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Discussion Starter #1
I know we INTJs often get pegged for being overconfident and conceited at times, or just straight out elitist and arrogant. Personally I don't think any of these adjectives are positive things and I aim to avoid being such things, but there are times my actions and thoughts have been misconstrued as negative when I believe they are purely positive. Let me explain.

I have an incredibly high opinion of myself because I am very invested in personal development. If there is something I am bad at, I make it a priority to fix it. Then I fix it. I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm trying to be the best I can be. From this perspective, am I not (in the process of becoming / the) incarnation of my ideal self? And if so, what reason would I have to dislike myself? I love myself simply because I love and admire my ideal self. Let me put this into an example: Let's say a monk or a humanitarian highly respected Gandhi - they love his drive, his personality, his willpower. And then this monk or humanitarian endeavors to be like Gandhi. Once he reaches the end of his or her journey, what reason is there for the monk not to love and respect themselves as much as Gandhi? What reason is there to have self-doubt or be self-deprecating?

I don't see anything wrong with an intense love of oneself, but obviously society does. I'm guessing it's because society might feel threatened by those who love themselves because they don't rely on the approval of others. That still doesn't seem to explain why we have so many words and negative emotions against people like this: Overconfident, vain, conceited, arrogant, etc.

What insight do you have as to why society feels this way and treats this type of person this way? Also, do you think there is a limit on how much someone should "love" or value themselves so they don't become too self absorbed? Offer me your thoughts.
 

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I ran into this problem with my family, being church goers and thinking that humility is everything. I told my parents that I was right 95% of the time so I had earned my arrogance (I watched a lot of House). They said that was false and I should act more humble. I told them that false humility was just insulting everyone and another form of pride. They eventually accepted that I would continue forward, mainly because I proved I was right all the time. I try to improve constantly and work towards a better me. I have an inferiority and superiority complex at the same time.
 

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I'm not purely positive. I'm not purely negative.

I have mixed motives. Even if I am attempting to achieve two "good" goals, to suggest I only one goal is to misunderstand my motives and my desired outcome.

As to understanding my desired outcome, if you are less intelligent than me don't flatter yourself.

If I am selfish, why do I try not to bring others needless costs and needlessly painful costs?

If I don't care for others, why do I seek to help them when they are in true need?
 

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You seem to be talking about two different things here. Overconfidence is not the same thing as loving yourself. Having an intense love for yourself also is not the same thing. One description seems to be the extreme manifestation of the other. Scoeity or most people don't like self-absorbed braggarts that confuse their obvious inferiority and insecurity for 'self-love.'
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not purely positive. I'm not purely negative.

...

If I am selfish, why do I try not to bring others needless costs and needlessly painful costs?

If I don't care for others, why do I seek to help them when they are in true need?
Interesting to see you put things this way because I feel similar. Perhaps it's a matter of intensity, and people perceive things differently. Imagine you are in the middle of the scale in terms of selfishness/selflessness. Two people with two different perspective would see you in completely different ways - one positive and one negative. I guess it's in this regard that we need to question both our own values and whom it is we intend to build connections with.

purposive, yes I had trouble writing the OP particularly because we have many different words for a similar concept and these words all have a connotation that is sometime specific and other times very ambiguous. I hope my examples and anecdotes were enough to give some clarity to what I'm talking about.
 

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I ran into this problem with my family, being church goers and thinking that humility is everything. I told my parents that I was right 95% of the time so I had earned my arrogance (I watched a lot of House). They said that was false and I should act more humble. I told them that false humility was just insulting everyone and another form of pride. They eventually accepted that I would continue forward, mainly because I proved I was right all the time. I try to improve constantly and work towards a better me. I have an inferiority and superiority complex at the same time.
I think there's a difference between being right all the time and being arrogant -- you can be right and humble at the same time. Humility and arrogance are more about relational understanding (respect) than about correctness. If you hold others in high regard, "considering them better than yourself," they'll have no case for your being arrogant. It has nothing to do with whether you're right or not, because being right isn't what offends people.

It's making them feel inferior that offends them and makes them think you're arrogant. It isn't necessary or helpful to do that if your goal is to reveal the truth or solve a problem.

EDIT: Well, as a rule. Some people seem to want to be offended.
 

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I think it's easier for men to be overconfident than women socially, but i'll let that argument die without delving too much into it. Suffice to say that at my most confident, I am socially attacked (mostly by other women).

I think people are jealous and threatened by self confidence and "self love", people have a notion that it's a selfish/narcissistic trait and that you should instead aspire for mediocrity because then you won't be distinguished above them. More here: Tall poppy syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Culturally you can see differences though, for example in the USA i think it's generally more acceptable to be "full of yourself" than it is in Australia, where humility is more common.

@dingo I disagree with you on this:

It has nothing to do with whether you're right or not, because being right isn't what offends people.
Being right - particularly when it threatens someones worldview or the social consensus (even if wrong), can be seen as very offensive. For example; Everyone I know goes on about "stranger danger" and how it's dangerous for children to be around strangers due to sexual assault/rape/kidnap/murder threat. But I have studied criminology and I know going by crime statistics, that you are most at risk of kidnap or sexual assault/murder around family members, who are in more than 96% of cases, the perpetrators of such acts. Yet, when I try to "educate" people about this, they get very offended and think i'm a rapist sympathiser. Groan.
 

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Everyone I know goes on about "stranger danger" and how it's dangerous for children to be around strangers due to sexual assault/rape/kidnap threat. But I have studied criminology so I know that you are most at risk of kidnap or sexual assault around family members, who are in more than 90% of cases, the perpetrators of such acts. Yet, when I try to "educate" people about this, they get very offended and think i'm a rapist sympathiser. Groan.
I sympathize, as I often get flak for trying to educate people.

However, that has nothing to do with your correctness. Your info could be bad, and they'd still get upset. The problem is that their ideas about criminal psychology are being threatened. They've built that false understanding into their lifestyles and worldviews -- it's become part of the way they protect themselves and their families from a horrible and misunderstood danger. In a very important sense, your presenting alternate information brings them closer to the threat of rape, because you're breaking down the part of their worldview that they think protects them from it. They feel weak and helpless, so they lash out at you.
 

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I sympathize, as I often get flak for trying to educate people.

However, that has nothing to do with your correctness. Your info could be bad, and they'd still get upset. The problem is that their ideas about criminal psychology are being threatened. They've built that false understanding into their lifestyles and worldviews -- it's become part of the way they protect themselves and their families from a horrible and misunderstood danger. In a very important sense, your presenting alternate information brings them closer to the threat of rape, because you're breaking down the part of their worldview that they think protects them from it. They feel weak and helpless, so they lash out at you.
Okay I see the distinction you're making there - that the info isn't the cause of the upset, but rather, challenging the world view is.

However I would also contend that being right - in and of itself - is a threat to some people, particularly (in my limited experience) ISTJ types who must at all costs be right. Or, are you suggesting that this is the same thing; that the challenge to the worldview is the problem rather than the correctness?
 

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...the challenge to the worldview is the problem rather than the correctness?
Precisely, yes. Being right and having another person be wrong don't necessarily go together.

Brad Pitt's character in Moneyball had a line which went, "I hate losing, even more than I want to win." I resonated with that. The pain of being wrong (or "losing") can be quite powerful, often more so than the pleasure of being right. I think a lot of the pleasure-seeking that people do (in whatever form) is ultimately more a matter of pain-avoidance rather than the pure desire for pleasure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Precisely, yes. Being right and having another person be wrong don't necessarily go together.

Brad Pitt's character in Moneyball had a line which went, "I hate losing, even more than I want to win." I resonated with that. The pain of being wrong (or "losing") can be quite powerful, often more so than the pleasure of being right. I think a lot of the pleasure-seeking that people do (in whatever form) is ultimately more a matter of pain-avoidance rather than the pure desire for pleasure.
Not to get too philosophical but many philosophers/religions see happiness as a lack of sorrow, and vice versa. So you can only enjoy a warm bath by knowing the pain of the frigid winter. You can only enjoy a win by knowing how hurtful it is to lose. Here's a fun quote from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet : "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."

But yes I would agree that a bit part of people's "lashing out" is when their world view is challenged. It's interesting that they view the potential defeat of a mental/psychological defense (my kids are safe because of ___ faulty information) as an assault in of itself, as if their mindset had an actual effect on the world, which obviously it does not.
 

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Let me put this into an example: Let's say a monk or a humanitarian highly respected Gandhi
the thing about gandhi is that he was just gandhi. not that he wasn't great at being gandhi and not that gandhi-being ain't a great thing. but still, he was just this little guy in a loin cloth and probably not all that great at, i dunno, after-dinner conversation or snappy one-liners or something.

so maybe the problem is sometimes about a clash between non-compatible value systems? i have this irritating little i/entj friend who constantly tries to draw me into wrangles with her about how i 'should' x or y (on her side), and why (on my part) i don't feel the least need to be x or y. it usually ends with her accusing me of arrogance. in fact, i think i remember one really head-swirling evening when i came home and realised i'd just been called arrogant for refusing to let her convince me i ought to be yearning to run the whole world :laughing: :laughing:

in that case, it's just that i know pretty well who i am and what i'm good at, and i like it that way. whereas on her side, she sees this whole other range of talents and applications i 'could' also be good at, if only i bothered to care about them. not surprisingly, it turns out that she does care about them, and what offends her is how little interest and value i give to the stuff she holds dear. the issue is that she wants me to be just like she is, or at the very least she wants me to validate how she is by wanting to be just like her. and i'm not into it, because i am me. and i like her fine, but i'm pretty happy to just keep being me.

another thought is a different friend of mine, who won my undying love by going into a mini-rant one day on the subject of 'performance reviews' in the workplace. she and i are both exempt from this shit since we're both freelancers, but that didnt' stop her expressing herself. the thing that really got up her nose was the way every time you go do one of these things they make you invent and then tell them some kind of 'goals' for the upcoming year. professional improvement idea. well, my-friend-who-shall-remain-nameless was bent right out of shape by the very idea. 'i don't HAVE goals', she said. 'i don't need them. i'm not planning to improve myself. i'm perfectly fine just the way that i am.' north american culture in general seems to be very driven by an almost ideological belief in the idea of constant self-improvement. 'if you don't grow, you stagnate, got to learn got to grow got to change all your life!!' and so forth. to some people - like me and my fellow-maverick freelance - it's just the rat race in different form. the trouble with it is, it has to be based on a premise that no matter who you are, you're always going to be dissatisfied with something about yourself. i think it's bullshit, personally ;) but a lot of people are very emotionally sold on the idea, so they're horribly shocked by a different viewpoint from theirs.

i don't know. people seem to be very ideological, in many aspects of life. it's not all about religion either. you can still have the same psychological machinery going on underneath, even if you don't believe in a god or a political cause. and ideology is a tricky kind of boat to go rocking in other people.
 

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Not to get too philosophical but many philosophers/religions see happiness as a lack of sorrow, and vice versa. So you can only enjoy a warm bath by knowing the pain of the frigid winter. You can only enjoy a win by knowing how hurtful it is to lose. Here's a fun quote from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet : "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."
Ok... interesting.

I guess I can accept that as a "thing," but I can't fit it into my experience. It's always seemed self-evident to me that pleasure and pain were innate and absolute. I'm not talking about things that are pleasurable or painful, but the experiences of pleasure and pain themselves. You know when something hurts, and when it feels good. If you have a pleasurable experience, followed by one that is also pleasurable, but less so, you don't experience that as pain. Nor does increasing pain necessarily decrease pleasure. Eating your favorite foods and listening to your favorite music doesn't make your headache go away -- it just distracts from it, at best.

I think treating them as simply two extremes on a relative, sliding scale is an oversimplification. In a sense it's trying to look at them objectively, but it's really hampered by its wooden adherence to a simple dichotomy. I think this paradigm would have difficulty explaining something more complex, such as masochism: pain in one sense is pleasure in another. It isn't a matter of relativity -- a masochist doesn't experience pleasure as pain -- but of an atypical association between experiences. Rather than trying to fit this into a sliding-scale worldview, a more natural explanation of this phenomenon is that pleasure and pain can exist apart from each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok... interesting.

I guess I can accept that as a "thing," but I can't fit it into my experience. It's always seemed self-evident to me that pleasure and pain were innate and absolute. I'm not talking about things that are pleasurable or painful, but the experiences of pleasure and pain themselves. You know when something hurts, and when it feels good. If you have a pleasurable experience, followed by one that is also pleasurable, but less so, you don't experience that as pain. Nor does increasing pain necessarily decrease pleasure. Eating your favorite foods and listening to your favorite music doesn't make your headache go away -- it just distracts from it, at best.

I think treating them as simply two extremes on a relative, sliding scale is an oversimplification. In a sense it's trying to look at them objectively, but it's really hampered by its wooden adherence to a simple dichotomy. I think this paradigm would have difficulty explaining something more complex, such as masochism: pain in one sense is pleasure in another. It isn't a matter of relativity -- a masochist doesn't experience pleasure as pain -- but of an atypical association between experiences. Rather than trying to fit this into a sliding-scale worldview, a more natural explanation of this phenomenon is that pleasure and pain can exist apart from each other.
I think it's less of a sliding scale of relatives (happy vs. supper happy is not painful) but rather a sliding scale of one's views of "neutral" emotion. So an example is rich people have so many experiences and personal possessions that this becomes the norm and anything below it stops being the norm. I would define "pleasure" as a significantly excited emotional state/feeling relative to one's feelings in homeostasis, and pain/disappointment as being a significantly increased level of discomfort or lack of any sort of pleasure. This obviously doesn't apply when talking about things like physical pain, it's more about higher level pleasures. This would also explain why people who win all the time hate to lose.

So this paradigm has its niche purposes, I would agree. I think it's most effective when used to look at general levels of happiness and contentment in life.
 

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There is a difference between just being confident in yourself and being an arrogant dick in my opinion. A confident person knows that he/she is good at stuff, but that doesn't prevent him/her from acknowledging his/her own flaws, and that other people also have stuff that they are good at,but that doesn't stop his/her confidence in him/herself. But the arrogant dick can't acknowledge the fact that he/she has flaws and that other people can be better than him/her at stuff.
 

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I know we INTJs often get pegged for being overconfident and conceited at times, or just straight out elitist and arrogant. Personally I don't think any of these adjectives are positive things and I aim to avoid being such things, but there are times my actions and thoughts have been misconstrued as negative when I believe they are purely positive. Let me explain.

I have an incredibly high opinion of myself because I am very invested in personal development. If there is something I am bad at, I make it a priority to fix it. Then I fix it. I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm trying to be the best I can be. From this perspective, am I not (in the process of becoming / the) incarnation of my ideal self? And if so, what reason would I have to dislike myself? I love myself simply because I love and admire my ideal self. Let me put this into an example: Let's say a monk or a humanitarian highly respected Gandhi - they love his drive, his personality, his willpower. And then this monk or humanitarian endeavors to be like Gandhi. Once he reaches the end of his or her journey, what reason is there for the monk not to love and respect themselves as much as Gandhi? What reason is there to have self-doubt or be self-deprecating?

I don't see anything wrong with an intense love of oneself, but obviously society does. I'm guessing it's because society might feel threatened by those who love themselves because they don't rely on the approval of others. That still doesn't seem to explain why we have so many words and negative emotions against people like this: Overconfident, vain, conceited, arrogant, etc.

What insight do you have as to why society feels this way and treats this type of person this way? Also, do you think there is a limit on how much someone should "love" or value themselves so they don't become too self absorbed? Offer me your thoughts.
There is a difference between being confident in your own abilities and ignoring all other opinions and generally acting like a jerk as @BeardedAgam put it. The thing that helped me was realizing that every person is better at something than I am, and I am better at something than they are. It is all a matter of a bit of genetics, and a lot of practice.

I can get pegged as overconfident because I generally get pretty competent at whatever I am interested in. Not that I generally start out being great, but I understand that I can become better with the right research and practice, and then I take the time and do it. The confidence comes from recognizing the pattern of learning and knowing that I can accomplish just about anything I want given enough time and effort. I do my best to listen to others opinion as well though so I don't see myself as conceited, those opinions can be pretty valuable if they have any experience in the matter.
 

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Personal development doesn't make you better than anyone else. Loving yourself is good. Classifying yourself in terms of 'better' in relationship to everyone else, is just silly. That's the part where people are gonna say you're arrogant. If you've truly learned to love yourself, you'll have learned how to love everyone else, instead of turning it "loving yourself therefore better than everyone else who doesn't."
 

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Knowing your flaws is no reason to tell them to any old fool. I'll share them with people I trust if I have reason to.

If I don't share them with you, don't presume I am unaware of them or that you have accurately appraised anything, really.

You may be right. You may have a lack of knowledge. The latter is a greater certainty than the former, as the latter is effectively inescapable to some measure.
 

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I think there's several things here.
Myself, I think I'm pretty humble and tend to accept I don't know many things.
I tend to let people be and do what they do.
I really don't think I'm that great... I'm just another person in the world trying to make the best of it all.
When it comes to 'ideology', I'm at a spot where I'm almost agnostic. Like politically... left or right I don't even care... there's flaws in everything and there can be many paths to something 'good' as long as people are willing to take into account all kinds of variables.
I've come far long in this aspect. I remember at one point being a self-righteous leftists who thought high taxes and government control would control utopia... and then in my 20s being a libertarian... and now I just see lots of ways to get to places, each with it's own flaws.

That all said, there are definitely times I clash when people's ideologies don't mesh with reality or if people choose to deny certain realities. I can't stand the idea of something objectively true being in plain sight and someone choosing to deny it. That part, I don't think I'll ever be able to simply 'accept' of other people. I can certainly ignore it, but that's about it.

Now, I know where it comes from. As has been discussed here, it is not denying reality in of itself, but it is because it threatens an established value system or way of life. But in the end, they are placing their value or belief above 'facts' (in quotes).

It is something I try and avoid, but in certain cases, about certain topics, it is simply unavoidable.
I certainly would not advocate disrespect or something, but I don't think we should feel like we can't voice our opinion.
Things don't change unless someone is going to make a bit of noise.
If that is the INTJ like role in society, we shouldn't shy away from it.
But it is of course a constant learning experience based on how do we convey what we want to express in the best way possible.

This is where I come into a funny zone. Beyond being nice and polite, there are times I am trying to explain my position, and I have to hide parts of it because I know if I state it entirely, it is going to offend their value, and they are likely to disregard my entire position.

For example, I come from a pretty conservative Islamic background, but I don't believe in anything that would resemble the religion. I know if I let people know that I don't believe they don't really care to listen to anything. I should clarify that it is not that I disbelieve in God, merely that I disbelief in the validity of the religious texts which forms religious doctrine. See how I had to clarify that :p I did that as I've learned that if I left it as is, someone would get hooked up on the debate of does God exist... and the conversation goes nowhere. My wife knows of my disbelief, and when it comes to religious topics, she's essentially said, "but you don't really believe, so I can't take your opinion on these topics" And she's pretty liberal. If it were to say it to other people, they wouldn't give me the time of day.

Now with my wife, I of course felt I had to be 100% honest about my beliefs, but to everyone else, I find that I can express my views in a manner that is compatible with them, if I simply pretend I do believe, but I have a different (very liberal) interpretation. That part always makes me feel awkward.

Alternatively, sometimes calling something what it is can cause problems. I struggle a lot with this one as well.
A big problem with say public sector workers is that they are a monopoly. Perhaps for valid reasons.
But it is what it is... and many of the bad aspects of it are akin to say a gang/mafia extorting society. Now that is what I want to say in my head, but I know it is not going to fly with most people. The idea of associating a teacher or police officer a gang-member is not going to sit well with people's values. So, I try and voice that point of view about the lack of opportunity for everyone to be a public-sector worker, or who pays into taxation and who does not... or the harm caused by the war on drugs versus Walmart selling cheap products...

I used to have more trouble with this, but now I don't see as being as fake.
If talking to someone is communicating, and the purpose of communicating is conveying the point, any way you say it to enhance the ability of the point to be conveyed is a good thing.

And now writing this, maybe this even comes across as conceit :p I'm phrasing things a certain way because the 'emotional and value-based' people don't get offended. But whatever, I find this way much better than how I used to be as a teen and far more productive. Maybe I'll learn better ways in the future.
 
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