It’s Saturday morning rush at a local coffee shop. Every table is occupied by an array of couples, families, friends and loners. Some feverishly type away on their laptops, some are deep in conversation, others deep in a book, while others are blissfully aloof. There’s a bell that chimes whenever new patrons enter, and, for a split second, the majority of the occupants glance briefly up at the door in Pavlovian acknowledgment before returning to their conversations, computers and books. The aloof continue to demonstrate their aloofness.
An insecure person is the next to enter the establishment. You are this person. The bell jingles your arrival, triggering the aforementioned Pavlovian glance, and in an instant, everyone is back to their business. However, those momentary glances toward the door trigger your insecurities. “Is my fly open?” “Do I look bad?” “I knew I shouldn’t have worn this shirt!” “They are all mocking me!” “People suck!”
Two minutes later an arrogant person strides through the door, becomes immediately aware of the glancing patrons, and pauses to bask in the glory of this immediate attention. You too are this person. You smile and think, “They all know what’s up! I look good, and they are drinking me in along with every sip of their coffee. A few weren’t lucky enough to see me, but that’s their loss.”
It may be easy to separate these responses into opposing categories of negative and positive, or fear and confidence. Neither would be true. Both internal monologues are rooted in the irrational. The truth is that nobody cares! That statement may sound harsh, but the truth is that the glances were a response to a neutral stimuli, not you. It could be argued that both insecurity and arrogance are both forms of vanity. Even if insecurity is painted with the negativity of self-doubt, it still requires the irrational idea that you are the focus of everyone’s attention, even perfect strangers. The truth is that nobody cares because they have their own lives to focus on. This is a liberating concept for the insecure person, and a humbling one for the arrogant.