You Might Know Best, But I Know Better.

I'd explain it to you, but you wouldn't understand.


A while ago, when I was a teenager and had even further to go towards maturity than I do today, I discovered that I was monstrously arrogant and really knew very, very little about the world.

Since then, I have been working towards trying to be more humble, and walk in life with the knowledge that what I believe to be a (near) certainty may well be demonstrated to be false at any moment. That is just the nature of knowledge, of any sort.

I believe that everyone knows and understands things in a way that I do not, and that there is something for me to learn from everyone and everything.

I believe that every person should be treated with respect and dignity, and that everyone's viewpoint is worth listening to and genuinely considering, no matter how much it may conflict with my own beliefs. The proviso being that they attempt to show some respect for the people that they are sharing their beliefs with.

Recently, I have learned a lot more about the nature of confidence. Not self-confidence, but learning that for other people to have confidence in you. And for people to feel emotionally reassured by, and to act upon your knowledge, one needs to radiate certainty. During times of stress and duress, some people need you to be quite forceful. This dismayed me, as I am very fond of people being rational, and approaching things with rationality, objectivity and a level head.

And yet, people do need that confidence, in difficult times, to still their anxiety a little, to find the courage within themselves. If you are there to help, in whatever way, if the person you are helping does not believe you are have the appropriate level of certainty in what you are doing, then often your help will be no good at all, regardless of how good your information is.

It's a tough balancing act, because the line between arrogance and confidence, between respect and disrespect is a very fine one and it shifts from person to person, and even from time to time with that same person. Just as important as being able to display confidence is knowing how to communicate in a way that demonstrates respect, and authenticity.

Add to that, deep down, we all believe that we are right, about anything that we have confidence with. This does not mean we are not open to other ideas, or to be proved wrong down the track, but to be sure, it is vital to being a normal functioning human being to have a foundation of facts that you know to be true.

It's difficult to bring all that together without me occasionally falling back into bad habits of arrogance.

To all the people on this site towards whom I have either come across as arrogant, or  been outright arrogant towards, I apologise. And I hope to keep learning from you all, and hopefully share what I have learned along my own path, in the hope of offering a different perspective.


PS: I'm still right though.
TheTardyDodo TheTardyDodo
31-35, M
11 Responses Jul 2, 2007

Nice work.

Excellent group TD. Very well said El...........I teeter between the confident, arrogant, and humble............oddly enough these traits didn't arise in my personality profile till my late twenties......I was very shy about my intelligence because it wasn't cool.

Thank you Brut. The hour is late, economy is all. "Brevity is the soul of wit." Oscar Wilde

you are sooooooooo right about the humility issue; that was a wonderful, succinct way to put it, El.

Arrogance and confidence are antithetical in my experience. Those who yell the loudest are most fearful. Confidence is very, very quiet - why should it speak? As to humility, it is the only sane response to one's position in the universe. Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.

You inspire me every day, TD :)

Agree one hundred percent, although I might yet still have that epiphany... Knowing these things does not make life any easier. As an arrogant teen I conducted psychological experiments on my friends, and then became puzzled when they hated me for it... I thought I was smart to do things like compliment people and test reactions, or to initiate different relationships between friends. <br />
I'm still arrogant these days (As if I’m an old man with many days under my belt :-) )Look at me now, the first thing I do about a story is think about how it applies to me...when what I should do is say how clearly you have elaborated on another of life’s confusing problems. If I think I am right, but accept that other people believe they are right with equal conviction, how can I assume that I am qualified to challenge their belief? <br />
I wish I knew you in person TardyDodo. I think I’ve known people like you, and they make for good conversation; which I am severely lacking these days.

this spoke to me on many levels. the first level being that i am so much the same as you describe yourself - arrogant teen who had an epiphany that what we stand on and for could at any moment change therefore, in the greater scheme of things we are now smart enough to know we know nothing ... in my own words. the confidence portion rang true. oh how it rings true for me today (and always but today it's especially true.) as always you're very insightful and full of wisdom not to mention well worded and entertaining. keep it up, silly bird!

'RIGHT' on!! I give this a 5!

HAHAHA I love the title of your story! :D

I wish MORE people had this kind of understanding of themselves (and others)! A sense of humor about your so-called arrogance helps a lot too. I don't think you have anything to worry about :)