Yesterday I was listening to a podcast and I got really pissed off. One of the presenters kept interrupting really gold bits of information to say things like “I just wanted to say, this is awesome. This is gold” and “I’ve had one million years of experience at this, and I really think this is so helpful”.
Right over the top of the helpful, right over the thought trains of the people contributing really well constructed answers to big questions.
And I realised that my anger, as usual, came because I was hating on those exact tendencies I recognise in myself.
Lately I’ve been freaking out about being perceived as arrogant.
When I meet new people, which I’m doing a lot of lately, I find myself finding ways to let people know how well I’m doing in business.
I find myself telling them about my awesome team of 12 helping me with Project Self. I find myself telling them how much I get to travel, or how busy I am launching my online program for the fourth time.
Even though I know it makes me look like a tosser.
It’s my insecurity.
And it was the podcaster’s insecurity.
I realised as I was listening to her talk over others with her self-centric opinion interruptions, that she so fears that anyone would think she’s not important. She fears that people won’t know how amazing she is, so she jumps in from time to time and make it known.
And it bothers me, because I hate is SO much when I do it myself.
But yet I keep doing it.
Somehow after so much work, I’m still not ok with people thinking I’m just me. Not Andrea the high achiever. Not Andrea the scholarship getter. Not Andrea the architecture graduate. Not Andrea successful entrepreneur. Just Andrea, plain old Andrea, with no external measure of success.
I’m still high achieving!
I’m still relying on the external world to try and prove myself to new people.
And in doing so I’m making myself look (I think) like an arrogant tosser!
I remember very clearly the worst bullying incident of my high school days, when email and AOL chat bullying was in its infancy. A former friend wrote to me the nastiest, most spiteful email I have ever read, out of the blue, and it crushed me.
In it I clearly remember the words
“you walk around school with your nose in the air like there’s a tampon shoved up your arse”
I remember at the time being totally baffled by the statement. She was calling me arrogant? Didn’t she realise how insecure I was? How afraid of everyone I was?
Didn’t she realise I stayed in toilets for ages because I was scared to go out and see anyone I knew?
Looking back it makes sense,
the more insecure you are, the more arrogant you can come across.
So while I’ve come a bloody long way from my former cripplingly insecure self,
I’m still working on it.
We all are.
This is a reminder, to me as much as anyone else, if you find yourself triggered by someone’s behaviour…
1. It’s worth investigating,
could you be looking in a mirror?
2. Remind yourself that arrogance comes from its opposite: insecurity.
It will help you (and me!) see a different side of the person, see how they might actually be suffering beneath the mask of self-importance.
When you really see that, you’ll instead feel compassion towards them,
like you would if they were a child showing off.
If we could all do this more often, mate, would we be living in a different world.