        May the almighty God bless you

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