Is it arrogant to help someone?

When I help my classmates, I worry that I’m prideful. Am I faking my humility? 

Not at all, says our elder. You should be proud of being able to help your friends.


Dear EWC

My life from the past three years has been revolving around going to college then at home. And in these past three years, I actually have assisted/helped a few of my classmates. Today as well, I helped a girl in my class (I’m quite distant with), and I think I was quite moderate while helping her. But often, when I’m alone, I overthink about how my day was spent and I feel very prideful when I help someone out, sometimes even devaluing them. Though when I realize what I’m doing, I stop myself at once. Today when I realized that I was doing it again, I went on Google to search about it, and the majority of the people wrote that I’m manipulating and that I was faking my humility. I really don’t want to become someone like that. Is there a way to completely stop myself from being arrogant/prideful?


Ruby-Mary replies

Thank you for reaching out for help to figure out if your helpful behaviors are acts of humility or arrogance? I will do my best to give you some positive thoughts to consider as you decide if you need to change or reevaluate your approach to helping others. 

As I read your letter, I wondered why you feel very prideful when you help someone out. You mentioned that you sometimes even devalue them. I’m confused by that statement, Ayesha, because the fact that you’ve reached out for help to understand that feeling says to me you are not a prideful or arrogant person. When you help someone out, do you often feel you are better than them in some way? I don’t think so. Let’s take a look at Webster’s dictionary definition of a few terms. Webster defines arrogance as, “an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner”. It’s also defined as “a sense of one’s own importance that shows itself in an insulting way.” What about prideful? Webster says, “a prideful person is a disdainful one who expresses contempt for someone or something regarded as inferior or unworthy.” Do you really feel very prideful when you help someone or do you feel proud of yourself for helping someone?  Isn’t it wonderful that you have the ability to help/assist others in your class? You should be proud of that! I’m sure your classmates are thankful for your help. So, why are you overthinking your reasoning for helping others? Do you purposely want to feel superior to those you help?  Again, I don’t think so. I’m happy you realize that you are overthinking when you feel prideful for helping someone out. You quickly stop that negative thinking once you realize what you’re doing. Good for you!

I’m not sure whether or not I’m missing something, but I don’t understand why the Google search people indicated that you are manipulating and faking humility. Really? I think you are very aware of what’s going on and questioning why you, at times, feel prideful and arrogant. You don’t want to be that kind of person. You’re very self-aware and you’ve taken a huge step (by reaching out for help) toward understanding why you’re overthinking your motives for helping others.

I truly wish I had more definitive answers for you. I don’t believe you are an arrogant, prideful person because arrogant and prideful people are usually OK with their behaviors. That’s why they’re often referred to as arrogant and prideful. You clearly don’t want to be someone like that and it seems to me that you are not that kind of person! Again, let me remind you that you should be proud of yourself for helping others. You are not not prideful! 

Is there a way to completely stop yourself from being arrogant or prideful? I don’t have an answer for that because you can’t fix what’s not broken, right? If you continue having difficulty accepting the fact that you are not arrogant or prideful, please consider seeking professional help, perhaps from a school counselor or other mental health professional (in person or online).

Hopefully, I’ve given you some positive thoughts to consider. Please feel free to write again if you have additional questions, concerns or you want to send an update. I would love to receive an update from you to hear how you’re doing. My thoughts are with you. Take care.

Article #: 491589

Category: Self-Improvement

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