Balancing confidence and humility in any relationship, be it personal or professional, is a real skill. The first step is to become aware of what the two are. Author of The Art and Etiquette of Polyamory, Françoise Simpère writes:
“Arrogance…is generally a cover for a chronic lack of self-confidence.To be specific, self-confidence is when one is aware of his or her qualities without falling victim to false modesty. Humility allows one to recognise quietly that even though he or she is a wonderful person, there may be qualities that he or she lacks. An individual with a balanced ego is fully aware of his or her own existence and does not need others to confirm it. He or she is interested in others because of who they are, and not because of a need to see him or herself as a reflection in their admiring eyes.”
Their dictionary definitions are as follows:
confidence: a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
humility: the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.
The key things to note about confidence are:
- It’s a feeling, not knowledge, action etc.
- It’s about you, not others.
- It’s about self-awareness.
So being confident requires awareness of self rather than others, and it needs to be balanced by a sense of modesty. But, as Simpère cautions, not false modesty. So it’s not about feeling unimportant — it’s just about moderating your sense of importance. Particularly in professional relationships, it’s important to see your customer or client as more important than you, while retaining an appreciation of your abilities and qualities, one of which needs to be humility.
Simpère says arrogance is a sign of chronic lack of confidence. I think over-confidence also often shows as arrogance, or at least as a lack of care for and interest in the other person.
The balance of confidence and humility is not static. It’s a dance. You need to keep adjusting your sense of both. So, a balanced ego comes from the inner awareness of how confident or humble it is appropriate to be in any given situation.
Engaging with diversity requires a similar dance. It requires you to be confident in your identity while having the humility to know that there will be aspects of others’ identities that you won’t know. I’ve observed arrogance in people who are both over- and under-confident in their understanding of diversity. A lack of humility stops them asking questions, checking that they’ve got things right and apologising if they haven’t, without getting into guilt or shame.
A balanced ego is an asset to foster in all aspects of life. Get dancing!
Connect With SWHELPER
Good Mental Health Equals a Happy Marriage
Happily married couples enjoy better mental health status, according to researchers. They fall sick less often, have fewer instances of...
The Woman Beside Me – Living in the Era of Trump
At the gym, MSNBC plays on my treadmill monitor. Coverage of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton have been...
The History of Stereotyping Homelessness in Australia
The history of homelessness in Australia stems back to our nation’s colonization by our British counterparts which moved Indigenous Australians...
Examining White Privilege: What’s the Fear?
Dickinson student Leda Fisher asks the question “Should White Boys Still be Allowed to Talk?” in her opinion piece in...
News2 months ago
Discussing White Supremacy: Having Difficult Conversations Are Required and Not Optional
Elder Care2 months ago
How New Tech Can Support Caregivers as They Support Seniors
News2 months ago
Social Work and the Reproductive Justice Framework
Justice2 months ago
UB Social Work Researchers Part of a Team Addressing Gun Violence