Arrogant Fool

February 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm 1 comment

So I’ve been told, by more than one person on more than one occasion, that I am arrogant;  that I regard my opinion more highly than that of others,  that I think I am better at things than other people.

This statement doesn’t confront me, nor would I vehemently deny it.  I just disagree with it a little – particularly the context of those who have said it and how I feel they have come to that opinion.

On a daily basis, I actively downplay my intelligence.  In the daily conduct of my work, I am selective about my language choices and slow my pace when explaining concepts, processes and ideas to others.  To a great extent I quieten my wit and generously laugh along at other people’s comments I don’t find that funny,  and I nod in empathy as they tell me their right winged, uneducated opinion on the state of Aboriginals.

I don’t believe that ‘arrogant’ is their impression of me.

See, for the most part, revealing my confident, “arrogant” side is something I only do with those I am close with;   those with whom I have faith that they know me well enough to realise that I am just revealing my confident self as well as my vulnerable, self doubting side.

And I understand how that confident self could be construed as being ‘arrogant’.  My confident self is very confident.  I DO think I can do anything.   I DO think I can learn just about anything.    I DO think most people are ignorant and oblivious, and that our society promotes this level of existence.

I don’t, however, think my belief in myself is that unfounded and my confidence stems from the fact that, well, I have done a lot of anythings and can do a lot more if I so choose.  When it comes to my intelligence and experience, my confidence comes from that I have a long line of “achieving” with minimal struggle… 

For instance, schooling for me was a breeze.  To give you an idea, in year 12 I didn’t actually attend school enough to technically complete the grade, yet I still got a score that made me eligible for all but four university courses (who wants to be a vet anyway??).  Add to this that I was living out of home for year 12, so my nights included cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, mowing the lawns… as well as study.

University was no different – high GPA, low attendance, minimal effort.  My hardest semester was Semester 6 which included a structural physics and advanced algebra subjects.  I was completing uni externally, learning from texts and notes, not attending lectures.   I had a 3 year old son, and I was working 30 hrs a week.

As to work, my career is not limited and my experience so varied that it has come to a point that I think ‘gees, I could do a few things’.  In searching for a new job, I search for the following broad employment sectors:  financial controller or book keeper,  graphic designer,  marketing and PR, events and sponsorship coordinator,  administration/office manager,  HR and a whole swag of general management roles.

Do I consider myself expert on any of these?  No.  Do I think that I am employable in any of those roles listed?  Yes.

More to the point, any deficits in my knowledge, I am  confident that I can address.  Maybe this is naive.  Maybe this arrogant.  But damn, I have taught myself how establish a company,  install a toilet, cut and sew garments to size, replace the gear box in old 80’s engines, do property conveyancing, and draw architectural plans for my dream house. (Google has been a great and all powerful friend!)

Herein lies the risk of all this.   I don’t reveal nor discuss this skill set or confidence in great deal with anyone but those who are really close to me.  And when I do reveal or discuss it, it is not a case of ‘hey, I’m so great, I did this and that and the other’.  It’s more a case of “I think I can do this, don’t you think?”.

I feel misunderstood by those who have thought me arrogant.  I feel like they have placed me on a little pedestal – one where it was ok for me to be insecure and vulnerable to the point of despair, but the opposite scale is unattractive.

I am disappointed that they have misunderstood me –  thought I was disregarding their skills and thinking I was ‘better’ than them.  Sure there are areas that I DO think I am more experienced and skilled and “better” at than them, but I really don’t think I dismiss their point of view or skill set as inferior or groundless unless I truly believe that my experience has shown me better.  How to raise my children is probably a good case in point.  Do I think I have all the answers?  No.  Do I think that my approach is the best way possible?  No.  Do I think your approach is the better one?  Sometimes, but I will consider it against my 24 years experience of child rearing before adopting it.   But we are talking about something I do – that I want to adopt for MYSELF.  I don’t believe that I go about telling everyone they should do this, that and the other.

Perhaps that is also where further misunderstanding seeps in.  If we are close friends and you do feel that I am overbearing in my unasked for advice, well, I see that as part of being a close, intimate friend.   Our intimacy has crossed boundaries meaning that we don’t have to ask for anothers advice – it’s just there like a sounding board, a sage.  And, if anything, I am waiting for them to speak up and to challenge me, to give me the unsolicited advice that only someone who loves you can.   

Above all, however, I am a touch hurt that to the people to whom I feel close and comfortable enough to reveal my true self, that they have judged me for it.

I rarely let all my  ‘intelligence’ hang out – it’s a treat for me to be with someone who understands how my little mind ticks and to feel comfortable to let my thoughts flow without being too mindful of the interpretation or their judgement.  To be free to express my highs and lows, self doubts and self belief.

I thought they understood that.   I thought they knew me better than that. 

Maybe I’m just misunderstanding them.


Entry filed under: Rants, Reflections. Tags: , , , .

To the man I love so dearly My little Bella

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Pete Campbell  |  February 13, 2009 at 9:45 am

    great post Linda, the very fact that you are discussing and confronting these issues publicly shows your caring and giving nature.
    I am also experiencing the same conflicts, i am trying to apply the philosophy of being detached from the actual results of ones kindness and expression with varying degrees of success. I have yet to find a better solution. Well a few drinks is a good stop gap measure haha.


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