How to not be presumptuous

Mentioning how to not be presumptuous, I thought that it would be a bit of irony displaying my own selfie reflecting to side mirrors, here starting this post. It can be interesting in terms of observing how I perceive myself, how others perceive me and how third parties perceive those two anterior perceptions. So three dimensional mirrors in an elevator, surely, capture the essence of such observation, of which conclusion I’d try to reach.

Conceited, arrogant, presumptuous, ostentatious, pretentious, showy… are the words that I want to put on the table of perception. I got to cook with those ingredients, peppering on some and peeling off others. But I had to admit that this cooking wasn’t intended to feed anyone else but myself. With a bit of flammable passion, I put those ingredients on the frying pan.

– I read your blog posts, and I came to conclude of you as a conceited person with a few posts I’ve read. Still I think you’re interesting.

Someone said to me the other day. I didn’t get to know him in person since my blog is online and anyone just came in to visit and touch everything. Still this has stuck in my head all day today thinking how to not be perceived as an arrogant person, or better said, how to not be an arrogant and ostentatious person from the baseline.

– No, don’t worry about that. I don’t think you are a conceited person.

Another one said. He continued:

– It’s like that you take a picture of ordinary scene of daily life. Those pictures are just normal and ordinary but you put those pictures in a fancy frame and hang on your room. When a visitor enters to your room, the first thing she or he would notice is the fancy frame, so they criticise you of being arrogant, presumptuous and ostentatious. I think it’s your talent that turns an ordinary story into a decorated ornament.

My value scale became balanced after having two different criticisms about my blog and what I’ve written. But I was only trying to put more words on each side of scale to measure and balance two different sides. If I consider one criticism to carry more impact over the other, after taking out all remaining from the scale, the scale will remain leaned to one side, for the heavy weight it supported so far on one side. When an empty scale leans on one side, that is when the scale loses its value; its confidence.

To simplify all those different words I’ve put above, I had to ask myself:

  1. Can I squeeze all those words (conceited, arrogant, presumptuous, ostentatious, pretentious, showy) into one word, pride?
  2. How pride and confidence are differentiated? Doesn’t pride, which can be described as self-satisfied and self-importance, include also self-confidence? Does pride have a negative connotation while confidence has a positive one?
  3. If such difference is a boundary matter, which psychological line trespasses one over the other?

Am I a proud person of what I’ve done and what I’m doing? This question is quite easy to answer: Yes. Am I full of conceit, or to say, pride? For that, I don’t know what to answer. I surely do have pride, but I avoid to address it. This attached video defines pride as being snobbish. If so, I think it can be reasonable to categorise those words (conceited, arrogant, presumptuous, ostentatious, pretentious, showy) into one word, pride. This video, then, dictates that everyone has a pride and all of us avoid to address it.

According to this definition, pride and confidence doesn’t always share the same connotation. pride is somewhat negative, and confidence is somewhat positive (genuine pride as the video dictates). In this modern era, the word pride contains a vast spectrum, which includes a positive connotation; as we witnessed from organised Gay Pride movements to daily micro conversations saying ‘I’m proud of you’. But in Chinese character, it’s easier to distinguish those two terms; Pride can be translated to 自慢(자만) or 自滿(자만) which is self(自)-sufficiency(慢) or self(自)-satisfied(滿). Confidence can be translated to 自信(자신) of which literal meaning is self(自)-belief(信) or better said, belief in oneself. 

Maybe in religious context, confidence and pride has no boundary, since religion requires people to believe in the ultimate self, which is God, than requiring them to believe in themselves. They shouldn’t fill themselves with themselves but only with God, of which reason the Christianity defines pride as one of the seven deadly sins. In social context, self-confidence doesn’t have to be same with self-satisfied. Confident people are not always snobbish, because their confidence doesn’t always come from the comparison with others’ capacity.

In the Chinese linguistic context, pride deals with a feeling of being filled, and since it is linked with psychological volume, it desires to be filled until to overflow. When a self overflows, the others around criticise of being showy and arrogant. Confidence deals with a belief of one’s capacity regardless of whether such capacity is considered small in volume or not. A small pepper can be much spicier than a bigger pepper, as it normally is. Maybe pride needs a validation from others, so that they can see one’s pride and criticise either with positive or negative comments. Confidence, on the other hand, doesn’t require a validation from others, for it is an inner belief of oneself only. In this sense, Gay Pride is rightly called, rather than Gay Confidence, because it’s about showing off, overflowing those selves to the public, so that people can validate, making a social noise, which had been supressed to make any for a long time in modern history.

The question of how to not be conceited comes from the distinction between the pride and the confidence. Since those two are linked to the egoistic self, it is often mentioned as in similar, or at least, as in assimilated term. My confidence can be perceived as a pride for others, and others’ pride can be perceived as a confidence for me. As the three dimensional mirrors mentioned at the beginning of this post, chances are that when I see myself it’s a confidence but when others see me it became pride.

Or chances are that everybody has this pride in them, and it’s inevitable to grow a seed of pride in self. But while we are being so pleased with ourselves, it is possible to be perceived to have a confidence in oneself than to have a pride that might itch others around. Surely, to be perceived as a man of confidence than as a man of pride, derives from the insecurity that others might think ill of oneself. From the beginning, as the attached video dictated, pride itself is a feeling of insecurity that urges a genuine attention from the others.

Then I put myself to think what kind of attention I urge from the others around, and what is the genuine attention that others can give to me and back forth, to redirect pride and confidence to a nobler end. Still I don’t have my own conclusion for this.

P.S. It became interesting to rethink of the novel ‘pride and prejudice’, and how those two biased assumptions block people from their genuine social and personal understanding towards oneself and others.

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