How To Not Be Arrogant (And How Confidence Is Different)

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Are you an arrogant person who is looking to change? That would make the most sense since you’re reading this article in the first place. We just want to congratulate you and say:

That’s wonderful. Truly. It takes a lot to acknowledge a shortcoming and want to work on correcting it so you can be a healthier, happier you.

To really work on and correct this problem, we must understand what exactly we are talking about and what makes it such a problem.

What is arrogance?

Let’s start with a dictionary definition.

Arrogance – The state of being arrogant. Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s importance or abilities.

An arrogant person will think they know best or are the best. They may feel like other people simply cannot do what they do with the same success.

Their perception tends to be that their worldview is superior and correct, and often have a hard time challenging it. Challenges to that worldview may make them extremely angry.

Arrogance itself doesn’t have a single cause. It can stem from a person who has been extremely successful, poor self-esteem and self-worth, or a need for approval. It may also be the result of a poor relationship dynamic with a parent as a child, where the child was manipulated into earning their parents’ love and attention.

The arrogant person may feel they need to be perfect and superior to other people to demonstrate that they are worthy.

They may force themselves into a pattern of thinking where they must know best because they have succeeded at these other things. Other worldviews and perspectives are not necessarily essential, because they don’t think enough of the life experiences of other people.

For some, arrogance is a defensive mechanism in a society that cares more about what you can do for it than who you actually are. The facade of superiority is meant to be the armor that protects the person from outside criticism and attacks. After all, if I know better than you, why should I care what you think about me or something I did?

What the arrogant person doesn’t realize is that no one is perfect. No one has all the answers. No one can or needs to know everything.

Everyone has blemishes, flaws, and struggles with things from time to time. That doesn’t make anyone a lesser person. That’s just life.

What is the difference between arrogance and confidence?

One word – humility.

Humility – a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.

It’s the ability to accept that you can be wrong, that other people will be better than you at some things, that you are flawed and capable of making mistakes.

A confident person may think they are the best person for the job, but they are also willing to hear other people out or use their knowledge to help get results.

A confident person can admit when they’re wrong and apologize. That doesn’t always feel good either. Sometimes it’s embarrassing or hurtful to have to admit when you’re wrong. It’s just part of the cost of being wrong and mending whatever fences need fixing.

Fortunately, worthwhile people – the type of people that you will likely want in your life – will see and respect that.

Toxic and destructive people often look at an apology or being wrong as a weakness to be exploited. This is something you’ll want to be aware of and ready for should it happen to you on your journey of self-growth.

The best way to handle it is to have firm boundaries that you enforce. It’s okay to accept responsibility and the repercussions for a bad choice. It’s not okay to let anyone else shove their responsibilities and blame onto you.

Confidence itself is not bad. It’s good to be confident in your skills and abilities. But arrogance often leads to overconfidence. It creates blind spots where you may not be able to see your own shortcomings or bad choices.

How do I stop being arrogant?

The process of change isn’t an easy one. If you’ve been arrogant for a long time, then there are a lot of perceptions that you’re going to need to address and rewire.

The good news is that it is possible! It just requires regular effort, screwing up from time to time, and then trying again.

There will be times when you slip up on your journey of self-improvement, but that’s okay. Not only is it not the end of the world, but it’s also an expected part of the journey!

Here are some ways that you can start to shift your perception.

1. Admit when you’re wrong.

A big step toward humility is being able to accept and admit when you’re wrong. When you make a mistake, don’t try to avoid responsibility. Don’t brush it off, try to push it onto someone else, or pretend it didn’t happen. Own it. Say to yourself and the people affected, “I realize that I’m wrong and I’d like to make it right. What can I do to fix this?”

2. Learn to laugh at yourself.

Everyone has flaws and quirks. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes we do foolish things by accident or because of a personality quirk that we have. All of these things are okay.

Being able to laugh at yourself and not take these quirks so seriously will help reduce your feelings of overconfidence. Plus, there are many people who bond over playfully giving each other a hard time. Just make sure it’s not mean-spirited or meant to hurt you.

The added benefit of learning to laugh at yourself is that you strip power from people who would use your mistakes or quirks as a way to harm you. They may make a snide, hurtful comment, and it loses all of its punch if you can just shrug and laugh at it. Most people aren’t worth getting upset over.

3. Treat yourself with greater kindness.

Arrogance can be a byproduct of a need to feel like you are the best. But you’re not the best, not at everything. You may be great, but you’re not the best. There’s always someone better out there. Remind yourself that it’s okay not to be the best.

You’re allowed to have off-days, for things to not go right, to experience hurt, to need rest and relaxation. Don’t spend your time beating yourself up when you’re not the best. Remind yourself that it’s okay to not always be perfect.

4. Spend less time worrying about being right.

Arrogant people tend to think they are right most of the time, that their truth is the only truth that matters. In reality, there are usually many truths with different facets of information. What you believe may be true, but only partially true or true without the proper context.

You don’t have to be right all the time. And you’re probably not going to be. You’ve probably been wrong more than you realize, but arrogance tends to blind us to our own shortcomings.

Let other people be right. Not every battle is worth fighting. Sometimes you just have to smile and let things go.

5. Let other people take the lead.

An excellent way to practice humility is to serve under another person or as a less dominant member of a team. Follow their lead and allow them to accomplish whatever task there is at hand so that you can see for yourself that other people can get results.

Don’t make suggestions unless you need to. And if you do make suggestions, let them be shot down if the lead doesn’t think that will work out. It’s okay if it doesn’t.

Don’t be surprised if this feels very uncomfortable. It’s difficult to relinquish control when you feel you need to do things yourself for them to turn out right. But powering through it will help you.

6. Ask other people for help.

Asking another person for help is another way to defuse arrogance and promote humility. By asking for help, you are demonstrating that this other person may know a better way to accomplish the thing that you are working on.

It goes back to letting other people take the lead on matters that might not be your specialty. And be sure to thank the person and give them credit if it’s due.

7. Offer meaningful, realistic compliments.

Look for reasons to build the other people around you up. If they’re doing a great job, tell them that. If you’re impressed with what they’re doing, let them know. Does their hair look great? Are they a snappy dresser? Do you like that thing they did? Tell them! This will get you in the habit of focusing less on what makes you great and more on what makes other people great too.

8. Be respectful of other people, regardless of their station.

This is a difficult one. It’s easy to get trapped into a cycle of thinking that a person is where they are at in life solely because of their own choices. It can be tempting to think that the person you’re dealing with should have done as well as you, but you don’t know their circumstances or story.

Some people do everything right and still don’t manage to get ahead. Not everyone can win. And sometimes it’s down to luck and circumstances outside of one’s control. Try to avoid judging other people who are not as successful or haven’t been able to succeed at what they tried.

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The process of changing from an arrogant person to a more compassionate, humble person is a long journey that’s going to have some twists and turns in it. There is a lot of work that you can do on your own, but you may find that you’re stumbling along the way.

This is an excellent reason to seek out the support of a certified mental health professional to get to the root of why you’re arrogant and fix that. Once you fix that, adjusting your perspective and worldview gets much easier.

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