Recently, a friend of mine went through a break-up where, as in many break-ups, criticisms were levelled and accusing statements were bandied about; accusations which he very much took to heart, stating that they were ‘probably true’ because this girl ‘knew him best’. To this I said ‘Bollocks’. I also said some more constructive words but to take anything anybody says about you ever as the actual truth is bollocks (particularly if you’re breaking up with that person!)
The More Constructive Part
Our actions affect other people; according to Sartre we are only ourselves due to other people’s presence because it’s jolly difficult to be generous with no-one to give to. Other people see you as arrogant/pompous/generous/caring/kind/selfish because they are traits which have to involve other people. Outside people feel the repercussions of your actions (that little temper tantrum caused more pain than you thought) & they can tell you how you appear. APPEAR being an important word here.
So someone has watched you, interacted with you, chatted with you and has levelled a criticism at you…what happens now? Maybe they do know you better than you think you know yourself…maybe they are right…maybe you should take yourself off somewhere you can’t hurt people anymore…OR
You can take the criticism and lay it out to review. (If you can, get examples & pinpoint events which caused the problem). This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do; looking at yourself ‘flaws’ & all and analysing them, but it’s better than deciding someone else is just right about what you’re like and living according to that.
Why did you act that way at that time? What were your intentions? What did you expect the outcome to be? Did you realise you were acting like a douche/asshole/child/saint? Did you realise that you’d hurt somebody? Do YOU think the criticism is fair?
Get a second opinion, if you like, then analyse that too.
1) The Criticism is off the mark. – You might want to have a sit down chat with your friend there. Let them know your intentions & opinions and ask them why they perceived the situation so differently. Often, people’s judgement’s have more to do with them than you.
2) Yeah, they’re pretty much right. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE. This doesn’t mean you have to sew ‘selfish bitch’ in where your name tag would be. This means decision time. Does it bother you to be thought of that way? Do you want to be less arrogant/altruistic/sanctimonious/cranky? Or do you want to stop hanging out with such judgemental people? If you want to not be seen that way any more it’s time to sit down and look at the triggers and reasons for your actions and figure out a way to change that.
And the rest…
IF the criticisms are negative and YOU do decide they’re true, then KNOW that nothing which is true of you has to be true forever. I have been a depressed person and I have been a self-pitying person and I have been an angry person. And for a long time, these were ways I defined myself, to me, and how other people knew me. (Getting called self-pitying was just the start of a mad wake up call.)
Nobody’s opinion is the complete truth of you. (They would have to live in your brain to know exactly why you acted like a pompous ass. I like to think of Oh, Mr. Darcy. Acted like an ass, but really, best man in the world.)
Most people have their own agenda for judging others, or viewing behaviour in a certain way; often fear/jealousy/anger. If you think they’re wrong, don’t fret it. If you think they’re right, sort it out.
Living via how you think somebody else thinks of you…it’s crippling, emotionally and mentally. It’s your life to live, your body to love, and you can do and act how you like, even if that person is perceived as an arrogant bastard. Are you happy? Fulfilled? Rock it. There’s no reason in the world to think badly of yourself, since once you think it, you can change it. IF YOU WANT.