Dealing with Arrogance
WHEN IGNORANCE IS ON THE TABLE
I ignore if my current state has propitiated the encounter with people who have made me meditate and think about writing this post for several weeks. I thought about cultural issues, my Mexican education and how it might be different from the one you receive in Europe. And after thinking and thinking (and thinking and thinking a bit more), I realised this is not an issue but a logical and unquestionable universal idea: we may encounter with arrogant people everywhere.
Your social, economic or physical condition doesn’t matter; what makes the difference is ignorance. Businessman Jim Rohn once said:
“The worst arrogance is the one product of ignorance”.
An ignorance probably resulting from spending most of their lives far from empathising with strangers, from years of putting their ideas ahead before others, and from never questioning the priviliged social position they’ve enjoyed for so long and why. That is to say, an ignorance that can easily be avoided through a very necessary personal self-analysis. Milan Kundera condemns it:
“People have an obligation to know. People are responsible for their ignorance. Ignorance is guilty”.
I’ve got to say, lately I, myself, have encountered with a considerable amount of them. First with friends of friends who feel comfortable enough to freely ask about my salary in the middle of a dinner after knowing each other for only fifteen minutes (and even worse, without a single glass of wine in our systems); in the workplace with people that, contrary to the first ones, don’t ask a thing nor feel the slightest interest in engaging in the most basic conversation, and from bloggers who after accepting their invitation for a cup of coffee, have decided my years of experience are a trampoline for their own, exclusive success.
I blame no one, I believe that arrogance is often ignored by those who practice it inadvertently, and we have all -including myself- been there.
A MUST READ:
IGNORANCE BY MILAN KUNDERA
To smile, turn around and move on with my life used to be enough for these experiences to not disturb my day to day, but doing a hundred and eighty degrees turn isn’t enough anymore when you find yourself frequently facing attitudes that deserve at least two reactions: “are you serious?” followed by an “I’m going to build an imaginary wall around you.” And maybe that’s where our own ignorance and the core of the problem is built: not opening up a discussion that leads to learning and empathising with others, not working on improving our skills to listen and speak without hurting others, and to expect that just by ignoring these attitudes our lifestyle will improve somehow (magically or celestially, because earthly is not possible).
Somehow, because of mental laziness, little interest from us or because we had the longest day of our lives, we give in to the arrogance of third parties and our own. In the end, are you going to see that person again in your life? If the answer is no, then maybe none of this is worth it and the quickest and most elegant solution I can find is to ask for the bill, pay and say a cordial goodbye. The discomfort is unavoidable but your integrity will stay intact, and yes, there are many things in life you are allowed to ignore, but your own integrity is not one of them.
If none of this works, you can always find relief in humor within a cozy atmosphere (i.e with your friends or relatives) as a mechanism to preserve your mental health. It won’t work in the long run, but you’ll have some damn good stories to tell.