The evil of haughtiness is discussed explicitly in the words of our Sages, who said that a haughty person “deserves excommunication” (Sotah 5a) and that it is as though he worships idolatry and commits many other evils. Scripture has already taught: Every haughty heart is the abomination of Hashem (Mishlei 15:5). Now, everybody knows that haughtiness is bad, but people think that haughtiness means to walk upright, with a puffed out chest and swaggering hands. But the truth is one can recognize haughtiness through other behavior that derive from it, such as impatience, anger and the like.
A sensitive and soft-hearted person shudders when he realizes the severity of haughtiness but is inspired when he comes to see the great value of humility. He therefore does his utmost to focus on pure thoughts to seek out his true standing and to be among those who are humble before all men. Even towards the members of household he does not become impatient, angry, or even agitated at all. Instead, one should be exceedingly humble in spirit and behavior.
The best method to develop this trait is to consistently study ethical works and to practice the verse: …and my sin is before me always (Tehillim 51:5). Even if a person knows much and has studied much, [there is nothing to be haughty about], for one’s accomplishments are measured by his potential, and only God knows what is expected of the person. So, on the contrary, one should think to himself that considering what I have grasped and understood and what I have yet to accomplish, and considering all the kindness that my Creator has bestowed upon me, I have not discharged even a thousandth of my duty.
Judge everyone favorably. If one’s friend or wife, or even one’s child, student or attendant, acted improperly towards you, it is best that you do not become angry or upset; don’t take it to heart whatsoever. Think this: If a fellow human being belittled your honor or gave you honor—what of it? What does it add or detract from you? It is all nothingness and vanity. One way to prevent becoming haughty is simply to run away from honor and certainly not seek status.