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Confident or Arrogant?

Updated on May 20, 2020
Danyelcarinzia profile image

I am a firm believer in life long learning, it is my goal to improve my life based on the lessons learned the previous day.

Again and again, I hear the question, how do I present myself in a way that my counterpart realises that I am confident? I don't want to appear arrogant by any standards.

How do we come to believe that confidence has something to do with arrogance?

Today it's a requirement to be stable, secure, bright, present, confident. In the workforce, these soft skills have long since caught up with technical and methodological skills. I still observe a great deal of caution, not to say inhibition of a confident demeanour.

Too often, it is interpreted as arrogance. It almost seems as though the line between confidence and arrogance is impossibly narrow, and you're always at risk of crashing to one side with each step.

It seems all the more important to me to clarify what it means to be aware of yourself — being confident means knowing your strengths, your abilities and your skills.

It also means to perceive oneself with everything that makes you human. With experiences, overcome crises and perhaps with the knowledge of how to regain strength in weak moments.

For me, it is also necessary to be aware of its downsides and be able to deal with its weak points — at least to learn it. Then you realise what's good about you. This positively proven concept of confidence can, therefore, be defined objectively and clearly in a certain sense.


There is a broad consensus here

What Does Arrogance Suggest?

Does it just suggest talking about your strengths and continue highlighting them? Or is it about overemphasising oneself and putting one's peculiarities above those of others? Unlike confidence, arrogance is perceived differently by everyone.

The reason for this is that for many of us, arrogance is just a latent feeling, something difficult to describe. Cultural diversity also plays a role in the assessment. One attaches a sticker on the car bumper that reads,


I am the best driver


There are rewards for everything and everyone in the form of slogans on stickers, for attaching or as certificates. There one speaks of "healthy confidence". Someplace else such behaviour might be described as arrogance.

What Do We Mean By Arrogance?

When I ask people this question, I get as many answers as respondents. That has to do with individually different value systems of the social and family environment, as well as with the definition of the term arrogance.

For a long time, I have been concerned with the question of why we are so hard to be confident and proud of others. Perhaps a deeply internalised guilt feeling is responsible for it. Of course, not all mental health problems in our society can be excused with internalised guilt.

But sometimes I get the feeling that we can't be too proud of ourselves, of what we do, what constitutes us. Why are we considered arrogant when we are loud, shrill or conspicuous? If we get noticed at all.

Especially at work, we have to hide behind values such as modesty, restraint or humility. The foundation of work ethic, in many companies, is the rigour of the employees with themselves. But in doing so, we don't do us a favour.

We long for recognition and praise, yet we must not celebrate if something went well. It's no coincidence that a saying like

self-praise stinks

is firmly anchored in us. But how can others recognise us if we are not even allowed to praise ourselves?

We learn so painstakingly in coachings and workshops, through therapy or books, how we can accept and love ourselves — as we are, with all our peculiarities and complicated sides — and then we should hide our strengths.

We should stand confidently, be strong and stand up for ourselves. But we must not be too loud and do not emphasise too much what we are good at, don't attract attention and look arrogant!

Where Does Arrogance Begin And Where Does Confidence End?

There seems to be an invisible measure after which a certain degree of confidence suddenly turns into arrogance. That measure depends on education, the social environment and culture.

In a globalised world, it won't be easy to figure out which one is the right one. Who determines this measure? Indeed, we will not find an answer to it if we let others set it for us.

We have to find the measure with which we feel comfortable for ourselves. What a nice thought;) it makes us a bit independent of the opinion of others.

How Can We Implement That In Practice?

If you are aware that you are doing something extra good or have done well, enjoy it. Pat yourself on the back. Say something like,

  • That's me! That's my achievement
  • I am good at it
  • I have worked it out
  • I did that well
  • That's what separates me

Find your own words that suit you. Afterwards, you will see your body with closed eyes. If you put your praise somewhere in your body, where you most likely feel it? What does it feel like there? Remember this feeling.

The more often you do this little exercise, the better your body will store the positive emotion and the good thoughts with the body feeling. You can use it later and use it consciously. In the future, in times when your confidence suffers, you can remember that feeling.

So the stored good feeling can be called upon, as a support, in weak moments.

Treat yourself well, appreciatively and with pride. It is your achievement to acknowledge yourself, and you can show that. Consciously take a new attitude towards yourself. Imagine having a proper posture with the feeling of a new, better perspective.

Enjoy it; even you are mentally a little bigger than in reality

Maybe someday we will develop a new conception of ourselves and understand the term confidence differently. I would wish that, soon, today.

© 2020 Danyel

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