There are very few things I find more unattractive than arrogance.
You all know the guy I’m talking about. The one who knows more, does better, and looks better than everyone else. He always has to be the center of attention, always needs to be better at everything than everyone else. The one-upper. The pretty boy. The know-it-all. Arrogant.
In my current conquest to achieve improved self-discipline, I find myself becoming more confident. Confidence, in contrast to arrogance, I find to be a very attractive and desirable quality. But where does one draw the line? I admit, I have a long way to go in attaining the level of self control and discipline I eventually hope to possess, but I feel much more confident that I will be able to do so now than I did two weeks ago.
Small victories have caused me to pump up my ego a little bit. I’ve been able to keep a cleaner home (thanks, flylady.net), cook supper for my family [almost] every night, exercise more, drink more water, and stay more organized in general. Overall, it’s causing me to be happier. I feel like I am doing a better job of fulfilling the role of wife and mother that God would have me to be, and surprisingly, this is leading to better job satisfaction because I’m not constantly feeling guilty about things I should be getting done at home. My mind seems to be clearing itself of the clutter, as well.
Here’s the problem.
I’ve discovered another annoying flaw about myself. I crave praise. I want that pat on the back, that verbal acknowledgment that my efforts are not unnoticed. It’s a little unsettling to me to think that I depend so much on others to feel good about myself. I have found myself, at times, being almost unable to stop myself from saying, “Hey, guess what? I’m still getting on my elliptical every day!” or “Yep, I went to bed with all the dishes done, clothes put away, and kids tucked into bed by 9 pm.”
I don’t know the psychological explanation for this, but it seems to be some sort of lack of confidence that causes people to do this. Ironically, they (we) end up sounding arrogant by stating these things about ourselves, because it just sounds like bragging.
So how does one transition into the state of mind where happiness isn’t based off of others’ opinions, but on the fact that mere success should be fulfillment enough?
I’m getting there.
I’m seeing, day by day, that self discipline leads to healthier living, which leads to happier living. It doesn’t matter if others agree or not, it’s what’s best for me and my little family unit.
I have to be careful, though. I’ve also found that if I’m making a conscious effort to not brag on myself in order to receive the “Atta boy” I’m looking for, I creep into the mindset of being a martyr. Poor, pitiful me, working so hard, and no one even cares! The reality of it is, everyone has their own life. It’s not that people aren’t impressed or less respectful of me if they don’t know or acknowledge good things happening in my life, it’s just reality. It’s not personal.
I’m going to start doing things for me, because I want to.
Is an encouraging word refreshing? Absolutely. Is a pat on the back required to make me happy? Nope, not anymore.
There’s nothing wrong with sharing successes with my friends, but I’m not going to do it anymore just to get my gold star. I definitely don’t want to be the arrogant person that repels people when they walk into a room. I want to be humble.
James 4:10 tells us,
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he shall lift you up.”
Humble doesn’t mean weak. It takes more strength to be meek and humble than it does to be arrogant, because it requires self restraint and self-discipline.
We are warned about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life in 1 John 2:16. The simple fact of the matter is the desire for the pride of life leads us to need acknowledgement from others for our good deeds. We shouldn’t care how the world views us, only how our heavenly father sees us.
Humble means you don’t have to talk the talk, because you are already walking the walk.
This journey to becoming the virtuous woman is bringing on a whole new level of self-awareness I wasn’t quite prepared to take on. I guess that’s part of changing, though. In the words of my adorable Nannie, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, I’m putting my own spin on that. “If you think it ain’t broke, you won’t fix it.” I’m determined to “fix” quite a few things about myself, and the first step is to admit “I’m broke.”
And the fight continues…..