There is confusion about the words confidence and arrogance.
Confidence – means ‘with faith’. It means we have faith that we have what it takes to get through whatever it is that is in front of us.
If I don’t have confidence, I will not believe in my strength to survive whatever that unknown thing is – whether it’s someone with a different opinion, different appearance, a situation I’ve never been in….
If I feel afraid of whatever that new thing/person/situation is and I don’t believe I will survive that feeling of discomfort or the threat I believe it represents, I will not use my more evolved ways of being.. I won’t have time to think about ‘how can I engage with this?’ Instead, I will either want to run as fast as I can away from it – or if I can’t, I will curl my mouth and face up into a snarl and use my vocal cords to show how tough I am. Or I will want to build walls around me to keep that unknown/scary thing away. That’s the behavior we see that we call ‘mean’.
It’s funny that when we see someone we label as mean or arrogant, we think we should make them feel less confident. I disagree – I think they need to be more confident (aka. ‘with faith that they have what it takes to move through the fear of unknown/different people/situations’). It’s their fear of not surviving those threats that makes them arrogant.
In order to be more compassionate and of service to others, an arrogant person actually needs to feel that they are MORE important. Not more important than someone else. More important than they currently think of themselves. The idea of importance to me means – to ‘matter’.
We actually need more people – with every fibre of their being- to know they matter. Because that is when they realize they have something to contribute – something so unique and irreplaceable to bring to the group. When they know that, that they – and only they – can fulfill that sacred duty for humanity, they don’t have to fear being of no value to the ‘tribe’.
When they don’t fear that anymore, it means they are not on an alert of how they are going to be kicked out of the tribe (which is wired in us to equate with death).
When they don’t fear that they will be kicked out, they can stop being in defensive or offensive movement to make sure that attention is on other people’s faults. Because that is what happens. When we are not sure if we matter, we are not sure if at some point, we will just get kicked out by the tribe. So we need to make sure someone ELSE gets noticed for being of less value.
In today’s conformity and standardized-driven culture, we aren’t given space to figure out how we can uniquely contribute to the tribe. This means that the only thing we can do is figure out how we are more, have more, do more about that SAME THING that the others in the tribe are doing.
That means that the ONLY way I won’t get rejected is if I am more, have more, do more than someone else. Not related to my own unique talents, but in comparison to that same thing. As long as there is someone who is less, has less, does less than me – i’m safe, because the tribe will get rid of that person first.
So the absolute most important point of this is… the unique, irreplaceable contribution that you and only you can make. The more we get clear on this, the more important every person will feel. The more every person will know – without doubt – that their existence contributes something to the whole.
So our job is to figure out our own ‘thing’ that is so unique that no one else will ever be able to replicate it. And then help others do the same. The more we create space for this – in our classrooms, workplace, communities, and moment to moment conversations, the more confident people will be, and the less likely that arrogance will need to rear its head.