How Arrogance Prevents Connection
by Paul Garrigan
The Importance of Connection
This ability to form meaningful connections with other humans is vital for anyone trying to break free of an addiction problem. After all, it may have been the capacity of drugs to help us feel temporarily comfortable around others that attracted us to these substances in the first place. We need to feel connected in in other to experience well-being and without it we begin to wither and die. One thing that can prevent us from developing close relationships with other people is arrogance, so let’s take a look at this behavior.
What is Arrogance?
Arrogance involves looking down on other people as if we are somehow superior to them. This can be a behavior that we develop in response to the feeling of being inferior to others. It can start out as an attempt to prove to other people (and to ourselves) that we are worthy of respect and admiration. Arrogance can also be used as a kind of barrier to prevent others from hurting us (e.g. ‘I don’t care what they think, I’m better than them).
Common Signs of Arrogance
My Own Struggles with Arrogance
Arrogance was a behavior that I picked up in childhood. There was never a conscious decision to look down on other people, it was just a response I developed due to a lack of self-confidence and the desire to be liked. I had a deep yearning for connection, but I mistakenly picked up a behavior that made such connection impossible. The thing that allowed me to finally begin to let go of my own arrogance was the realization that I didn’t need to be better than other people – I just needed to be at peace with who I was.
How Arrogance Prevents Connection
Surprisingly enough, most people don’t respond well to our attempts to make them seem inferior to us. It can make us hard to be around, and our behavior may even be damaging to others. This sense of superiority not only gets in the way of other people feeling close to us, but it also means we don’t feel connected to them. It is just not possible to have a meaningful connection with someone we look down on.
How to Overcome Arrogance
The first essential step to overcoming arrogance is the recognition of this behavior in ourselves. This can be difficult because part of being arrogant is the inability to handle criticism. What helped me greatly was the practice of metta (loving-kindness meditation). It was this (along with insights that arose in meditation) that allowed me to become at peace with who I am, so I no longer needed to feel better than others. (Click here for a YouTube video about my own struggles with arrogance).
Other things that may help us overcome arrogance could include:
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