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Over-Dependence on Self

  • are attempts to rely on personal resources and ideas
  • is opposed by surrender to the divine will
  • is addressed by the divine action which confronts over-dependence on our virtues and pride 

  • Afflictive Emotions
  • Grace 
  • Hyperactivity 

The pain of purification is not just the strain of the devout life. It is the divine action tearing down our pride. God is not shredding our moral virtues, but our over-dependence on them; that is, our personal efforts as means of going to God. We need to make efforts to amend our behavior patterns, but these must be attempted with completed dependence on God’s grace.

Related Concepts




Over-dependence on self is an obstacle in the spiritual journey. Centering Prayer helps us get beyond over-dependence, over-conceptualization, and hyperactivity by settling in to the quiet infused during prayer and initiated by regular practice.

The divine action removes our over-dependence on ourselves based on our self image and its supposed values. The inadequacy of our efforts becomes obvious. Eventually, we are reduced to a condition which is like the Canaanite woman in Matthew’s Gospel who despaired of all her own resources and cried out for God’s help from the bottom of her heart. Her example of total surrender and trust highlights the purpose and goal of the dark nights, which is transformation in Christ through love.


 Reflection: Listening

Over-dependence on self comes from our personal self-image and egoic identity. Over-dependence on self is primarily motivated by pride.

Reflection: Reflecting

How are you over-dependent on self? In what ways might you diminish your pride?

Reflection: Responding

Relinquish dependence on the false self and its value system. Diminish dependence on unquestioned ideas, mindsets, biases, and prejudices.