Conceit manifests in my demand that others show me respect. When I demand respect from others, I invite disturbance into my mind, because respect voluntarily given by another is subject to the whim of the giver.
The cause of my conceit and the resulting need for respect from others lies in my underlying doubt about my skills and gifts.
Hurt is only possible with an inflated ego, pride. If you analyze hurt, you will find it is only due to pride. Inflated ego is a disproportionate, excessive significance attached to what I know, what I feel, what I possess, what I do, how I look and so on.
It is good to have abilities and to use them; but abilities should be allowed to speak for themselves. No publicity circulars are sent out to announce the blooming of a bush. The bush simply blooms because it is meant to bloom. This is how I should view my gifts and skills. These abilities seem to have come with me; why, I do not know. I should simply use them as well as I can because that is what I am supposed to do.
Conceit is a value for me because I think that by receiving large amounts of respect from others, I will feel good about myself. Conceit will cease to be a value for me when I clearly see that the basis is false, and moreover, that it does not work.
Conceit is born because I do not understand the nature of my accomplishments. I am proud of my achievements only because I consider myself the author or the producer of them.
If I take the time to analyze the factors involved in the creation of my skills or gifts, I will come to see that I am not the author or producer.
There is karma and there is opportunity. In fact, there are unlimited factors that have led to the arising of my skills and gifts.
From the position of an observer, I see the senselessness of my expectations. In addition, I see that what I really want is not respect from others for its own sake but because I hope that such an expression will make me feel more comfortable about myself. I see that my real problem is my basic feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt which is made worse by conceit.
Excerpts from the Value of Values, Amanitvam (the absence of conceit), by Swami Dayananda.