Body Language, Personality and Arrogance
Does body language really tell us about individual personality? While it does not provide an entire personality profile, it suggests clues that are important for understanding people. General body posture, facial expressions, tone of voice, reactions to criticism and disappointments are hints about the essential character of another.
For instance, let’s examine the body language of a person who is self centered. This all too common trait can vary from conceit to full blown narcissism. When we meet this type of person their general body language is one of haughtiness and condescension. Remember, these people have convinced themselves they are better than others. Beneath this conceit is a deep fear that others might discover a vague flaw in their character. As a result they compensate with an air of superiority.
The arrogance expresses itself through proximity to others. Vanity does not like closeness; rather it needs distance to express the self- imposed supremacy. Vanity disdains competition and prefers to stand apart. For purposes of ego comfort the conceited person stands away from others and puts across the look of “I’m better than you are.” If they ever pat someone on the back or hug, it appears stilted and inauthentic. At times they surround themselves with one or two people who are servile or manipulative of the arrogant need for admiration. These supporting cast members tend to offer solicitous statements and protect the conceited one from criticism. Other supporting cast members for the insecure are family. In public these people are safe since they’ve learned never to find fault with the self-important one. Without their defense, the narcissist will react to criticism with immediate shock, then anger, followed by verbally attacking the critic, and then withdrawing from the situation.
Designer clothes and labels are a must for many supercilious people. Appearance is used to promote the image of perfection. Their grooming may be flawless and they tend to place a premium on attractiveness. The true narcissist is often quite uncomfortable around those who do not meet an artificial standard of eye-catching looks. After all, they cannot tolerate the slightest imperfection and this includes people in their surroundings. They fight a losing battle in attempting to control all aspects of their immediate environment in order to craft an absolute criterion of faultlessness.
Aging becomes the foil of the arrogant. The unremitting march of time takes a toll on physicality and youthful appearance. Wisdom from experience is lacking and conceit ultimately results in isolation or bitter family relations. As the later stages of life unfolds, unless wisdom replaces conceit, body language gradually changes towards downcast dejection.