Since last night I was thinking about how what is seen as being fearless is sometimes seen as arrogance and egotism. Where does the shift happen? And why is it sometimes something to hide and in other situations is seen as a positive quality. I arrived to a few thoughts which will hopefully help us to widen our view. I decided to look for some answers in order to understand how I feel about it. I know when people see me as arrogant, I am not touched by it. You know this feeling when something is true - you get the slight feeling in your belly, even if you don’t want to admit it, there is a discomfort that you can’t hide from yourself. But as I learned from shadow work the shadow is the part of me I can’t see, so I decided to dig deeper and see if I can find the connection between my fearlessness and eagerness, and egotism and arrogance.
Arrogance mostly is a sign of insecurity when one is overcompensating with the exaggerated reactions towards the other. It manifests itself in the desire to overpower and control. On emotional level it paradoxically turns into jealousy. Jealousy is triggered when we feel inferior compared to others. Arrogance is triggered when we feel superior compared to others. But both of them are rooted in lack of confidence, fear of loss and misalignment between authenticity and need for attachment. Both of them are inflexible and limit the possible range reactions as well as ways to interpret the situation. We can get so absorbed with others that it sucks our own lives out of us. I definitely recall some of the situations where I experienced being both jealous and arrogant. I know them or at least I know something similar to what is described by these words. But I must be honest. It can sound arrogant but I don’t have another choice than to take the risk of showing it that way.
Most of the times I feel free of these notions, I can get jealous from time to time, for small things that mostly relate to the body image but that’s about it. For the rest I feel that the way I navigate the world, driven but fearless curiosity is not fuelled by the feeling of being superior over others. I spend some time looking for the subtle feeling when I arrive to this conclusion and speak it out, but I feel that in this area I am pretty certain that what looks like arrogance is probably shaped on the other side, in the one who is receiving. It is an interesting new sensation to arrive to such a thought and actually feel good about it. I can see how the shadow work practice actually works. In a way, when I started, I felt like I have to absorb and acknowledge that whatever I think of as bad, is part of me. I was looking for the evil monster sitting in a dark closed, but what I find now is more confidence in seeing what I am and what I am not.
My revitalised connection with my monster has reshuffled my categorical belief system of good and bad. Once I stared to invite various socially unaccepted feelings, my internal compass became aligned with something beyond this simple binary opposition. There is a novel flexibility of movement in the ways I act and react. And this freedom is accompanied by the feeling of being more response-able, rely-able and account-able in relation to my self and others. And this relation is not based on the judgement, internal or external. There is something else much bigger, more exciting, more vibrant and rich. This space is fuelled by generative power of shared vulnerability where there is no need to pretend or hide. And this surplus of energy is ready to be used for widening up and embracing more of life itself.
I obviously can’t answer the question what is there beyond good and bad but it is a great koan to carry around. Perhaps you want to join me in this challenging inquiry and take this question into your day: Is there anything beyond good and bad? And if so what is it?