When one demands recognition, this, itself, is very grave; it means that that person is filled with egoism; a sense of entitlement and love of approval by others. Envy, condemnation, anger, resentment, and so on, all emanate from pride. Pride is the Staff General of all passions. I you strike at pride, you strike at all the passions, allowing humility and love to flow into you. Pride is what stands between us and God. Even the devil yields more easily than a prideful person.
The prideful person has no inner substance. He is hollow, like the un-ripened stalk of wheat that stands tall, while the ripened stalk bends its little head. Not only is he in the dark, he is also inwardly disquiet (disturbed) and outwardly agitated (upset) and clamorous (noisy). Pride even turned angels into demons.
One may not be aware of all the pride he has, but he will be aware of some of it. He will have a sense of egoistic self-satisfaction, a sense of superiority over others. When one becomes prideful, he falls and is humbled. He becomes prideful again, again he falls and is humbled. And this situation goes on for his entire life: pride – humility, pride – humility. Such humility is not a virtue; it is the result of the spiritual laws that are at work.
For example, let’s say we say to a Sister “you did a good job on this icon”. If she becomes prideful she will say to herself “I will do an even better job on the next icon so the Elder will compliment me again”. But this time she makes a caricature of an icon. If prideful thoughts come to us, we should laugh at our prideful thoughts, just as others laugh when they see us being prideful.
While an indecent thought is easily recognized, it takes great vigilance to recognize a prideful thought (example-pg66). External pride is obvious and can easily be cured. Inner pride is rather sly and for this reason it is difficult to cure. It’s undetectable by others. Hidden pride usually abides in spiritual people. If one keeps an eye on himself, then he can be aware of it. If you have undertaken a spiritual struggle and you think that you are doing something important, that you are virtuous and so forth, then you certainly have inner pride. Inner pride gives you a false satisfaction.
In order to cast out this hidden pride, you must abhor (feel excessive disgust) the false satisfaction and dispose of it. Those who have inner pride, must abhor (hate) themselves in order to be delivered from it.
It is the pride that cast us out of paradise to earth and pride, which is trying to send us from earth to hell. Judging and censoring others stems from pride and is ‘full of injustice’. Pride, egoism and vainglory, except arrogance which has a satanic degree to it, are actually the same passion with small differences.
Egoism is the unruly offspring of pride. Egoism never gives up; it insists. Egoism is a GREAT EVIL!! An egoist will nevertheless be insistent (firm in asserting a demand or an opinion). Example of egoism; ‘So many people say I’m wrong, and I know I’m wrong, but how can I submit to these people’. The egoist is willful (stubbornly bent on having one's own way) and obstinate (stubbornly adhering to an attitude, opinion or course of action), while the prideful may be neither willful nor obstinate.
When your ego is wounded do not tend to it. Let it perish in order for humility and love to grow. Egoism should be turned against the devil, so that one does not succumb to temptations. When others make you upset when they make some sort of comment about you, you have pride. Pride can be crushed with the help of a friend when you give him/her the right to criticize you and accept her criticism with humility.
Just like a leach that clings to your body and sucks out your blood, pride also drains the entire inner person. It brings about spiritual asphyxiation, because it depletes the soul of spiritual oxygen. When you bring order to one of your struggles and then everything goes wrong, it’s because you thought “I am doing well”, which is why you then fall.
The proud do not have spiritual flights; they have plights (oaths). If there is pride, God allows for a person to remain in a state of indolence (laziness), sloth and aloofness (indifference), because if He helps him and he experiences something heavenly, then he would feel proud and think that it was due to his own struggle.
Thoughts of disapproval (of others) come from the high opinion we have of our own self, in other words, from pride – and from our tendency to justify (prove that we are right) ourselves.Those who are led into making mistakes feel guilty and repent, those who condemn (accuse) justify themselves, become prideful and end up with the very same downfall as the evil one – PRIDE.
You should try to be aware of your fall as soon as possible and seek forgiveness both from the other person you condemned and from God, otherwise this becomes an obstacle to prayer. When you are prideful it means that you have too high an opinion of yourself. Since you believe that you are special, you become prideful with the slightest provocation, just like those with high-blood pressure, which rises with the slightest worry.
The person who has too high an opinion of himself remains in the fog of pride and has neither spiritual health nor spiritual vision, and is therefore unable to see the gifts or talents of others.
Despair is brought about by egoism because the egoist depends upon himself (to get things done), whereas the humble person hopes upon the mercy of God.
Envy, condemnation, anger, resentment, and so on, all emanate from pride. Pride is the staff general of all passions. Pride is what stands between us and God. Whoever grieves out of philotimo places the responsibility upon himself, whereas, whoever grieves out of egoism places the weight of responsibility on others and claims that he is the one being wronged; his ego is injured.
We should therefore decide which of the two we will choose: humility, which provides peace, OR egoism, which brings worry, anxiety and agitation? Egoism always leads to sorrow and anxiety. When a person has no humility, repentance (sincere remorse for wrongdoing) and contrition (deep sorrow for sin), but instead worries, out of egoism, over how he appears to others because he fell in their estimation, then within him, there is agony, bitterness and pain.
Whoever grieves out of philotimo, places the weight of responsibility upon himself, whereas, whoever grieves out of egoism places the weight of responsibility on others. When we justify ourselves, we give way to the devil, who then comes to do subtle work on us, causing us distress, whereas when we take all the weight of responsibility upon ourselves, then God Himself will lift that weight off of us.
We should therefore decide which of the two we will choose: humility which provides peace or egoism which brings worry, anxiety and agitation. A person may have a little philotimo, but, if he is not careful, a desire for others’ praise sneaks in, and then, everything he does is in vain, like he’s drawing water from a well with a leaky pail. When one acts with pure philotimo, he is aware of it internally. In other words has a sense of inner consolation (comfort in sorrow, misfortune, or distress) and serenity. While the pursuit of praise brings about disquietude (uneasiness or anxiety) and agitation.
Praise whether I it is worldly or spiritual, whether it refers to one’s body or to one’s soul, it’s damaging when one is already damaged by the presence of pride. This is why we must be careful not to praise others too readily, because, if they are predisposed to spiritual illness, they can be harmed, even destroyed. Praise is like a drug.
If you rejoice when praised, and you worry and pull a long face when criticized, this is a worldly condition. When a spiritual person is criticized, he will rejoice because you helped him see his mistake. He truly believes that he did not do his best, so God enlightens him to do it very well the next time. The spiritual person would say, without God’s help, I would have done nothing. Anotherwords he puts everything into proper order because he has spiritual health.
When you abhor (hate) worldly recognition, then you will accept both praise and insult as one and the same thing.