I have the ability to be a self-righteous, pompous jerk. I am accomplished at treating other as if they are less intelligent than I am.
This is no pleasant thing to think about. So, I tend to forget that I know this about myself. Thankfully, I have honest people around me who remind me to cut it out when I’m acting this way.
Recently, I got this direct messaged to me on Facebook: “I feel like you talk down to me…it pisses me off to be honest.”
It’s not the first time I’ve been told that. Or something similar.
I wish that wasn’t me. I wish that I could say that I’m just so brilliant that people find me intimidating.
So, what do I do about this? Act dumb? Let people get away with shoddy thinking? Smile, stay silent, and mind my own business?
No. None of those are options. But as I reflect on this character flaw, I find that there are some things that can help out.
1. Listen to my honest friends and family members. It’s so great that I have a wife and kids and friends who are willing to tell me when I’m being an arse. It doesn’t always feel great, but I do rely on it. (If I’ve talked down to you, just let me know. And please do accept my apology.)
2. Remember that I’m not God. This should be easy. (Right. As if we humans didn’t have a self-idolatry issue …) Where this applies here is: I don’t know everything and never will. In fact, the best arguments that I have are full of holes. My mind is not my best attribute, my finest feature. I do think well and can articulate those thoughts well, but when I come before God with my thoughts, I see them for the folly they are.
3. Embrace my hypocrisy. I’m a sinner and I know it. I put on a front that I think will look good to others (and I know it). When I own it, I can step out from it.
All of these add up to humility. And that’s what I really need.