Self-esteem without arrogance
One thing that can hold people back from developing better self-esteem is their concern that they would turn into an arrogant person who looks at other people from above and acts at other people´s expense.
Self-esteem and arrogance are two different things. It is possible to be self-confident without insulting others.
Self-esteem and arrogance: What is the difference?
Psychological schools have approached the topic of self-esteem from many different angles. For example, Abraham Maslow considered self-esteem to be a need, while humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers suggested that esteem and self-esteem were something that every human being deserved.
Self-esteem is related to our positive attitude towards ourselves, an evaluation of our own worth.
Arrogance is an attitude of superiority, it is a way of thinking and behaving based on the belief that we are better, more important, smarter than other people.
Psychologists differ in their opinions on whether a person can be self-confident and arrogant at the same time. Personally, I rather think that true self-confidence excludes arrogance, and that if somebody gives the impression of being self-confident and arrogant, it is likely to be the insecurities, or gaps in their confidence, that drive the arrogant acts.
What is self-esteem without arrogance like?
What might be really crucial for strengthening your self-esteem is whether you are able to imagine the type of self-esteem you would like to achieve: in this case, self-esteem without arrogance. Can you picture such a combination? What would a self-confident yet not arrogant person be like?
I strongly encourage you to think about those questions and to try to create a mental picture that you believe in and that makes you feel motivated. Imagine somebody you really want to become. Once you manage to design such a mental picture, you are already on your way to developing that type of self-esteem.
However, if you struggle with creating such a picture, I can share mine with you, for your inspiration.
My idea of self-confident yet not arrogant people:
Self-confident people respect themselves, and they respect other people too.
Self-confident people like many things about themselves, just as they like many things about other people.
They do not base their own value on each individual success or failure, because they recognize their own value as such, even on the days when things do not go so well. Similarly, they value other people as such, not based on one sentence or an individual act.
Self-confident people trust themselves: they trust their own judgement, their ability to make choices, and their own potential to cope with situations. They have general trust in other people and their potential too.
Self-confident people recognize their own needs and try to fulfil them, but they accept that the needs of other people might be different.
They know and follow their own priorities, but they understand that other people may have different priorities.
They speak out, voice what they want, and they are able to listen to others.
They are able to ask for help or to delegate, but they are not devastated if somebody tells them “No”.
They are able to make their own judgement and say “No” themselves.
They are able to admit mistakes, as well as to feel proud of themselves. Self-confident people can accept and enjoy frank compliments and they can pay frank compliments to others.
They believe their opinions matter, just as they believe the opinions of other people involved matter.
They enjoy their own personal progress, rather than constantly comparing themselves with other people.
Although they recognize differences between the talents, looks or performances of different people, they have a sense of equality towards others, meaning they do not consider themselves to be of more or less value than others, despite being different.
What can you do to improve your self-confidence without becoming arrogant?
Just balance it. Give yourself kindness, respect, acceptance, and give the same to the others.
If you wish to improve your self-esteem in a non-arrogant way, you can try the following steps:
- Create your mental picture of self-confident you.
I have shown you my picture of a self-confident yet not arrogant person - now you try to create your own one: how would it look if you were self-confident in the way you would like to be? How would you then think, feel and act?
- Fake it until you become it.
What would the self-confident person that you want to become do in the situations you have been in up to now? Consider doing just that. When you’ve been acting confident for some time, you will start thinking and feeling confident too! Caution: this works only if you “fake”, aka behave like, someone you genuinely want to become.
- Praise yourself.
Focus your attention on personal progress and achievements: e.g. when you followed your judgement and you were glad about it later on, when you overcame your own fear and pushed your limits further, when you did better than the last time, etc. Learn to pay attention to the things you like, instead of noticing only the moments when you were not satisfied with yourself. Paying attention to what you like about yourself rather than to what you dislike is a habit. You can always develop your habits, starting for example today and doing it again tomorrow and on each of the next days. Changing an old habit (focusing on dislikes) into the new one (focusing on likes) requires repetition.
- Praise others.
Apply the same rule when it comes to other people. Learn to be aware of their skills, potential, efforts, and likeable features. Support their self-confidence by complimenting them. Caution: only compliment when you mean it.
- Engage in personally meaningful endeavours.
You will perceive your own value more intensely when you are doing things you consider meaningful, so add more such things into your daily life.