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9 Signs You Might Be Arrogant and Not Know It

Being the #1 most arrogant person in the world, I figure that makes me the world’s topmost leading expert on the subject.

Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels

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Note: This article was originally published on the Honestly Thinking blog.

I am the most arrogant person in the world.

Really, it’s true. Don’t believe me? Then clearly you aren’t nearly as intelligent or wise as me to be able to figure it out.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: The Dead Do Tell Tales

And being the #1 most arrogant person in the world, I figure that makes me the world’s topmost leading expert on the subject.

The truth is God has really been kicking my butt over the last few years (especially this last year), progressively revealing my level of arrogance. Like peeling layers of an onion (each producing a few more tears), I’ve come to discover areas of egotism I never knew existed before.

We are all familiar with the braggadocios, narcissistic personality types – the ones who very openly make every conversation and outward action about themselves. But what we are not as acquainted with is the much more subtler symptoms of pride – the ones that often go undetected but are ultimately just as destructive to you and those around you.

In discovering these signs, I’ve learned that they are detectable when you analyze your motivations and ask yourself if they are centered around one or more of the following: self-importance, self-preservation, or self-empowerment. Each one, of course, makes it all about you. And as I’ve come to find out, I’ve made life a lot more about me than I previously realized.

The thing is, while you will never surpass me in arrogance (not even close), it’s possible that as you analyze the three motivators in relation to your life, you might discover you too have arrogance and didn’t realize it.

Thus, I present to you at least 9 Signs You Might be Arrogant and Not Know It:

#1: You are a perfectionist.

Your value and self-importance are entirely centered around maintaining perfection in every aspect of your life. For others to see you fail would be an embarrassment to who you are. It is a chaotic world we live in, so you find yourself frequently going into self-preservation mode rather than risk allowing anything that might threaten your perfectly controlled little world.

#2: Others are afraid to be themselves around you.

A side-effect of your perfectionism is the devastating wake it leaves on those close to you. You see any imperfections in them as potentially introducing chaos into your controlled world, so you judge them. Even if you never outwardly express those judgments, they sense it. Besides, they witness the perfections you demand of yourself, so they assume you demand the same of them. The result is those around you are intimated by you and never feel safe to reveal their failures or be themselves.

#3: You are a people-pleaser.

People-pleasing feels like a selfless act. After all, what can be more servant-like than to bring joy to others? But the truth is it gives you a sense of empowerment to make others feel happy. In addition, people-pleasing is frequently self-preservational as it becomes a way of maintaining the peace. A good sign these are your motivators is you become depressed or anxious when others aren’t happy – meaning it was really more about you than them. The only way to truly be a loving servant is to be willing to speak and act out in truth regardless of the other person’s response.

#4: You are shy.

Another tricky one because shyness is actually pride disguised as humility. Different than “introversion” in which a person finds social interactions simply exhausting, shyness is when you avoid interacting with people with the subconscious attempt of rejecting them before they could possibly reject you – thus, self-preservation and self-importance. The result of this selfish act is that you fail to share with others the gift of the real you.

#5: You worry and complain.

Similar to perfectionism, the chaos of this world frightens you. Unable to bring it under physical control, you seek empowerment by making yourself a “god” of this world through your mind. You thus judge the world and create your own universe of endless scenarios, both good and bad, rather than find peace through dependency and trust in the real God who is in control.

#6: You continually struggle with negative behavior, bad habits or addictions.

As the proverb states, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Thus, if you do a lot of falling, it’s worth examining if there’s a lot of pride to go with it. What proceeded your negative behavior? Were you feeling self-important? Were things out of control and, thus, you empowered yourself with worry? Were you afraid people might see the real, imperfect and needy you – so you failed to open yourself up or rely on other’s help?

#7: You struggle with feelings of shame.

Shame is another form of pride disguised as humility. Stemming from the consequences of negative behavior, it is the counterpart to perfectionism from which you derive your value. Recognizing your nakedness and imperfection, you try to beat yourself into submission and you hide from God and others. The problem is this only starts a continuous cycle of shame, hiding and trying to cover yourself with further negative behaviors. The only way to find freedom from the cycle is to open yourself up to God and others, allowing them to see and accept you for who you really are – imperfections and all.

#8: You ‘splain things to people.

Whether it’s gender ‘splaining, generational ‘splaining, political ‘splaining, race ‘splaining, faith ‘splaining or any other kind of ‘splaining, your goal is to try to “educate” the less informed regarding the greater wisdom self-important you has clearly arrived at. While it is vital we share our knowledge and ideas, there is a fine line between opening up gracious, listening and learning dialogue verses pridefully demonstrating how your factual reasoning is superior to others’ erroneous ways.

‘Splaining doesn’t just happen with divisive issues. When someone faces confusing, difficult or even tragic circumstances, you are quick to pull out the latest research, famous quote or Bible verse. Uncomfortable with unanswered questions, you feel self-empowered as you provide your ready-made response – forgetting there are real people hurting at the other end of those responses and failing to recognize there are simply things for which there are no good answers.

#9: You’ve been “falsely” accused of being arrogant.

While I’m a firm believer we get our identity from God and not the opinions of others, I also strongly believe that when someone criticizes you, no matter how baseless the claims, you should always examine to see if there might be a bit of truth … even if only 1%. Thus, if someone ever calls you “arrogant,” it’s worth examining if there is an ounce of truth. I had some unfounded, and even cruel and inappropriate, accusations against me in the last few years, but when I examined them for the 1%, I discovered, lo and behold, I not only had arrogance, I was the most arrogant person in the world.

* * *

I don’t know about you, but I have been guilty of all the above. And as I continually examine through the lens of self-importance, self-preservation and self-empowerment, layers upon layers continue to surface. Quite honestly, it has felt devastating.

How could I have a heart so utterly self-centered? How could my interactions with the ones I love be so much more about me than them?

And are my writings more exercises of the ego than attempts at authentic dialogue? Are the words I write to you even now an effort at self-importance?

But am I alone in this? According to Christ himself I am not allowed to judge. I must first scrutinize this colossal log in my own eye before I attempt to remove the tiny spec in others.

But if I’m being honest, as I peer out around the corners of this massive plank, as an expert on arrogance I see glimpses of it oozing out from every seam of society.

I see it in every other social media post. I see it in all the political dialogue as we label people and share words that generalize and mock whole groups for their differing ideas.

I see it in shares that seem focused more on generating reactions and “likes” than in expressing genuine servanthood love for others.

I see it in how we self-preserve by hiding behind our screens rather than risk face to face social interaction.

I see it in the ways we are afraid to ask for help or openly admit we are struggling.

I see it in how many people remain bound by shame and try to cover it by either shaming others or numbing it through self-destructive behaviors and addictions.

So immersed in arrogance are we … am I … that I sometimes wonder if there’s any hope. Do any of us even know what humility looks like?

But amidst the devastating blows … behind the tears as layer upon layer are peeled away revealing my selfish arrogance … I am occasionally reminded.

I am reminded of what true humility looks like … by the very one who has every right to lord greatness over us.

Humility looks like the one who some 13 ½ billion years ago spoke and a universe of billions of galaxies was created, yet some 2000 years ago allowed itself to be born an “illegitimate” child of a teenage girl amidst an oppressed people on a tiny planet.

Humility looks like the person that had done no wrong and had every right to stone a woman who had arrogantly cheated on her betrothed, yet he chose to say instead, “I do not condemn.”

Humility looks like the one who could have chosen to be like the Pagan gods of the surrounding culture who created humankind to be their slaves, yet he chose instead to kneel half-naked before people he called “friends” and proceeded like a servant to wash their dirty feet.

Humility looks like a starving man 40 days in the wilderness who could have called upon his own identity in order to preserve and empower himself and to demand his place of importance yet denied all three possibilities in order to submit himself to a selfless purpose.

Humility looks to the person who could have easily made himself a king, yet chose to elevate women, children, the poor and the outcasts.

Humility looks like the one who could have called upon thousands of angels to protect him, yet willingly submitted himself to death on a cross in order to remove shame from the very ones who were hurting him.

Humility looks like the one whose name brings powerful chills every time I speak of it. Humility looks like Jesus.

Could I ever hope to be anything like that?

After all, since all things were created through him, it seems to me we should have a universe created for humility.

Or do I just continually repeat the cycle of Adam and Eve? Tempted by the chaos, instead of becoming an image bearer of a selfless, loving God, I enthrone myself to become my own little selfish “god” in control of my environment? Embarrassed by my nakedness and imperfections, I hide in shame, ineffectively trying to cover myself with “fig leaf” habits while pointing in others’ direction.

Humility seems so far removed from me.

But that’s the thing. Perhaps I was never meant to be perfect. Perhaps grace was always part of the deal. After all, scripture tells us that “grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”

“Who told you that you were naked?” asked God as Adam and Eve cowered in unnecessary shame.

Perhaps we were never perfect but were always perfectly loved.

And regardless of my arrogance, of my selfishness, of my imperfections … I can rest in that.

That humbles me. Knowing that I am perfectly loved without fault, I can then seek to be more like him irrespective of stumbles along the way.

I am the most loved and forgiven person in the world.

Don’t believe me?

Then it is simply my hope that someday you might discover this same kind of love and forgiveness for yourself.

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Husband, father, TV producer, author of "Rethinking God," and blogger - Honestly thinking (& rethinking) about God, the universe, and everything in between.



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Faith

Decrease in Marriage Continues a Spiraling Wave of Problems, and Churches are AWOL

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Over 60 years after the decline of marriage began in the 1960s due to the rise of the “free love” mentality, the results are more dismal than ever. In 1960, only 28% of adults were single. Now almost 50% of adults are single. Marriage rates are at their lowest ever in U.S. history. There are eight times more children born to unmarried parents than married. 

 

This is a problem. While progressives love to tear down the traditional nuclear family, they can’t argue with the increasingly negative facts coming out. Cohabitation arrangements break up around five times more frequently than marriages, and unplanned pregnancies occur three times more often with cohabiting couples than married couples. Unmarried couples with children are three times more likely to split up and have lower incomes. Children without fathers are more likely to suffer an “Adverse Family Event,” which is abuse, neglect or other trauma. Disregarding the old saying “Marriage tames men” is why we are seeing a spike in bad behavior by men.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: The Dead Do Tell Tales

 

Two authors with extensive backgrounds in marriage and the Christian church have written a book, Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America, outlining the crisis and showing how the church has failed to address it — but also providing specific solutions to fix it. “Endgame” refers to the crumbling of marriage. 

 

Co-author J.P. De Gance, a Catholic who came from the political sphere working for Americans for Prosperity, pioneered a marriage relationship project called Culture of Freedom — later rebranded as Communio —  which had tremendous results. He launched it in several cities, working with churches and faith-based organizations. In Jacksonville, Florida, which had dismal marriage rates, divorces fell 24% after the three-year project, which focused on 58,912 couples.

 

Similarly, John Van Epp, an evangelical relationship expert, ran his own Christian marriage relationship service, Love Thinks. In one area in Indiana that he focused on, divorce rates dropped 20% over 10 years. 

 

What the authors found is that churches are lacking in marriage ministry. Three out of four churches don’t provide any substantive relationship courses or resources for married couples. And even though singles make up almost 50% of heads of households, more than 90% of churches don’t have an adult singles ministry. 

 

What should be most alarming for Christians is the decline of relationship health is now the most significant factor in disrupting a relationship with Jesus. This is why church attendance is at its lowest rate ever on record in the U.S., 47%. In 2000, it was 70%. Church attendance is largely determined by one variable — parental marriage. Both children with unmarried parents and divorced parents were equally less likely to attend church.

 

Marriage crumbled because of the decoupling of sex, romantic partnerships and parenting. Today, the majority of couples have sex before starting a relationship. The authors point to online dating as one of the culprits — it’s made it easy to leave a relationship the instant a problem arises, because you can find a new romantic interest right away.

 

They found a correlation between atheism and lack of married parents. Millennials who were the least emotionally interested in attending church were also the least likely to report having a positive relationship with their parents. The 30 most well-known atheists in the world had a defective relationship with their fathers. 

 

Progressives may pretend that Christians are no better off than the rest of the population, but the authors found that churchgoing Christians have sex more frequently and are happier in their sex life than those who don’t attend. While one quarter of couples in church have a struggling marriage, 39% of couples in general do. 

 

Unfortunately, pastors don’t realize they’re not doing a good job in this area. While 93% of pastors counsel couples in crisis, 57% of them do not believe they are qualified enough. A “marriage 911” is lacking in the church. Churches spend lots of money on youth programs, but that’s not helping people stay in church. 

 

The authors say we need to go out into the community to find couples to help, not expect them to come searching and find these services. It needs to be portrayed as something everyone needs, in order not to scare people away thinking it’s only for couples who are on the verge of breaking up, otherwise people will be afraid of the stigma.

 

The authors reveal what works as successful techniques. They teach couples to address problems early on in relationships. It’s a myth that good relationships don’t require work. The “balanced relationship” is an illusion. What is normal in a good relationship is this: About the time a couple feels that they have a routine that is working for them … life comes at them fast. One of the most valuable tasks the authors have couples do is to make a top 10 list of what they think their spouse wants and needs from them.

 

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ) is key to a good marriage. This means both interpersonal, which includes communicating with your spouse, and intrapersonal, the ability to monitor your own emotions and actions. Studies of people doing tasks who have somewhat higher EQs but also somewhat lower IQs than others reveal that the former perform better, shattering our traditional views of IQ. 

 

The authors also emphasize the importance of both skills and virtues. Secular counseling focuses on skills, whereas Christian counseling tends to focus too much on just virtues. Skills include discernment, appreciation and expectation, self-control and commitment. 

 

The authors conclude by saying the church needs to make marriage ministry and relationship outreach normal. Marital problems shouldn’t be left up to social agencies to handle. The secular world is going to continue to disparage marriage and continue the downward cycle that the misnamed, so-called “free love” brings, so the church has to step up and stop the leak in the dam. 

 

 

  

 

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Faith

Seek Out the Good in Others

If you try, you can find at least one thing admirable in everyone you meet.

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Will Rogers, a political satirist, entertainer, and beloved figure in the first half of the twentieth century allegedly said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Many people have interpreted Will Rogers to have meant that he could find something admirable in everyone he met. So, too, can we all.

Something Admirable

Is there a co-worker with whom you have had a nasty relationship? Is there something good about this co-worker that you can draw upon, so that you can actually say something nice to him/her at your next encounter?

Is there a neighbor with whom you have had a continuing squabble? What would it do to your relationship if you sent your neighbor a card or a brief note that said something along the lines of, “I noticed how lovely your garden was the other day and wanted to let you know that I appreciate the work you’ve done in maintaining it.” Too syrupy, or, pardon the expression, too flowery?  Guess again.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: The Dead Do Tell Tales

You’re on this planet for finite amount of time. Do you want to go through your life trading hostilities with people, never having the where-with-all to restore some semblance of civility to the relationship?

Finding the Good

Try thinking of and listing five people who you may not have a good relationship with but can acknowledge. Next to each person’s name, write what is good about them. Do they maintain a nice garden? Here are some ideas for you in case you’re drawing a blank. This person…

* Is kind to the receptionist at work.
* Turns assignments in on time, and hence, supports the team.
* Walks softly past your office, so as not to disturb you.
* Greets you in the morning when you arrive.
* Maintains his or her office well.

Away from work, here are some ideas for finding the good in others:
* Keeps the street in front of the yard free of debris.
* Is respectful of others’ needs for quiet.
* Dresses well.
* Has well-behaved children.
* Drives safely in the neighborhood.

If you try, you’ll find something good!

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