How does someone who wants for nothing, in the material sense, react when their comfort zone is invaded?
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, caused a stir on social media recently when she attacked a woman who commented on her Instagram post. The post displayed a photo of Ms. Linton and hubby (former Chief Financial Officer for Goldman Sachs) deplaning after an "official business" trip which also provided her with an opportunity to do some very high-end shopping.
Within the post were a number of hashtags that boasted of exclusive brand names she'd brought back. The comment Ms. Linton found so disturbing had to with tax payers footing the bill for the privilege of flaunting her wealth and extravagant lifestyle.
Ms. Linton's response to the comment, dripping with insincere patience and condescension, essentially ridiculed the woman for not being wealthy, and accused her of being envious. Social media lit up immediately as the hoi polloi rallied to the defense of the woman under attack and attempted to point out the problems with the logic in Ms. Linton's reaction.
What lesson can we take away from this? I believe it's that even those who appear to have everything are just as insecure as the rest of us. Beneath all the designer labels they're just another struggling human.
Giving off an air of superiority and entitlement is how the fragile ego is revealed. Anyone whose self-worth is derived from having more luxury cars than anyone else is no different from the one who seeks security through social status, corporate rank, university degree or political power. What comes off as arrogance is really no more than disguised fear - the same fear that infects the core of even the most accomplished - the fear of not being good enough - and even more, the fear that everyone knows it.