Anger is never the first emotion. I remember when a mentor first introduced me to this truth. He shared the way anger so often springs up on the heels of something else. That anger tends to take an indirect path to invade our hearts and minds. Pride is one of those pathways—sometimes the door is pushed open just a tiny crack, but other times it gets flung wide open. When pride rises up inside, the result might be anything from a mild sense of embarrassment to deep shame, and even a desire to fight back in the places we feel insufficient. But we can learn how to manage the anger that stems from pride in a mature and productive way.
One corner of our lives where pride gets dented or damaged is the realm of “Self.” We can be very self-centered. Especially when we’re encouraged toward hyper-affirming inner-conversation. It might be something as reasonable as, “I’m good enough,” but tends to move quickly to, “I don’t need anybody,” or even, “I’m amazing and it’s all about meeeeee!”
The antidote to me-centered living? Get the focus off yourself and just celebrate others. I wish I’d learned this much earlier in the journey. Has the comparison game been a source of pain in your life as much as mine? I’ve wasted hours feeling bent out of shape when others excelled or grabbed the limelight. But guess what? I’ve discovered there’s a ton of joy in celebrating others.
When I say to celebrate others, I mean in a genuinely thoughtful way. Don’t just fake it and try to gut it out. Observe, reflect upon, and creatively communicate your appreciation of someone’s gifts, strengths, accomplishments. And especially what God is doing in and through them. Your humility will slam the door shut in the face of pride and stop the anger trying to sneak through the gap.
If you’re getting angry—or even a bit grumpy—because of someone’s success, resolve to celebrate them at the next opportunity. Or do it now. Send a text, email, or handwritten note to let them know what they did so well. Point out how you see God’s design and delight playing out in their lives. Be creative. Be bold. You can do this.