Arrogance vs. Confidence

When you get confident, some people are going to call you arrogant.   And that’s something I delve into more in my work on self-respect, but I wanted to address it specifically because it’s a problem I keep hearing about.   Let me start out with a story.

I was babysitting an adorable little girl not long ago.   And she asked what it meant to be spoiled when she read the word in a book her mother gave her.  I explained to her that being spoiled isn't really about having a lot of things, it's about not being grateful for what you have and knowing that the type of person you are and your relationships are more important than anything.  And it’s about thinking that since you have those things, you’re better than other people.

I see that as kind of analogous to confidence vs. arrogance. Confidence is knowing who you are, liking who you are, and not wanting to change it. You can be proud of yourself and appreciate yourself, and you can think "Damn, I look fine" or "This idea I had is bomb, I feel like a genius right now." 


Arrogance is when you say that you're better than someone (or everyone) else because of the things that you think are true about you. It requires a sense of superiority, and bringing that attitude into the world. If you're arrogant, you aren't recognizing the brilliance of others, and what they offer to the world, because you think what you're giving off is so much better.

However, in my experience, this is not true of most women who are called this ugly thing.  The situation in which I most often hear it, honestly, involves insecure people hitting back at a woman’s confidence because it makes them feel uncomfortable about their own lack of it.   And frankly, people are also far more likely to call out and be “turned off” by women and especially women of color for "arrogance" when they openly show that they’re confident in who they are because society has for a long time said that it’s not okay for people in those groups to like themselves, and seeing pushback against that makes some people uncomfortable. And that's something we need to fight, because we have the right (and in fact, need) to love ourselves, and we shouldn't have to hide that.   Society doesn’t change until we change it.

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