I would like to take a moment and reflect upon the differences of confidence and arrogance. At times we may find people who exude confidence and at other times we meet people who’s whole personality just rubs others the wrong way.
About two years ago I came across a spiritual speaker who had some interesting things to say, but they were laden with arrogance and hostility towards other spiritual speakers.
Some listeners and readers would comment, “I can’t get past his arrogance,” to which the speaker replied, “I’m not arrogant, I’m just confident.”
Now this is interesting. It got me thinking, “what exactly is the difference between confidence and arrogance?” Not necessarily the wiki/dictionary definition difference, but the real difference. What makes people take offense, rather than simply listen to someone’s confidence in their ability?
I really sat with this question. I think I come off as arrogant sometimes, especially in my writing. As such I’ve tried to write more from the heart, and less from my reactive nature.
It’s that reactive nature that expresses the feeling of arrogance. At least that’s my current assessment.
In my view, confidence is when we are sure we can do something. Or when we believe with certainty that something will happen. Many great speakers exude confidence and it inspires us.
Confident speakers, especially the spiritual ones, tend to show us our potential. They are confident – they are sure – we can become something greater.
Aside from spirituality, consider a sports personality. Someone who is simply sure that they can perform at their peak. Maybe it’s someone who had an injury and is just getting back into the game. They tell the press how confident they are they will perform well.
Arrogance is confidence turned inward, and amplified. When someone is arrogant, they lord themselves (and their abilities over others.)
Consider a different personality. The press ask a question about their upcoming fight. This person may start bragging, “Look I’m way better than so and so… They don’t have my training, nor my skill.”
Arrogant people turn inward. They constantly brag about their abilities, and then they compare these abilities towards others.
That spiritual speaker I mentioned… he would say some rather controversial things. In one recording he bragged to the audience how he could get any woman he wanted. In another recordings he would brag about how he had supernatural gifts and how it shocked him that other specific people did not.
Fruit of the Tree
We can judge the tree by its fruit. If you meet someone who radiates confidence, they usually don’t even bring it up. Simply put, they do what they do. They don’t sit around and tell you about it, nor do they buy advertising space to show how amazing they are.
Confidence is in the act of being in the moment.
When our confidence attaches to a sense of self, especially the self identified as a body, we become arrogant. The difference is in the feeling of the communication. Does the communication feel uplifting or denigrating?
It’s true we can misinterpret intent in communication. That’s why it’s also important to look at the fruit of the tree. A person who looks at their own nature, constantly uplifting and stoking some self-promotional image, is going to tip their hand.
Such people will break down others, even if they say, “I hate to talk negatively about others but….” and they proceed to talk negatively about others.
Such people are also carnal – meaning, that they are lower on the spectrum of spiritual truth. They need to prove themselves. There’s a quest to convert you to their group, organization, way of thinking.
This isn’t just about difference of opinion, there’s something personal about it. A feeling that if you don’t agree with them, then you’re less than them.
The Spiritual Expression
I wrote about this in my latest book, Henosis. I believe that all of us are expressions of God. From my human experience I thought of it like a linear ray of light (brightest at the source, or God) and darkest at the furthest point from God. We are that totality. Where our consciousness resides (our sense of awareness of self) is what I believe reality is for us. Our sense of self, as well as our view of the world at large, resonates from this state.
The image above is a concept I sketched out. I considered God to be source, like a radiating light, like the sun. Imagine a ray of light, extending outward from the sun. In this case the sun is at the bottom, and the raw is expressing outward and upwards. The direction is not important. This isn’t saying that something is above God, but rather God is a single source of light – from which all manifests. The furthest from source is darkness, and the closest to source is purity.
I’ll cover this in more detail in other posts… but for now, if we conceptualize our nature as the blue rectangle of consciousness, the diagram is showing our nature. Where our consciousness resides, is where our sense of self is.
A spiritual seeker is constantly looking towards source. We can think of it as looking “upwards” which would be towards source and away from the grey and dark lands farther away.
Arrogance puts us on this scale as well. When we are arrogant we attach more to the things of the world – to a false sense of self (the body) and we fixate there. This becomes our identity.
This is the difference between confidence and arrogance. On a sliding scale, confidence can be pure, but arrogance is darker and more rooted into a nature farther from God.