I am sure you read that title, and thought, “That is a strong statement”. And you are absolutely correct.
I will say it again- People who are seen as arrogant or narcissistic are insecure.
Insecure at what? It really could be anything, honestly. They may feel that they are “not good enough”, or overweight. Maybe they feel weaker than their competition, or less intelligent. No matter what their insecurities are, it often comes across to others, as being arrogant.
From where I stand, I see two types of people in the world:
The ones who are talented or skilled, and stay humble. They use their abilities to mentor others and to help share their maps to success. They have a quiet confidence.
Then there are the others- the ones who have inflated egos, treat their opposition like crap and refuse to divulge their road to success. These are the people who come across as narcissistic, arrogant people, who shows disregard to others. They feign confidence.
Arrogant people are annoying to others, while they boast about their wins and their talents, and use words and expressions, to make others feel beneath them. In my experiences, these people are the ones who hold the most insecurity about themselves.
It’s actually quite sad, honestly.
Let’s Look at an Example:
The first thing that comes to mind is bodybuilding. Before you get all upset with me, remember, this is based on MY experiences. In no way do I have an issue with the attitude of bodybuilders. In fact, I have dabbled in this area and enjoy the entire community.
We have two male bodybuilders, who work out at the same gym. We will call them Bill and Sam.
Bill works hard, trains hard, and follows his regime to the letter, under the supervision of his coach. He is looking strong, lean and muscular. He can easily press a crazy amount of weight and has never been this strong in his life.
After the gym, he throws on a very revealing, sleeveless shirt and tight pants that show off his physique. He continually boasts to his family and friends about how much he can lift, how many hours he spends working out, and what he eats for his diet. He is forever looking at his body in the mirror and can’t seem to have deep friendships or relationships with anyone, because he comes across as a self-centred egomaniac. He cannot pass a mirror without flexing and refuses to help his nephew who is asking how he can be “just like him”. He tells his nephew, “I had to figure it out on my own. Go to the gym and do the workouts. You will never be as strong as me. You’re a weakling”.
Sam does the same workout, same regime, and same diet as Bill. He actually has better definition in his muscles and can press just as much as Bill. Sam spends his time at the gym helping others to lift properly and telling them about his diet. He offers the name of his coach and volunteers to help others achieve his results. When he leaves the gym he throws on a baggy sweatshirt and baggy pants, and never wastes time looking over his body in the mirror. He knows he can do that the next time he goes to the gym.
Sam has a girlfriend who supports and loves him and is very close to his friends and family. He never brags about his muscles but when people ask how he became so built, he offers his workout and support to them.
Sam’s nephew asks how he can be as strong as he is and Sam responds with, “If I can do this, anyone can. Come with me to the gym, and we can work out together. We can learn together”.
See the difference?
It’s possible that Bill sees Sam as a threat. Gyms are filled with mirrors so that you can watch your form, and see the changes you have made to your body. They also allow you to watch others participating in the same areas that you are. This mentality can lead to silent or vocal comparisons. Comparisons can lead to insecurities.
How Are Insecurities Built?
By comparing yourself to others. They are also built by setting standards for yourself that are out of reach, and feeling like you failed when you can’t get there. Insecurity is also designed by the people in your world and how they communicate with you. If they lift you up, you become humble. If people you admire insult you or make you feel inadequate, you fight back with arrogance.
Insecurities are built when you see that somebody else has “something” that you don’t. Instead of having the ability to be happy for that person, you become jealous, and feel sorry for yourself for NOT having that certain “something”. It could be material, it could be a quality, or it could be as tangible as not looking as good as someone else.
Your defense mechanism becomes ARROGANCE.
Arrogance feeds off of the feeling of failure, envy, or frustration of not having that one thing that someone else has.
It could be, the reason Bill is always looking in the mirror, is because he wants to do better, be better, and make improvements. But from an outside glance, he looks like an arrogant jerk who can’t tear himself away from his own reflection. Or, maybe he is looking at himself and wondering how he can be more like Sam.
We see arrogance all the time. When a man is trying to win the affections of a woman, he may compare himself to other men who show her interest. If he says something like, “That other guy is a loser. Does he even have a job?” He comes across as arrogant. He makes himself look like a douche, by trying to make attempts at making himself seem more desirable because HE has a job.
In reality, he has insecurities. He is worried that the other guy may win the heart of his love interest, so he needs to point out his opponent’s possible weaknesses. His insecurities drive him to be an arrogant ass.
Or he may say something like, “What kind of car does that loser drive?” He is trying to make a point about how HE would be a better catch than his opponent, based on his “better” vehicle. It’s full-blown insecurity.
Just because you have a big ego doesn’t mean you have a right to be rude to other people. However, if your ego is driven by insulting others, it’s most likely because you have some form of insecurity, that causes you to prove your value and step on your competition.
There is Nothing Sexier Than a Humble Person
Success in anything is wonderful.
How you handle those successes can make or break how others perceive you.
People who are wealthy are a perfect example of this. There is the guy who has millions of dollars, has a mansion, drives nothing but over the top expensive vehicles, and throws money at everything to show his value.
Or, there is the millionaire who wears Walmart clothes, drives his favourite old pickup truck and donates to multiple charities and causes.
Of course, there are also the ones “in between” who just live their life the way they choose and have no concern of how others see them.
The wealthy ones who showboat their money come across as Narcissistic and Arrogant. They are forever shoving their money in your face and have to tell you about everything they OWN. “Look what I have” is their mentality. Meanwhile, they are lonely and on the edge of mental bankruptcy because people only love them for their “stuff”. Behind closed doors, there are whispers of what a show off they are, and how conceited they can be. They have deep insecurity because they are missing the values of emotional relationships. The only way they know how to communicate is to flex the muscles of what they have and point out what others don’t.
The people who stay humble and offer support and love to others, in spite of how much they have, are the ones who have close, quality relationships. Humble people don’t work hard to make others look bad. Humble people carry quiet confidence about them and even if they KNOW they are talented, they don’t shove it in the faces of others to show it off. They take their kudos and congratulations and use it make themselves and others, better.
If you look at celebrities like Will Smith or Ellen Degeneres. They don’t come across as arrogant, even though they have literally anything they could dream of. They don’t knock others to look better. They are humble in their successes and they give back.
I won’t get too far into the celebrities who like to showboat, like Kanye West, for example. He clearly has some kind of inner voice telling him that he lacks something. It comes out in his arrogance. It may be the way his father spoke to him as a child, or maybe he looks at other celebrities as his competitors, I am unsure, but he comes across as full of his own ego.
We should actually feel sorry for people with these insecurities.
My ex-husband was a very quiet man to the outside world. But deeply rooted within him, he was insecure. He had the continual fear of losing me to “someone better”. He would tell me about his feelings, once in a while, but he tried with all of his might, to not appear arrogant. He stayed quietly insecure in order to be perceived as Humble. In the end, his insecurities got the best of him and he ended up driving me away from him, emotionally.
Now, my partner Dave is another story.
He holds many insecurities and is very vocal about his worth. Many people have asked me why he is so arrogant and my answer is always the same. “He is not arrogant, he is just insecure”. He is the guy who will give tours of our house and go on and on about his cigar collection and the cost of our property. He hasn’t had a lot of “social training” because of the way his family is designed. It took a lot of digging to figure out why he feels so damn negative about his worth. It stems from his father’s lack of support and love.
He knows that he is not perfect, but constantly fights to remind me of all of the things he is good at. If another man looks my way, he will get mad, puff up his shoulders and challenge him with his eyes. Sometimes he will throw insults around and his ego comes out of his mouth. He reminds me of a peacock, showing off his feathers, to win over the hen.
Ego is never effective in “winning”.
It took me a long time to understand why people see Dave as arrogant. I don’t see it in him anymore, because I know him, and his thought patterns. The only thing that flares up his arrogant nature, is the threat of someone else being involved in my life. He loves to have my attention centred around him, and rightly so. I am his partner. However, with that being said, I don’t feed his arrogance by making him feel more insecure. I boost his ego, and give him support. I tell him he’s my only one, and I reassure him that he is my favorite person. I also never back down when I wish to spend my time and energy on other people, like my daughter or with friends. I remain his equal and make efforts to ease his insecurities enough that he won’t feel the need to be defensive. He has learned, over our 9 years together, that he is worthy of our relationship. Seldom, now, do I see him become a showboater.
“Arrogance is the camouflage of insecurity” ~
If you know someone or have someone in your world, that comes across as being arrogant or narcissistic, my advice to you is to not buy into it. There is a reason that people use their own strengths to make others look weak.
TRY to be compassionate and know that under the conceited ego that they portray, there are underlying insecurity issues. Everyone has their own story and their own coping mechanisms.
It is not easy to be caring or empathetic toward someone who shows rudeness or cruelty to others, or who showboats their wins in your face. Understanding their WHY, behind their attitude is imperative. Chances are they struggle with their own inner voices, telling them that this is how they HAVE to be, in order to make relationships. Their inner person is weaker than their outer shell is seen.
Be humble. Help others. Be kind. Feel sorry for those who are unable to be considerate of other’s feelings. Don’t judge arrogance on what you perceive. Understand that there is most likely a reason behind it.
Or, perhaps, they just believe they are better than you. In that case, move along.
“Arrogance really comes from insecurity, and in the end our feeling that we are bigger than others is really the flip side of our feeling that we are smaller than others”.~ Desmond Tutu