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LSYC1027

A Rant About Confidence

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Disclaimer: I'm going to try my best to be careful in this one. I have a lot of questions. This post will be unorganised and random … But I will be quite direct. I will apologise beforehand if this post reflects negatively on my character or unintentionally offends anyone.

I know this for a fact: I dislike myself with a burning passion ... And I think it's perfectly fine. 

I never understood the concept of self-confidence. The term 'Self-confidence' is thrown around casually in our daily lives. It is a quality society believes is ideal to have in a person. It is almost expected of us. 'You should be confident in yourself.' / 'You need to learn how to love yourself before loving others.' etc. Frankly, I don't react well to people who make these statements lightly. 

Can anyone on Earth truly define ‘Confidence’? I surely can’t. I do not believe anyone is TRULY self-confident. I do believe people are capable of pretending they are confident. Humans are hypocrites. We try to present a better version of ourselves in public to mask our internal weaknesses …

Sometimes, the world is too simplistic. The idea of self-confidence is one of those under developed theories. If you exhibit certain behaviours (E.g. Walking into a room with your head held high; Rocking an outfit in a club; Extroverted; Sociable etc.), you are what people recognise as being confident. If you exhibit the opposite (E.g. Introverted; Standing in the corner alone in social events etc.), you are categorised as not being confident…

Where is the line between being confident and being egotistical? Where is the line between being confident and being delusional? For example, if I think I’m attractive, but nobody ever compliments my appearance, should I still believe I’m attractive? If I claim I’m intelligent, but I don’t have the adequate academic results to support my claim, am I intelligent? At what point are you truly qualified to be confident? And at what point are you just lying to yourself? Alright. Assuming you have the evidence to back yourself up … I observe sometimes when people refuse to show off their talents and want to be shy and humble about it, others will say ‘Come on, you should be more confident in yourself.’ Must I brag about my strengths in order to be recognised as being confident? Alright. You are confident in yourself. You have even proven to others you are confident and good at what you do. Where is the turning point between being confident and being arrogant? At what point is a person so confident others have to remind him okay, maybe take it down a notch. 

I think the reason why the concept of ‘self-confidence’ is so difficult for me is partially due to my upbringing. I don't want to directly state my race ... But you see, we have a very traditional and tough education system (I was still studying in my home country in secondary school. I moved to the UK for university afterwards). It is very competitive. Exams determine your fate. Your tangible achievements (E.g. Certificates / Scholarships) reflect a lot about you. Our style of learning … We are not used to receiving praise or being told to think about our strengths. We learn through recognising weaknesses and improve. Because there is no such thing as good enough. You can always be better. It’s just a matter of whether you want to face it or you want to deny it. If you think you’re already good enough … think again.

My secondary school was (And still is) the top ranked secondary school in my entire city. There are many amazing people in there … Insanely intelligent people who get full marks in everything all the time … People who belong to the top richest families in the city … People whose parents are famous actresses / actors (And then they go on to inherit their legacy and become models … doing commercials) etc. You name it. The best of the best. In fact, we have the quantitative evidence to prove it. Academically we are number one. We continuously performed best in the public secondary diploma exams compared to other schools.

I should use ‘They’ instead of ‘We’ because I’m not part of the success. I’m just an ordinary girl. Miraculously I got into that school but I performed the worst in my class. I had average results … which comparatively isn’t good when you’re in the middle of a bunch of extraordinary people. I didn’t excel in anything else either … 

Anyways, my point is: I’ve always looked up towards the people above me in the hierarchy. And that is how I’ve always lived my life. I always look up at them, point out the things they have that I want, then go on to evaluate how terrible I am. If I have the energy (Which I normally don’t), I’ll try and position myself higher in the hierarchy. 

Because that’s overall how life should be. A line going upwards (Sure you may have downfalls along the way, but overall an upwards trend). You should always be thinking of how to be better. You shouldn’t think that you are already good enough. That type of thinking can prevent you from going upwards …

My mother is a Christian. She’s the type of person who is always ‘content’. She looks at the people who are below us in the hierarchy (E.g. A hungry child in Africa) and thinks to herself ‘I’m so lucky to be where I am now.’ I HAVE TO MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR: I do sympathise for the people who aren’t as fortunate as me. I am still grateful for everything I have. However, I don’t see the point of constantly looking at the people downwards in the hierarchy. I do feel sorry for them, but I’m not trying to be in their position. I am trying improve, to look upwards (At this point I’m probably coming across as an ungrateful brat). I don’t see the problem in that. I want to be better, not worse. And it’s important to look towards the people who are better than you and take a reference. 

I dislike myself with a burning passion. I am introverted, unsociable, ugly, untalented, emotionally complicated etc. These weaknesses prevent me from achieving many things I want in life (Having a relationship ... Good academic results ... Being unique and talented ... Being admired for something etc.) It saddens me that these things can’t simply be changed. I can’t magically transform my personality. I can dress well and pretend I’m pretty but still no one every compliments me. I am not confident. And that’s just how it is. I won’t lie to you and say I am. Maybe if I am competent one day, I’ll take these weaknesses and improve and climb upwards in the hierarchy. But so far I’ve been incompetent. 

To the people who think they are confident: Can you justify it? What makes you think you’re good at whatever you believe you are good at? Aren’t there many people in the world who are probably better than you? How is recognising your strengths useful? How do you even know it is your strength ...

I’m not trying to attack anyone. I just don’t understand a lot of things …

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Hello Lsyc1027,

Many interesting things there.  Several hours of good conversation can be had from all the topics you touched on.

Relative vs absolute.  Relativism can betray us, so be careful. (I could go on)

But to the direct question/topic, confidence.  There is a difference between being confident and acting it.  But not as many folks can see the difference.  (And it takes some time also)  So many don't care about the difference.  "Act confident" etc... In a way, I find it dishonest. But in a way, there are times we should act what we want to become also.

I understand your associations of extro/introvert and confidence... I do not agree with it.  Maybe, if I think back a long time ago to school days, it makes more sense.  But I still disagree.  I've known many good people who were quiet, not "center of attention", but competent and confident in their way.   Passive dominant is a thing  (worth a read)  And I like folks who are like that...or passive confident, passive competent.

I do not like myself much.  I hate being the center of attention (especially for strangers!)  But I know what I can do, what I can accomplish, how I can help.  And, I try.  (Sometimes trying is more important)  Well, I try at certain things.  I have found some limitations in life and have adapted.  (I am confident that I will never high jump my own height again, run a sub 5 minute mile, dunk a basketball etc.  Days past) 

School is temporary.  We have our whole life to figure out who we are.  Some marry an idea of themselves when they are very young (and it shows for the rest of their life)  Some are always questioning (which is just fine with me, means we are still interested in learning and growing)  But after a while, we settle in.

ps. I hate the concept of "always do better"/never good enough.... such a burden and greatly effects mental health.  Sometimes, good enough is good enough and it's more important to move on. ' Perfect' is an evil concept.  Accomplish what you can.  To accomplish more tasks, we have to finish a task and not spend years perfecting it.

Just some thoughts, and random at that.

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Hello, I want to commend you for your courage and also deep intellect because you think on these things so deeply.

Confidence can come from your ability. For example, if I am a farmer and I grow my own food and am self sufficient, I am proud of my trade and am confident. Confidence is your ability to survive, knowing you can build and craft things with your hands and make a difference with your voice.

It is true that some people will fake confidence when they do not really have it. But I do think if you just try your best each day and live honorably you will be confident.

Our world does have a hierarchy but its not always good. For example Hitler looked up to the tall blonde aryans since he thought they were superior in the Holocaust. If they were so much better why did they need to **** 6 million plus people if they could have bested them fairly?

When you look up at the hierarchy, take it with a grain of salt because they often have serious failures. Also many things of high culture are often borrowed from low culture, I am thinking of the movie "The pursuit of happiness" with Will Smith. Sometimes hollywood just likes poor people more because they can actually have more dramatic and interesting lives.

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I didn't always have confidence.  Most of my life I had almost none.  I have it now because it doesn't matter what happens anymore.  It's probably a big key to getting confident not caring anymore.

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I've struggled with "self confidence" for 60 years now. My motto in life has always been "don't try to do anything because it will invariably lead to disaster". More colloquially, I think that everything I touch turns to sh!t.

I despise myself as well. Everything about me makes me feel ill. If not for my cats and my daughter...

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IMHO -- The best definition of 'self confidence' is believing you will be able to handle a (or any) situation.  Not necessarily 'solve', 'triumph over', 'be the best at', etc. --  rather handle or deal with.  

The comments other people make (eg. 'you should be more confident') refer to the appearance of confidence, not the actual confidence you have.  Please do not confuse appearances with someone's actual character qualities.  Lots of people pretend their way through lots of life experiences. --  This difference can cause much confusion, which people sometimes use to their advantage.  

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Posted (edited)

I think you are taking the word confident or have self cobfidenxe in the wrong way.

This is a simple example: "I dont know if Im enough good to make that career, Im not good at things" that person lacks of self confidence.

"Im think I could take a try and see if I can mske that career", thats a person with self confidance.

Self confidance doesnt mean "I know Im gonna be the best on that career and have no flaws, its all going to be perfect".

Theres people who just feel they are not able to do tasks or or be in situations because they dont trust on themselves.

Confidence its not only about think you are going to make things perfect.

Confidence its about you feel you are be able to adapt to what the situation needs to be completed.

Its a long topic to discuss

-

Personally I feel confident if my self. That means I feel the best ? No. But I trust in myself to take desitions

 

And if someone tells me "no, you are wrong, I have the best solution", I feel confident enough to trust more in my opinion.

Confidence means (by psychological theory, I was a psychology student, drop out): trust in yourself to take desitions by yourself.

 

Edited by mmd

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4 hours ago, mmd said:

Confidence its about you feel you are be able to adapt to what the situation needs to be completed.

Good one.

Bulga

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Excellent thread. 

I've struggled with the notion of 'fake it till you make it' and having an utter sense of realism --so much so that I can't not care anymore---simply because I've seen how much perception shapes reality.  I've had friends/cohorts who've said time and again that my reservation comes off as unconfident but I know that my level of self-awareness and ingenuity to handle challenges supercedes being outspoken and verbally dominant. To me confidence in its purest form is the byproduct of effectiveness and competence. It's not a static value but fluid IMO with a given context. 

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