Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I have a pride problem.  I hate this part of me and I have been praying about it for months, and I don't know if I have been getting better. Whatever I do, I don't know if I am doing it out of pride or not. What should I do?  What spiritual exercises can I do to help?

The fact that you recognize your weakness and identify having a problem of pride is in itself a positive step. St. Isaac said, "Blessed is the person who knows his weakness, as such knowledge is a good principle and a source of every good thing. Because if he knows his weakness, he avoids slackness and asks for God's help and relies on Him."

Acquiring humility requires continuous exercises. True humility is attained by work and the knowing that outside behavior affects the inside human feelings. St. Augustine said, "The inside and the outside of man are united one to the other and each one is fond of the other to a great extent. So that when the body becomes humble and lowly, the heart gets an inner feeling of humility. Hence, if you bend down to kiss your brother's feet, the humility in your heart is moved or strengthened if it already existed. External humility in front of brethren, such as serving them and kissing their feet, simple dressing, and menial jobs, all these give birth to humility in the heart, and keeps and strengthens it, if it is already there."

Continue on praying to the Lord and be confident that you can overcome this problem with His help "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). Also ask your spiritual father to give you some spiritual exercises to help you grow in the life of humbleness.

A good book to read is "Life of Humility and Meekness" by H.H. Pope Shenouda III.
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