“Pride erects a little kingdom of its own and acts as sovereign within it.” – William Hazlitt
“Arrogance really comes from insecurity. In the end our feeling that we are bigger than others is really the flip side of our feeling that we are smaller than others.” – Desmond Tutu
“If you feel inadequate to face challenges, unworthy of love or respect, untitled to happiness, and fear assertive thought, wants or needs – if you lack basic self-trust, self-respect, and self-confidence – your self-esteem deficiency will limit you, no matter what other assets you possess.” – Nathaniel Branden
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” – Brené Brown
“Your crown has been bought and paid for. Put it on your head and wear it.” – Maya Angelou
So many things in life can alter how we see ourselves – placing a metaphorical value in the equation that falsely calculates our self-worth. The numerators and denominators that impact the fraction of my own self-value can be found in my early childhood schooling, my divorce, an unvoluntary job termination, and my own self-imposed perfectionism.
The experiences I suffered from classmates as well as my teacher during kindergarten were so bad, it prompted my parents to send me to a parochial school. Those experiences shaped the view I have of myself and others in a way that has effected me to this day.
When someone you love tells you how unlovable you are after 21 years of marriage, it can negatively affect how you see yourself within relationships. If someone who knows you deeply over that time span thinks you are worthless, then maybe there is some truth in how they feel?
The owner of a company who dictates your worth, not based on your 25 years of overall loyalty and service, but on the last ninety days of your performance, makes you realize it isn’t time and dedication that drives your value but the idea of “what have you done for me lately” that truly matters. The coworkers who I thought were friends never vouched for me or spoke up for me in my defense – adding to the feelings of insignificance.
On top of those things, now add in the self-degradation and disgrace that comes from a spirit of perfectionism – the idea that you can never measure up no matter how hard you try. Forget the concept that no one is perfect. Perfection has become the measuring stick you use on your behaviors, your appearance, and every other aspect within your existence.
How about you? What events or circumstances within your own life have driven your feelings of value or worth? Can you begin to see how your interpretation of these factors have been limiting and restrictive?
Maybe you have no time for such devaluation or personal faultfinding. Maybe you have erected your own kingdom where self-pride, overconfidence, and self-importance reign.
You see it in the wealthy who place their personal value and significance on what they own and have acquired. You see it in the physically fit and attractive – knowing others less youthful and good-looking don’t measure up to their beauty. You see it in those who possess the prestigious job title, the fancy home, or the exquisite automobile – letting material things drive their feelings of self-importance and worth. You even see it in the religious community – virtue signaling to others how much better and worthy they are in the sight of God due to their righteous thoughts and actions.
Then, there are those who simply possess the attitude of arrogance. They see themselves as better than anyone else- never admitting their own mistakes or shortcomings. They would rather be dead than utter the words “I’m sorry”, “I was wrong”, or “I made a horrible mistake.”
You can see the drastic contradictions between the actions and behaviors of the arrogant and those with self-worth and self-esteem issues, but can you see the comparisons? Can you see how BOTH sides are incorrect in their conclusions?
There is indeed a congruity of the worthy and the worthless! There is a commonality that can be found within these opposite and opposing viewpoints that we often never focus on or contemplate.
Of course, the insecurity found in individuals with low self-esteem is quite evident, but the arrogant often possess the same common denominator. There arrogance is often a form a deception they play – both on themselves and on others.
If I can get you to believe I’m better than you are, you will take your focus off me and place it on the areas I am pointing out in you that are highly deficient 😊 This deceptive form of distraction hides my own imperfections and speaks loudly to my own insecurities as Desmond Tutu points out above.
The insecurity found in arrogance is often discounted and ignored, but there is no denying the role it plays in our self-image. In fact, there is overwhelming insecurity in the person who cannot admit their own mistakes or even utter an apology. They view such simple gestures as devastating – providing a fatal blow to how they see themselves and how they are perceived by others.
Both the worthless and the worthy are using inaccurate calculations when determining their self-value.
If I base my self-worth on my looks, my wealth, my job, or my possessions, I inaccurately place my value on things that are superficial and in a state of constant change. C. S. Lewis implores us to not let our “happiness depend on something we might lose.” If my arrogance is a form of distraction or deception, then it is entirely inaccurate and doesn’t represent who I am or how I truly feel inside.
Those who see themselves as worthless make the same inaccurate conclusions. They allow other flawed, imperfect human beings to determine their value. They falsely accept fallible events and limited circumstances as a measure to define who they are indefinitely and without constraint.
Both the worthy and the worthless end up leading a far from sufficient life. As Mr. Branden states above, an untitled, unworthy, and inadequate mindset limits life’s potential. When we embrace what other’s say about us and our value, we allow them to drive and dictate our destiny.
The arrogant, self-absorbed person ends up finding out that living within themselves and their own power is limiting as well. The looks, the riches, the possessions that define them are fleeting. Down deep, they realize their arrogant demeanor is a farse at best. In the act of deceiving others of their importance and superiority, they begin to see how much they have deceived themselves. No happiness or fulfillment can be found in such lies and deception.
What can both the worthless and worthy do to remedy their inaccurate view of their own insecurities and insufficiencies?
BOTH can realize their value cannot be found in what they do or don’t possess, in the favorable or unfavorable opinions of others, or within the abundant or unabundant circumstances they find themselves in.
BOTH can embrace the truth that human actions have nothing to do with worth. Self-righteous acts don’t add to one’s value. Repeated mistakes and poor choices don’t have a permanent, unchangeable effect on a person’s worthiness.
BOTH can begin to understand the ONLY thing that dictates their value – being a child of God. That value has nothing to do with what they have, say, do, believe, or possess. It isn’t based on what others think or don’t think. The value COMES FROM GOD alone. It rests in who He is – not on who we are. In His eyes, we are all equally valuable!
Because our value comes from Him, that means no matter where we find ourselves – no matter what we face and no matter what we have or don’t have – we are irreplaceable and instrumental in who He has made us to be and within the circumstances in which He has placed us.
Take time to think deeply about that for a moment.
Each of us are irreplaceable and instrumental in His purposes. Think about the value that holds for every one of us 😊
If you feel hopelessly worthless or arrogantly see yourself as more than worthy, I pray that you see the insecurities that rest in the center of both value assessments. I hope you see the tremendous inaccuracies in determining your worth by what others say, by what you have or don’t have, or by aspects of life that are fleeting and short-lived. I pray that you see how life is insufficient, limited and lacking in both a worthy and worthless mindset – equally unsatisfactory whether you are self-absorbed or self-deprecating.
I hope you realize your value is found in God alone – a value that never diminishes or changes. You my friend are irreplaceable within the circumstances of life in which you find yourself – perfectly and instrumentally crafted to fulfill His purposes and your destiny 😊
You are priceless in God’s sight! Now wear that crown that has been bought and paid for my friend 😊