Someone once called me cocky, and I took offense to it at the time, but now that I think about it perhaps I was. When did a supreme amount of self-confidence begin to translate to cocky? When did something that is supposed to be good cross the line into bad territory? There is an admittedly thin line between healthy self-confidence and unhealthy arrogance, and I know we’ve all crossed it at some point without even realizing it.
I want to qualify my earlier statement. When I said perhaps I was cocky, I meant that when it comes to something specific that I have aptitude for, I have a tendency to speak as if I am an expert. What makes it cocky, though, is to say that my opinion on the subject at hand is more important and more compelling than anyone else’s. There’s the issue. When I was younger it was harder for me to make that distinction, that my word on a subject wasn’t the final say. It’s why perhaps I was cocky back then.
But now, as I’ve gotten older, and as I’ve seen how every single person has something to add to every discussion, even one that features a subject I feel proficient in. I see that I can learn something from listening instead of from blocking them out and waiting to get my own words in edgewise. I can now see that line, and I can offer my opinion without feeling like it has to be the word of God. Every now and again, though, I do fall back into old habits, and someone kicks me back in line. Thank you to those individuals who have the nerve to kick me back in line. I apparently need it sometimes.
I still occasionally live in that shadow of arrogance, especially when it comes to things like writing, grammar, sentence structure, and everything that goes into it. I sometimes judge others for what I see are their inadequacies instead of looking at their content and appreciating what’s there. There’s a way to understand and to appreciate someone else, even if they’re not me… maybe especially if they’re not me. Instead of alienating others I can uplift them.
It’s still a work in progress, but I think I’m making strides, and that’s the point, isn’t it?