“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
“驕傲在敗壞以先,狂心在跌倒之前。” 箴言 16:18

The more I think about it, the more our proposed topic for the “next” Bible study (which was supposed to have happened two nights ago) seems relevant to me at this point. The topic is “humility and pride”, and sometimes it hurts my head just thinking about it.

I’m not sure if you were the one who told me it’s impossible to admit that you’re humble, because in doing so, you’re boasting about it. Therefore it makes it super hard to be truly humble, and I have real doubts about what being humble really means.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on my life and I think I have let pride take over me during many occasions, especially recently. There are two types of praises that I get very often here: 1) being a PhD student at 23 and 2) speaking perfect Mandarin even after so many years in Canada (it’s ironic how I met more Chinese people here than in Canada), in addition to Cantonese, English, and French (not perfect yet). Of course, I would “try” to “humbly” accept the compliments, but it’s hard not to feel a little in the midst of praise, you know what I mean? Sometimes there would be a little voice in my head that says, “Yeah, I’m pretty awesome.”

And so I forget to give thanks to God, for if it weren’t for the grace of God, I would have nothing. I begin to think that all of my accomplishments are due to my own efforts and I didn’t return the glory to God, the source of the achievements and blessings in my life.

Then sometimes there are things that happen in life that deal a heavy blow to my confidence. For example, this week I was feeling very insufficient at work. Yes, I am likely the youngest PhD student around the lab, and that’s exactly why I feel like I am the runt and that I know absolutely nothing at all because everyone around me is so expertised. With my boss after me every waking moment in the lab and making me feel like I’m absolutely useless, it’s the complete opposite of pride.

So I keep telling myself to be more confident about what I do and to show my boss that I DO know what I’m doing and if I don’t, I will learn. I mean, there has to be a reason why they accepted me, right? It’s not like they didn’t know that I didn’t do a masters…if whoever picked me for this program placed their confidence in me, why should I be the one to be discouraged?

But thinking about this makes me realize that there is truly a fine difference between confidence and pride that is hard to define. I mean, you don’t want to have inferiority complex surrounding you all the time, because that would just make you feel all emo and pessimistic, but you don’t want to be too confident that it turns into arrogance. Also, sometimes it’s easy to ACT humble and all, but the heart could be full of pride and conceit at the same time. And it bothers me, when that happens, because I feel so fake.

So I don’t know if you’ve had similar experiences to share, but that’s what I’ve been dealing with lately. I had more thoughts before but they were scattered and this entry is already becoming incoherent. I will probably write again next week, on this topic. Looking forward to your sharing!