One day my best friend commented about how she won’t date a guy who lacks self-confidence. Since then I have pondered what people mean by “self-confidence.” While it seems obvious at first, when you really stop and consider what it means it wiggles away. Self confidence is mostly self acceptance and living other-centered. However, we mostly think about confidence as the providence of so-called alpha males or strong women. Confidence in the popular sense seem to be associated with an assertive personality. In many cases, assertive personalities are the complete opposite of confidence when you examine them.
Assertive individuals often are insecure. They compensate by taking control of situations and asserting their will. It is a shield used to keep people from seeing their insecurity. Alpha males talk up themselves to hide their weaknesses. Confidence is not strut and bluff.
Although I run the risk of strutting and bluffing as I write this, I am quietly confident. I wouldn’t write such an open blog otherwise. ( With those statements I get a little too close to “thou doest protest too much.”) I am not completely satisfied with my physical appearance, but I am content with it. Satisfaction and contentment are different things. Lack of satisfaction does not mean a person lacks confidence. Rather it means a person seeks to continually improve themselves.
It is funny that self-improvement is looked down upon in American society. People who seek self-improvement apparently aren’t happy with themselves right? Actually, people who seek self-improvement think very highly of themselves. Such people think themselves worthy of improvement. Self improvement is an act of self-love and self acceptance. Why self acceptance you ask? Well, true self-improvement must begin with contentment. Without contentment there isn’t a starting point for growth. Discontent with oneself leads to constant fretting over what is “wrong,” and growth cannot start with the wrong. Self improvement is the expansion and development of the good aspects we already possess. For example, with my physique I like my lean muscular build. Although I am too thin, I don’t worry about it. By expanding my strength instead of focusing on my thinness, I will automatically take care of what is “wrong.” Focusing on what is “wrong” only strengthens the “wrong” and erodes your self-esteem.
Quiet confidence is true confidence. Self acceptance cannot be announced. Saying “I accept myself for who I am” to everyone is a show of insecurity. Rather, self acceptance and confidence is shown in our behavior. Assertive behavior is not an accurate measure. Confidence is allowing people to have minds of their own. Relationships easily develop into insecurity and shatter self-confidence. There is much invested. However, assertive behavior, efforts to directly control the flow of a relationship, show lack of self-confidence. Now, this isn’t to say that people should do nothing when they are interested in someone. Rather, they should express their feelings but not seek to control the other person. Relationships are a mutual decision.
Quiet self-confidence is found in self-expression. As a person expresses their thoughts and emotions without seeking reassurance in return, they show how much they value their own thoughts. Confidence cannot be developed externally ( it can, however, be reinforced). Confidence is a decision to accept yourself as you are right now. It is a decision to love yourself enough to grow your strengths. Confidence requires contentment with how we are now. Without contentment we cannot free our energy to grow; it is too tied up in self-pity and worry. Lacking confidence is just extreme self focus.
You, right now, are all you have. Be quietly confident. You are beautiful, unique, and have much to offer others once you step outside your self focus.