In my mind, there is a big difference between confidence and arrogance. Obviously, there is a difference in most people’s minds between the two. But most of the people I have chatted to about this kind of just say that you will know the difference without stipulating a clear and concise difference. I, on the other hand, have spent many an hour thinking about the difference between the two in order to come up with something quantifiable. This is mostly because I have been called arrogant many a time, and have only been guilty of it infrequently. But I have been guilty on occasion.
To me, the difference between arrogance and confidence lies in the stand point you take in relation to other people. Arrogance comes from comparing yourself to other people and believing yourself to be superior. Confidence comes from a self believe that is independent of others and does not put you on a higher level in terms of status. This is an important word, status. This is because there are obviously situations where one person will be better than other. I am better at juggling than my mother is. That is not to say that I am a better person than she is, or more cool – she has a pimp hand that can defy the laws of space/time. Rather, it is saying that in this particular area, I am more proficient.
Using this example, confidence is simply being confident in the fact that I am a proficient juggler. It has nothing to do with whether my mom is good at juggling and therefore is not in competition with her. She has a physics defying pimp hand, and she can use it in a confident manner. It has nothing to do with how good my pimp hand is and is therefore not in competition with mine. It has everything to do with perspective. Again, using this example, arrogance would be a situation where I believe I am a better person, cooler or more competent because I am better at juggling than my mom. In the same sense, if my mother was to believe that she was a better person than me, or a better mother than any other mothers because of her pimp hand, it would fall closely to arrogance, rather than confidence.
It all boils down to perspective My mom is probably a better mother than others because she could discipline me with her pimp hand, but the reason it is not arrogance is because she doesn’t compare herself to other mothers. She has found something that she can confidently wield in order to be a better mother. It doesn’t matter to her how other mothers do it. Same goes for my juggling. There are jugglers out there that are better and worse than I am, but my confidence in juggling doesn’t come from a place of comparison. More a place of enjoyment and confidence in my own abilities regardless of the abilities of others.
There are, obviously, situations where comparison is necessary, but even then the chains of arrogance can be avoided if the skills or variables of that comparison are not a factor in judging the kind of person they are. Maybe a better word to differentiate confidence and arrogance is judgement. Either way, please do not get the wrong idea about my mother. She is a sweet heart and only ever uses her pimp hand when she needs to. And when I deserve it.