Letting Go Of Our Willfulness: Arrogance

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The Arrogant Person

Arrogance is usually a term we apply to others; we hesitate to use it to describe ourselves. After all, arrogant people consider themselves superior to everyone else. They think others should acknowledge them as demigods, and they imagine the world revolves around them. They have been endowed with special privileges and therefore they deserve all the adulation they get. They tend to be very opinionated and bossy, and this trait tends to alienate them from others. Who put them in charge?

We Don't Notice Our Own Arrogance

Now we might admit to ourselves that we have a tendency to think well of ourselves. Well, in fact we might even exaggerate our importance in our own minds. As long as we keep it to ourselves, we don’t see how it could harm anyone. But we also overlook how such arrogance can blind us to the creative forces at work inside us. We lose our receptivity to the inspirations that come to us from the Source of our lives. To arrogate means to claim a power or a value to ourselves that we really don’t have on our own. We imagine we have special talents, mental brilliance, or exceptional importance in one way or another. Even if there is some truth to these claims, we forget they are gifts and we attribute their presence to our own efforts. We don’t notice how inflated our egos have become, but other people do.

We Must Change Our Self-Perception

Each person is special in the sense that each of us is a unique expression of the Source within us all. We all have an important role to play. To accomplish this, we need to change our self-perception and begin to see ourselves as agents or instruments through which the ultimate Source can operate. It would help if we were to offer our services to this Source in a conscious and deliberate manner. Although this Source is already using us much more than we realize, we can be of greater service if we are aware of its influence upon us. For then we can set aside our own arrogance and allow ourselves to be inspired.

Richard G. Hartnett, MA, MS, LCADC is a former Jesuit priest who now lives with his wife, Kathy, by a lake in northwestern New Jersey. He has served as the chaplain at Hazelden New York, pastoral counselor at the Chemical Dependency Department of the International Center for the Disabled in NYC, and continuing care counselor at the outpatient Chemical Dependency Program of High Focus Centers in New Jersey. Currently he maintains a private practice in New Jersey. He is the author of The Presence at the Center, Renewing Your Fourth Step, The Three Inner Voices: Uncovering the Spiritual Roots of Addiction and Recovery, and Sobriety and Inspiration: Entrusting Ourselves to the Source of Our Healing and Creativity.

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