Don’t mistake confidence with cockiness

By Kaitlyn McCann, Columnist

At this age, almost everyone tends to be insecure. And constantly, everyone seems to be encouraging others to be confident. But once those same people realize that someone is more confident than they are, they feel intimidated.

Compared to those around me, I have an overwhelmingly strong sense of myself which is sadly intimidating to others. My confidence is something I have always cherished about myself. But, over and over, people try to make me feel like it’s wrong. Backhanded compliments about my “bravery” and “boldness” always sting a little because I know what people are really thinking. So, I have come to understand that people often confuse my confidence for arrogance.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, part of growing up is growing in confidence. Often it will take years to find a version of yourself that you are consistently proud of. But it truly is a process, just take it day by day. For me, confidence is being able to go to bed at night and be proud of what I accomplished, proud of how I treated others and proud of how I treated myself. Finding the perfect balance is one of the most difficult parts, but finding the sweet harmony of confidence and humbleness is the key to success.

On a broader level, this issue can arise on dates, job interviews and in other important scenarios. For example, it can be difficult to come off confident to a potential employer or partner without sounding arrogant. There are many ways to stay humble while also maintaining confidence, and according to Forbes, one way to distinguish arrogance is if someone “puts others down to make themselves look and feel better.” It is important to not compare yourself to others because everyone is special in their own way and no one will ever be happy if we keep trying to copy each other.

I have always been a strong believer in the saying, “fake it till you make it”. If you feel insecure about yourself and tend to overthink your decisions, something that has helped me is to make a decision, stick to it, and whatever the outcome is, be confident in the choice you made.

A big part of confidence is being able to recognize your mistakes. In an article by the Huffington Post, Dr. Stacy Kim, certified life and career coach writes, “We need to be able to truthfully and confidently state our talents, abilities, strengths, and worthiness. . . At the same time, we need to be able to recognize that we still have much to learn and more ways to grow.”  At the end of the day, everyone is doing their best, no one really knows what they’re doing, so that’s all you can ask of yourself. The world around us is already hard enough, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

I feel as though everyone should be confident in themselves. Your own energy has an incredible impact on the people around you, so if yourself and everyone around you is insecure, you won’t be able to accomplish anything. An article by the Wall Street Journal talks about how confidence can make a great leader, but a big part of that is instilling confidence in others.

If you can be happy with yourself while also spreading that happiness and love toward others, then that’s the winning formula. No one should ever feel as if they are better than anyone else, everyone is equal and should strive to be the best that they can be. That should be the main goal, to empower each other and encourage everyone to love themselves. People shouldn’t be scared of looking vain because they love themselves.

Kaitlyn is a freshman in Media.

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