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The older I get, the better perspective I get on arrogance.


I speak in both a general sense and how I’ve fallen victim to my own arrogance over the years. It shows up in weird ways everywhere I look around me, this arrogance thing. Artifacts of it are everywhere.

I think arrogance has its root in one basic assumption: Of course you’re above X. X is just X. Haha! You’re going to control X and make it your bitch. It’s all in taking X by the horns, because you’re strong and it’s all up to you. You go, girl. You aren’t like these other people who are at the mercy of X. You’re far better.

And then you get cancer or step in front of a truck or an old lady breaks a pool cue over your head, causing a permanent twitch that destroys your bowling career. Stuff happens.

Other stuff that might happen: You might realize that although you did a creditable job of muscling though the challenges of X, you really are kind of a crap person in almost every other way. Maybe you find out that X doesn’t stand for much more than X.

I see strong arrogance in people who over-parent. It’s as though they think they are so strong they can not only drive and manage and totally control results within their own lives (they can’t) but are also totally responsible for the continued respiration and locomotion of their burgeoning infant (they aren’t).

Kids have their own journey underway from the second they are born. Parents facilitate, guide, and protect–and most of all — love. All of those are essential.
But really, where the kid ultimately ends up doesn’t depend entirely on you as a parent.

And trust me — you prefer it that way.

Because if you don’t want to take full responsibility for them when they turn into drug-addicted, sociopathic, neo-Nazi bus-depot prostitutes, don’t pretend their promotion to regional assistant branch manager really had that much to do with you, either. You were but the channel of God’s grace in either case.

But anyway, I’ve been called “arrogant” in the past. And I suppose snivling little whiny people deserve their own opinion. In other words, I resemble that remark, I will admit.

But I think what both enrages and delights me most are the times when I realize that the person accusing me of arrogance is at least as arrogant as I am, in their own way. To be proud of ones humility and certain of one’s moral underpinnings bespeaks a certain arrogance, no matter what platitudes are dribbling out of a person’s squeeny little mouth through a homespun little accent.

Not that I’m arrogant or anything.

Anyway, I think the real counter to arrogance is in vulnerability. That Brene Brown talk speaks volumes about the wages of arrogance. When you express vulnerability — even if your vulnerability is best expressed when acting like an a-hole — you are conquering arrogance. That’s when you admit that you’re not in control.

That’s when you surrender.