Several years ago a talented friend of mine delivered an incredible performance during a holiday church service. She immediately came off stage and sank into a deep depression.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I blew it,” she said. “I forgot a whole section of my part.”
I assured her that no one else had noticed and that everyone thought it was phenomenal, but she wouldn’t give it up. Finally, I had to call her out.
“I know how you feel,” I said. “I think you might be getting hung up on your pride.” She knew I was right and immediately changed her attitude. I only recognized it in her because I’ve seen it so many times in myself, and my version is usually much worse.
Pride doesn’t have to be about bragging. It can be about beating yourself up. Either way, it’s simply a matter of too much me. I remember hearing someone once say that pride isn’t thinking too much of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself too much.
Whether I’m feeling sorry for myself, obsessing about what others think of me, licking my wounds from hurt feelings, or wallowing in worry, the root of my problem is the way I get hung up on me, myself and I.
I’m sure you can’t relate. But on the off chance you know someone who can, here are four tricks I’ve discovered over the years to help me start getting over myself.
1. Drill down on who you are. Spend some time meditating on Bible verses that remind you of God’s unconditional love for you. Often we get preoccupied with ourselves because of our insecurities. Once we settle the issue of our identity in Christ, we are free to love others.
2. Change your focus. Get your eyes off of yourself by making some lists. Who needs to be prayed for in your life? Who needs some encouragement? Who needs some help? Make your list and then act on it. Invite someone over for dinner. Give an anonymous gift. Drop a card in the mail.
3. Forgive hurts. We waste a ridiculous amount of time thinking about how we’ve been wronged by others. Set yourself free by releasing others from the debt they owe you. It doesn’t mean you have to trust them or let them hurt you again. It just means you choose to let it go and move on.
4. Make a big deal out of God and others. There’s nothing wrong with getting praised for a job well done, but if we’re we not careful, we can crave it for all the wrong reasons. Make it a hobby to look for opportunities to deflect credit to God and other people. Have a contest with yourself to see how many people you can brag on each day (not including yourself).
Humility doesn’t mean beating yourself up. That’s just more self-focus that takes your eyes off of God and the contribution He’s called you to make to the world. Humility is really just relaxing, enjoying a life of grace and living each moment to the full. I can tell you from experience that it’s much easier to make the most of every day when it’s not all about you.