Can you define arrogance? Honestly, I can’t. But I can identify it. Anytime I met arrogance I came out of the interaction feeling small and insignificant without really a solid exchange of words.
But that’s not what this blog post is about. This entry is about how arrogance is sometimes confused with confidence, uprightness and straightforwardness. And how practicing humility is a lot easier than expending our energy on arrogance.
Confidence , uprightness, forthcomingness and straightforwardness are positive qualities whereas arrogance is a negative trait to carry for the owner of this quality and a negative experience to have for the receiver of it.
Despite arrogance being so much in stark contrast with positivity, it does have a lot of ways to be confused with confidence and “I’m my own person” or ” I’m me and too bad if I hurt you but I only speak the truth”. Can I say this makes for an unbecoming and scary personality overall?
We’ve all been stuck in situations where we had to assert ourselves a little. Whether it was to get our point across or to disagree. Whether it was to show someone how they may be wrong. Whether it was to give it to someone straight and candid. We’ve all had those uncomfortable situations where we were the only ones for the job and reluctantly signed up for it because we could probably deliver the message most appropriately. Who do you think you would’ve chosen for the delivery of an unpleasant message?
You got it! A down to earth person. A straight shooter who maintains the dignity of the receiver of this feedback. An empathic person who knows the effect of his words and his body language. While giving feedback most of us have the tendency to become haughty and demeaning. May be because arrogance is a human quality that comes more naturally than humility. Humility doesn’t come as naturally. By being humble we feel we are shortchanging ourselves but my experiences with humility when I’ve practiced it and when I’ve received it have been very different from the low opinion that a lot of people have of this precious human virtue. I’m sure your experiences have been the same.
When I’ve been encountered with humility I’ve opened up more. I’ve trusted more. I’ve been scared less. The human mind is trained to detect positive vibes from people and respond to them positively. It’s like how we smile when someone smiles. When someone drops their outer shell of toughness and haughty demeanor, we respond accordingly. We come out of our shell too.
Similarly, when we approach another fellow human with humility we immediately develop the human connection. This connection is of empathy and understanding. And most of all, it is of equality. When we show humility we are showing others that we consider them our equals and whatever we may or may not have to say has no bearing on our belief in our social equality with them. This is a strong connection and generates trust. Through this trust it is easier to communicate.
Arrogance does just the opposite. It takes away the human connection. It makes one person a god of sorts and the other person a minion. This dynamic doesn’t just play in the head of the arrogant person. This feeling is immediately communicated to the other person through body language and small vocalizations and not only leads to distance but also may be, in some cases, animosity.
In my opinion, there is no need for arrogance. There really isn’t. Why? Because to achieve anything we never need arrogance or haughtiness or nastiness or a condescending tone or a demeaning gesture. Everything that we have to communicate can be easily communicated by keeping it direct and simple and adding a touch of simplistic body language to it. This not only keeps the focus on the message but also prevents the development of a negative interaction.
But bear with me! The purpose of this post wasn’t instructional or educational. The purpose of this post was to draw a basic difference between arrogance and confidence.
Basically, to me, arrogance is a show. It’s an act almost. It’s a front. It’s what some people wear to hide their inner biases and conflicts towards us. Arrogance gives them a cover to be condescending to people. It affords them the power to treat people a certain way while maintaining that they’re just being themselves or displaying their higher character.
Confidence isn’t a show. Confidence is what comes from within and is essentially a function of strength of character. Real strength of character. Confidence doesn’t explain itself. It is quiet and reassuring. Confidence isn’t brash and in your face.
Humility is a trait that only confident people have. To be humble we have to have a certain amount of confidence to not feel our humility being our weakness or our failure. When we have confidence, we exude it, mix it with humility and come across as trustworthy, reliable, strong and dependable. Arrogance only looks like arrogance. Plain, hard and cold. Sometimes, it may even look childish.
We are very small beings in the universe. Haughtiness isn’t a trait we should ever adopt. It takes us away from our own grace.