November 9     

Today's quotation:

Arrogance really comes from insecurity, and in the end our feeling that we are bigger than others is really the flip side of our feeling that we are smaller than others.

Desmond Tutu

Today's Meditation:

This is something that I've always felt to be true, and the main reason that arrogant people don't bother me too much.  No matter what they say to me to try to make me feel less than I am, if I keep in mind that they're trying to make me feel like they feel inside, then it's hard to get mad at them.  They're dealing with their own demons-- themselves, mostly-- and externalizing their fears rather than internalizing them.

When we think about where different behaviors and attitudes come from, it becomes pretty easy to be forgiving.  So many of the rude things that people do originate in fear and anxiety; so much greed is also the result of fear; and arrogance, too, results from insecurities and fear, and not from a true feeling of being superior to others.  Arrogant people are hurting.  Their masquerade of an air of superiority is simply a smokescreen that they hope will keep us from seeing just how insecure they really are.

Some people, of course, truly do believe that they're better than anyone else, and that has to come from having learned it somewhere.  Perhaps a parent went a bit too far in trying to build their self-confidence.  Maybe they were successful in many things while growing up, and that caused them to develop arrogance instead of confidence.  I think that in certain situations, any of us could be guilty of arrogance, especially when we're around people whom we see as being inferior to us in some way.  Any time that we put ourselves above another human being, we run the risk of thinking arrogantly and unfairly.

Arrogance really is unfair, after all.  It's the result of judging others and finding them to be lacking in particular ways that we feel we're better in.  We can't go judging ourselves harshly every time certain thoughts come up, but we really should take stock now and then when we find ourselves feeling that we're better than someone else, for it's in just those times that we're truly close to arrogance ourselves, and that's a bridge that we want to cross as rarely as possible-- if ever.

Questions to consider:

What do you consider to be arrogant behavior?  Where do you think such behavior originates?

When was the last time you were arrogant yourself?  Why did it happen?

What are some of the negative results of arrogant behavior?  Can we be arrogant and still be happy?  Does one follow or inhibit the other?

For further thought:

The opposite of humility is arrogance--the belief that we are wiser or better than others.   Arrogance promotes separation rather than community.  It looms like a brick wall between us and those from whom we could learn.

John Marks Templeton
Worldwide Laws of Life

more thoughts and ideas on arrogance



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