Today's mass reading was about humility, and I feel very connected to this topic. I think many of us have forgotten the virtue of being humble, especially living in a world where we have to constantly 'prove' our argument, or substantiate whatever we say with a 'logical' reasoning. In order to appear smart and knowledgeable, we say things with more conviction, with more confidence, sometimes to the point of boasting. Note that conviction and confidence have no correlation with being right. Let's look at some excerpts from today's reading.
My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those whom God accepts. The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord. (Sirach 3:17-18)
"When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 14:8-11)
My take on humility is that we always have to be aware of how we behave and say things. Just because you know something doesn't mean you have to say it in an arrogant, prideful, or boastful way, because it may not be true. When shown that your argument is weak, then you will be like the man in the Gospel, humiliated in front of other people.
Even if your arguments hold true and are valid, there are better ways to present it than boasting and having the know-it-all attitude. Saying it in a calm manner or suggesting it as a tentative hypothesis are ways that will not make people be annoyed at you.
I personally dislike people who say things loudly just because they think they know what they are saying. Obviously, me getting annoyed shows that it is something within me that I need to be aware of (counseling education is giving me a lot of self-awareness. Whenever you are upset, ask yourself why. In most instances, it's within you rather than outside of you). Why am I annoyed with such people? I suspect it's because it stems from my beliefs that there is no one truth (except for the fact that I believe in God), and that most things, if not all things, can be seen in different perspective. This belief conflicts with other's know-it-all attitude and thus forming a strain in the relationship.
Now that I have examined myself, let's look at why do people want to boast, act arrogantly and be prideful? I suspect it's because deep down, they feel inadequate and inferior. They act as if they know everything to compensate for their feelings of inferiority. I have observed that (it could be a false, statistically insignificant observation) people who are truly knowledgeable do not act in a prideful manner. In fact, they act in humbling ways, and I suspect that it's because they know what they know, and they know what they don't know. They are secure in their knowledge, and do not pretend to know things outside of their competency.
Of course, the environment plays a part as well. Some of us grew up in environments that promote our boastful, arrogant, and loud talking behaviors. The media (hint: HOLLYWOOD) is showing us, more often than not, that these qualities are positively looked upon. It surely gets you attention.
All that said, we first have to evaluate ourselves whether we have this prideful attitude, and if we do, is it beneficial for ourselves and the community? If it is beneficial, then great. But if it is straining your relationship with love ones, friends, and family, then maybe it's time to evaluate how we can humble ourselves to better serve others and the world, rather than paying attention on feeding our inadequacy. I believe that there is no harm is being humble. Being humble doesn't mean being submissive, and being humble doesn't mean you don't sell yourself during interview. Being humble means knowing your strength and weaknesses, being considerate of other people's plight, and acting in ways that portray you do not know everything.