Where Confidence Ends and Arrogance Begins | The Daily Star

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05:08 PM, June 23, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:22 PM, June 23, 2021

Where Confidence Ends and Arrogance Begins

If you're anything like me, you've had your share of low self-esteem induced unpleasant experiences. Mastering self-confidence lets you go from stuttering in class presentations to high fiving everyone present after securing top marks. Well, maybe it takes a little more to be that cool, but at least you won't waste too much of your life doubting everything about your being and forgoing opportunities.

As hard as it is to finally be confident in yourself, it may be equally hard to limit yourself there. Self-confidence is one of the most desirable attributes for you to have as an individual, and arrogance one of the least. Unfortunately, the line between the two is pretty thin.

To differentiate, identify the source. Self-confidence is faith in your own capabilities and skills built through effort, and is always sincere. Arrogance is either an inflated sense of personal "value", resulting from factors such as social standing or constant praise, or an act put up to hide incompetence or insecurity.

Children with parents who praise everything they do and rarely offer criticism are more prone to grow into arrogant adults. The parents generally act with goodwill, an attempt at strengthening kids' self-esteem. Same goes for school teachers with certain academically focused students. Said children may grow up with an ingrained idea that they are "better" than their peers. Worst case scenario is that when these children grow up and enter the real world, upon discovering that they are not, in fact, special, and no longer coddled, their self-esteem is diminished. Newfound insecurities are hidden under a protective shell of robust arrogance.

The problem does not exist from the very root in all cases. Confidence gained through effort and success can sometimes evolve into arrogance. Once your self-assuredness has brought forth continuous successes, you might come to believe that you cannot fail and feel entitled. Thankfully, this kind of arrogance is easily remedied after a rash decision or two, such as entering a competition that you're not the least qualified for and realising you can't charm your way out of humiliation (absolutely not speaking from experience).

Arrogance may be easier for others to see than to see in yourself, but a little self-awareness always helps. Rule of thumb is that the difference is in how you treat others. Arrogant people often think they are above everybody else in the room and have nothing to learn from them. They don't ask questions and only prefer to talk about themselves.

An arrogant person may feel threatened by, and deny or demean others' achievements to maintain the pedestal they've placed themselves upon. A genuinely self-assured person admits to mistakes and asks for help without fear that it will deem them inferior. They don't treat anyone with disrespect and expect their rank or expertise will justify their behaviour.

External exhibit aside, change happens from within. Ask yourself what incentivises you. If it is the need to convince everyone you're confident over actually being confident, a complete system change is necessary.

My banter can hopefully help identify the presence of arrogance in your soul, but any advice on my part can't possibly top this: Bhalo hoye jao Masud.


1. PsychCentral (December 26, 2012). The Fine Line Between Self-confidence and Cockiness.

2. Inc.com (September 12, 2017). Nine Signs You are Genuinely Confident.

Amrin Tasnim Rafa is always confused, it's literally her dominant personality trait. She challenges you to find something she won't think is confusing. Try your luck at amrinrafa@gmail.com

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