Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Achievement without Apology

There is a saddening trend in today’s world that if you are not apologizing for your accomplishments, you are being arrogant and snobbish. There is little gray area in between. Having spent a good deal of time believing I was capable of little more than wasting oxygen, I’ve spend the last three years discovering my talents and abilities. Arrogance is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a feeling or an impression of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptuous claims.” One (and I stress that word) of the definitions of pride is “a reasonable or justifiable sense of one's worth or importance.” There is a huge difference between the two definitions. Recognizing your hard work is hardly an ignoble thing to do. If you are to live honestly, you cannot constantly apologize or demean your successes at every turn. You do a disservice to those who have believed and supported you through your challenges, and if you have any religious belief at all, you dishonor the being who created you. However, there is a difference between acknowledging your strengths, and purposely doing things to make others feel less. None of us can control how others will feel based on something we may have said. You cannot possibly comprehend or know their background or frame of mind. You do have control over behaving in way that you think will hurt someone, or intentionally saying things that would make you appear superior to someone. It is unfortunate that we have lost our ability to tell the difference between the two: arrogance and pride. I would not want to take advice from those who are not aware of their abilities and strengths as well as their weaknesses. It is our knowledge of both that allows us to be more honest with ourselves and live life with wisdom. As an aside: As a Christian, we are instructed to live more like Christ. I don't recall Christ ever apologizing for being the Son of God, or for his accomplishments on Earth or in Heaven. He was not ashamed or apologetic for his mission. Instead, he stood amid the masses with quiet dignity and proclaimed his identity. He also paid the price for that admittance. I guess we have to be willing to pay the price for a successful life, before we are willing to admit to it.