Arrogance vs Self Esteem
Thoughts of inspiration
"There are so many ways to heal. Arrogance may have a place in technology, but not in healing. I need to get out of my own way if I am to heal. ". Anne Wilson Schaef
Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem. by Marilyn J. Sorensen . Paperback: 320 pages
Arrogance vs. Self Esteem
"Arrogant" has become a completely negative word in our culture. I will address this word and concept in its virtually always used negative meaning below but I wanted to begin by pointing out that arrogance did not start off as being negative. Instead, it started off as usually being a royal prerogative. The word "arrogant" or "arrogance: is rooted in the word "arrogate", with the implication being that one arrogates credit for doing good things, being wise, and being powerful to oneself.
As Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean said, "It ain't bragging if what you say is true." Since leaders and royalty had an obligation to be strong and powerful to their followers and subjects, there was no shame in being "arrogant", and unless you had a corrupted leader or king this was just seen as being justifiably noble. Nobility was "superior" in the true sense of that word. Heroes were noble, too.
But, we know that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. "Arrogance" comes from Latin--of course, the language of the Roman Empire. As the Empire fell into decay and Christianity rose, eventually it was the Christian culture that began to imply that all arrogant people must be corrupted and filled with false or undeserved pride and haughtiness--even though this had never been necessarily true.
Knowing the root cause of the modern negative definition of "arrogance" gives us a deeper appreciation of it psychologically. We can say that today, it is used to mean that your own true power has become corrupted.
"Arrogant" or "Arrogance" today is defined by the dictionary as:
- Having a feeling of superiority that shows itself in an overbearing attitude.
- An attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions
When you are arrogant you feel superior to everyone else. You are right and everybody else is wrong--at all times. You are beyond reproach. Whatever anyone else says, if it disagrees with what you say and believe, then everything you say is gold, and everything they say is garbage. You tend to think: "I am this powerful; you are less powerful. I am beautiful; you are less beautiful", and so on. You are amazingly boastful and strongly tend to belittle the efforts of others unless they completely agree with you.
If self-esteem has to do with what you think about yourself, having a Healthy Self Esteem has nothing to do with being arrogant. Arrogant people feel superior to everyone else, therefore they are too much concerned about what anyone else thinks of them.
People who lack self-esteem are arrogant because they are not comfortable with themselves. People who have a healthy self-esteem are comfortable with themselves; therefore, they take pleasure in quietly being who they are. They don't need to tell the world about it, and they encourage others to be able to feel the same way about themselves as they do.
I used to be arrogant and felt superior to everyone else because my self-esteem was so low that that I had to find a compensatory mechanism to survive. As I become more conscious of myself I realized that I was totally Insecure. To compensate for my insecurity I constantly put everyone else down "to feel good about myself"...until I become conscious that self-esteem has to do with what I think about myself, not about what other people think about me. What a jerk I must have been, and how many people I must have harmed!