Subconsciously Arrogant

A few days ago my wife said the following to me: “Arne you are subconsciously arrogant”. She is a very wise woman.

I asked my friends if this was true and if so… what it meant according to them. Everyone agreed.

They explained that I can come across as overwhelming, too forceful when in the same time distant and in my own bubble, leaving people behind… and yes… arrogant. But they also know I am not really.

Oh man…. it takes true friends to hold up a mirror to you. And you know they are friends when they take the effort to do so. I am blessed with very good friends.

In fact I am, like most people, insecure. I never felt I belonged anywhere, never finished a school, have dyslexia, am very shy and a bit of a hermit. But I’m also full of ideas, build global communities and businesses, love to be on a stage and jump into the deep end with both feet without any worries… these contradictions are sometimes not easy for people to understand.

I don’t understand it myself at all.

But in the end, and as pathetic as it might sound, I just want people to like me, accept me and forgive me when I mess up. Don’t you want that? I want to offer this space to my friends and co-workers. But apparently I have some work to do.

Think about it. Who are you? Who do you see when you look into your bathroom mirror?

It is not an easy question to answer. You are highly complex. You are a product of upbringing, genes, environment, life events… Who you think you are can depend on a specific moment in time. Context.

I can be so many things in manny situations. And I do consider myself a very stable person.

But I do not see myself the way others see me and if you don’t know, or don’t accept how others see you it can cause a lot of misunderstandings.

I have lost friends because of this. Very recently. That is so painful and sad.

I’ve always said that empathy for someone else starts with empathy for yourself, to know yourself or maybe your more philosophical ‘self’. If you are not open, how can anyone else come in?

But maybe in the mix we should consider the ‘self’ others project onto you as being just as real and relevant. You might not recognize yourself completely looking through the eyes of your friends, but it is you too. Maybe we should accept it and integrate it.

I’ve always been fighting these misconceptions about who I am… but I came to the conclusion that being ‘subconsciously arrogant’ is also me. And I have to be aware of this, make the people around me, who don’t know me that well, aware of this, to make sure it doesn’t create misunderstandings. And most importantly make sure they feel safe enough to tell me when they feel left out, or just don’t know what’s going on in my head.

Friends help you grow. Thank you friends… and thanks to my wife Josefine for always telling me what you see and what is true.



Founder Blue Sky Republic, Creative Leadership Coach, Founder DesignThinkers Academy, DesignThinkers Group, Artis & Photographer

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Arne van Oosterom

Arne van Oosterom

Founder Blue Sky Republic, Creative Leadership Coach, Founder DesignThinkers Academy, DesignThinkers Group, Artis & Photographer