One of our biggest challenges is to have a high self-esteem and a high self-confidence without having arrogant pride. If we are to live full and abundant lives, we need to have good self-images. So, a positive self-esteem is not only healthy, it is absolutely necessary. We are even commanded to think about what is truthfully good about ourselves.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
If we are to think about “such things”, where is the problem? The problem begins with “comparing.” Our minds are slippery. We can so easily move from “I am good at something” to “I am better than you are … ”
Comparing involves: observing, assessing, evaluating differences and it quickly leads to a value judgment that produces one of two outcomes: 1) arrogant superiority, or 2) envious inferiority.
The word that I use to describe this type of thinking is “comparrogance.” Comparrogance involves comparing, competing and eventually the arrogance of thinking “I am better than you are.” or the envious thinking of “I will never be as good as you are.” In my counselling experience, I see comparrogance as the most destructive influence in all human relationships.
Where does it start? It starts with comparing. One of the key aspects of humility is a lack of comparing. If you don’t compare, you are safe.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Once we compare, we quickly introduce a value that assesses what we are comparing. For example: a comparison says, “Some people don’t smoke and some people do smoke.” The introduction of a value says, “It is better to not smoke than to smoke.” It only takes about a nano-second for the value to modify the comparison. Then it is a very small step to get to: “I am better than you because I don’t smoke.” That’s when you get to full blown comparrogance.
How often do we do this thing called comparrogance? What do you think? Once a year? Once a month? Once a week? How about many times every day?
So, here is the challenge. Think about what is true and good and valuable and worthy about yourself and do not compare. Just rest in the truth. Become aware of when you start to compare and stop the thinking at that point. Whatever is true about yourself, think about it and accept it. Just don’t let your mind slip into comparrogance because that is where you will get yourself into trouble.