Appreciation: A counter to Ego


Sigmund Freud, the Father of Sociology, once theorized that man is affected by three spheres of influence: The Super Ego, the Ego and the id and it’s through the negotiation between this Holy Trinity that man lives out his life on earth.

Arrogance and Ego have plagued the human psyche ever since man realized that there are people around him who depend on him directly or indirectly in every walk of life and sphere of influence across the complexity of our world. What makes this more interesting is that the degree in which one indulges in this emotion is in direct proportion to the superiority of influence commanded in the prevailing situation.

Religion, across denominations, have claimed to realize the true potential of our ego and have, through the ages cautioned man to exercise restraint with great measure. Some equate it to a villain while others demonize it. But whatever its maleficent power and nature, our ego is here to stay and was, is and will be either our best friend or worst enemy. Often it’s our first line of defence and our best critic. But people often forget that the display of ego is in direction variation to threat or bliss. The emotive responses if looked upon carefully will showcase both his ability to react to a situation and what he or she is currently experiencing.

Among all the emotions that man has at his disposal to showcase his reactions there are not many that are more mis-interpreted than the emotion of arrogance. But as we say in English, “All that glitters is not gold”.  So also there a variety of uses for arrogance that often get over ridden by our individual notions of the concept. Though many a dictionary will brandish this emotion as offensive display of superiority or self-importance, if given a deeper look, one can easily see that the case is not always so.

Superiority Complex
This is the most common explanation and most seen form of arrogance. This is mainly because considering that this is a raw form of emotion that ties man to his animalistic cravings it is best identified and understood. Often this gives a negative connotation as it falls in place with the definition often taught to people.

Arrogance of Knowledge
This is a more sophisticated form of arrogance which is often showed by people who possess or claim to be in possession of knowledge or be the way out for the other to exit a particular situation. This often is preceded with the mental justification of either “Let him come and ask me first” or “Why must I help him? When I needed help he made me beg”. This emotion or more importantly the justification for the display of this emotion often leads to a strain in present and future ties, complicating relations.

Defensive Arrogance
We are often unable to control our responses to certain situations and at times end up using arrogance to display the unsaid. This display of arrogance is often harmless but the most blatant form of display as here the display is not in congruence to what the person wants to communicate leading to a self conflict and thus he or she experiences vulnerability as he subtly reaches out for a calming hand to hold saying all is well! A sit down understanding or simply saying sorry will best diffuse the situation.

There are many more reasons which are as varied as the complexity of man himself. But then the question arises: How do we diffuse this emotion and stop it from springing up? The answer is closer than we thought: Appreciation!

We all love to hear good things about us if not the ones we love. Appreciation gives us the strength to do better and live a happy life. Often it’s the counter to Arrogance as here this emotion metaphorically slays the demons that breed the arrogant feeling.

A simple appreciation showcased even in the most unsuspecting manner but with good intentions like a pat on the back, noticing someone with a good natured smile of acknowledgement as he or she passes by or simply giving credit where credit is due, will go a long way! People often forget that the power of appreciation is so strong that it can often be equated as the light that draws flies to a flame!

Showcasing of genuine appreciation is not the sole responsibility of the organizational chart but also among peers as this can make or break relationships. Appreciation simply acknowledges credibility and thus the knowledge that the person is a valued contributor is welcomed. This will automatically churn positive vibes that will make the respective staff to give in his best if not exceed his potential.

Man being sensitive, is tied to his emotions and often not willing to admit it but often willing to showcase it. Complex as this may sound, he or she is most observant in this regard and simple actions like being just, and appreciative in arenas of personal, professional or social politics. Have we not always felt the barrage of positive and negative emotions when we are either involved or left out of a situation and how quickly those emotions switch sides when the tides turn? Often emotions like arrogance are used as the first line of defence as we justify or make sense of the situation in hand. But imagine if the same person is appreciated the very need to justify or fall into an uncomfortable situation will not arise as the individual will be rest assured that his back is covered in times of need making him fearless to optimize productivity.

However, here comes the delicate situation. Just as in Indian culture we are told that everything is permissive as long as it is done in moderation, so also in this case the onus lies on both the giver and receiver not to abuse the power of appreciation so as to kill the very pre-conceived notion that dictates that appreciation if gone to the head will be detrimental to the personal or professional relationships between the giver and the receiver. Remember every man is unique and so must be studied individually before exercising the power of appreciation as each has his own capacity.

But with that being said, if used with moderation and effectively, the respective giver will truly be called a leader if not a manager and the receiver will truly harness the best of his potentials that he will shock himself!