Webster’s defines arrogance as “a feeling of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptuous claims.” When we see someone acting in an arrogant way, we could be tempted to grab the nearest sharp object – a hatpin works well – and pop their inflated ego balloon. Don’t we all enjoy seeing arrogant folks get their comeuppance? After all, a lot of great comedy has been written and performed around this dynamic.
But what is it like when we are the arrogant ones? Like the defilement of humiliation, arrogance is all about me. My viewpoint, my opinion, my ego, my world-view. Do we go about our lives with an assumption that we’re “right” until we are somehow proven “wrong”? Perhaps we don’t notice our arrogance until it gets popped (a la the hatpin). When it is brought to our attention, do we care? Or do we dig our heels in and become even more rigid? It is so hard to just “be with” the pain that arises when we realize we have been arrogant.
When we discussed humiliation last week, Tuere offered up embarrassment as a feeling that is not as attached to the sense of self as humiliation, therefore the experience of embarrassment is much less painful. What is a less self-involved feeling when we’re concerned with arrogance? I have thought of confidence as perhaps the best example, because it expresses a poise and self-reliance that isn’t necessarily obnoxious! But let’s discuss it on Thursday, okay?