The first time I heard the phrase “you must think a lot of yourself” it was very puzzling. I have excelled in many areas of knowledge gathering but failed miserably in others. I never took those failures are permanent things but as a means to a new beginning. I was bullied at school when I was younger, I also have some pretty disastrous relationships in the past. I owned my mistakes in those failures and moved on. I try to improve myself as a person every day, and I am nowhere near where I would love to be, but I am content with who I am. Some lessons need to be learned twice before the settle in, some I might never learn.
From what I was very young my parents realized that I was a very independent person. It help me a lot dealing with the bulling and started me down the path of being a leader in many ways. I pick on people now to make them feel included, and while that does not work all the time, I have made many friends that way. For most of my teen years I did not know how to depend on others and did not understand the concept of team work. I also gave advice freely but without the disclaimer that it was simply advice, not that what I said was law and friendships depended on it. Since, I started to realize those shortcomings my mistake came to light, most people don’t like to be empathized with because they think that their state of mind does not show. I now try to be very proactive in asking people if everything is ok when I see something going on, and most of the time they will be open about wanting help or just someone to listen to them. Some people are truly beyond help because they don’t see their problems or have chosen to ignore it, the worse are the people that actually see what burns their soul as a good thing.
Being self critical can be a double edge sword, because sometimes damaged people might confirm suspicions on personality flaws that are not correct. That took me down many wrong paths in one of the worse relationships I have ever had. From it I learned a couple of very important things. Don’t let other doubts become or reinforce your own unless they come in a loving ways, and never get your positive reinforcement from a single source. I am not a good friend to porcupines because I take off my tough skin as soon as I call someone a friend. People that have a hard time expressing emotions verbally tend to bottle things up and let it burst in a flurry of strong words. The person in that doomed relationship was so absorbed by her coping mechanism that she had turned off her capability to receive love. The wall built around her soul was so thick that I actually believe it killed all the life inside. I know it sounds harsh, but my opinion on this one cannot be backed up with examples. Trust me when I say that a sarcasm only way of communication was enough to send me tumbling to rock bottom.
So what does this have to do with arrogance?
As I get older I become more self assured. I understood that happiness was a choice, just like faith for those of us who believe in God is what comes out of the gift of free will. In this space I call my blog I am very open and direct with my opinions and it at times comes over as arrogant as a friend recently pointed out. I am always willing to consider and dialogue about another point of view, but have a hard time with dismissive debate. I play devil’s advocate often enough that I should be more open to dismissive “you are wrong” attitudes; but time has made me almost callous of people that don’t see where my point of view is coming or are even willing to dig a little deeper. Some of my positions, thoughts and opinions are rooted in very personal things that I don’t feel I should always be revealed or demand more respect from. I think I am more open in a blog than most people are with their friends and family.
My wife hating motorcycles is a big deal for the both of us because motorcycle riding it has been a big part of my life. I grew up with a motorcycle being the only means of transportation for my Dad to go to work. I also learn to ride them while very young and rode one almost my whole adult life. That coupled with a huge percentage of my friends back in Chicago being motorcycle rider makes me miss riding out to eat hot dogs and Italian beef on Thursdays a lot.
Most people would assume originally that she should just let me be happy, but the minute they learn that one of her brothers died in a motorcycle accident their position often changes. I go back and forth on that issue in my head, but the argument sometimes goes to the death sentence chosen by me if I eat greasy tasty food for the rest of my life… nobody knows how I am going to exit this world right?
Personal experience seems to make opinions more valid, and I don’t think it should in every discussion. When I talk about violence, my opinion should not be more important because I have been the victim of gunman coming into my Grandma’s home and shooting at us (nobody was actually killed) while we celebrated her birthday. When talking about prostitution, knowing an sex worker as a friend should not make my point immediately more valid. Is this blogging thing a place where we share opinions about subjects or a place for everyone to become an amateur journalist?
I am self confident person, but I do check with those close to me when I have a doubt or question on my decisions or thought process. I also welcome challenges to my stances, and will in the future try not to dismiss other’s view even if mine are cemented in personal experience or carry feelings. I don’t think that standing behind one’s opinion is a form of arrogance unless you let it be. I can be quite cocky but I don’t see myself as arrogant. I know people in my past would probably disagree. It does give me a lot of food for thought, and that is a great thing.