Is it confidence or is it arrogance?
When you think about true confidence, who do you think of? A public figure, a politician, a teacher, a performer, an opinionated friend? There are those who come across as confident and powerful, yet border on the edge of arrogance. Yet, others who really know so much are hesitant to express themselves. I find myself wondering… what makes someone truly confident?
Recently I observed one woman repeatedly correcting another woman, insisting that what she was doing was wrong. Like a dog with a bone, the opinionated woman would not let it go. Now, this was a very simple thing, no one would have been harmed by the action. Yet watching the derogatory interaction made others in the group very uncomfortable. It also made the insistent, overly confident acting woman appear insensitive, compulsive, and zealous. I wondered, what gave her the right to be so insistent? Was it true confidence, or was her arrogance really insecurity in disguise?
Someone who is truly confident expresses themselves with ease while inspiring others, making them feel good. Those who strive to make themselves appear more important at the expense of others are missing the mark. Arrogance is said to be the camouflage of insecurity.
There is a saying from A Course In Miracles, “Would you rather be right or be happy?” At first I was confused by this saying, thinking that of course I want to be right. However, when thinking more deeply about it, one who is confident in their knowing understands that everyone is on their own journey, and they will come to their knowing in their own time. Unless in an extreme situation, it is usually unnecessary to use excessive force in any issue.
Thoughts on true confidence can be expressed in the words of the old Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler.
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.
- Know when to hold ’em – When you know an answer, have an opinion, or hold a possible solution… go ahead, stand up, speak up, and feel free to express yourself. Others might benefit from your wisdom.
- Know when to fold ’em – When dealing with those who are insistent in their opinion, observe the dynamics, express yourself, then step back and let go. Share what you know with confidence, allowing them to absorb the merits of your wisdom in their own time. For some, it may take quite a while.
- Know when to walk away – Strongly opinionated people tend to make others uncomfortable. Be the observer and recognize that those who appear overly confident, those who are insistent in their opinion, are often coming from a place of insecurity. Save your breath, they are not going to listen to you anyway.
- Know when to run – Overly harsh or critical people are personally hurting in some way, and often gain their power by making others feel badly about themselves. Avoid these people, and run from them lest they sour your good mood or drain your positive energy. The issue is theirs and nothing you do or say will help. They must learn to heal their own pain.
- Never count your blessings when you’re sittin’ at the table – Gratitude is important in all we do. Those who are truly confident are sensitive to others and tend to be humble in presenting their successes. Think of Gandhi, the Dalai Lama or Jesus.
Now every gambler knows the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep.
‘Cause every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser
And the best you can hope for Is to die in your sleep.
There are many ways of looking at true confidence. As you think about asserting yourself more confidently, know that sharing your wisdom in a constructive manner can be very beneficial to others. Observe… share… then step back and observe again. Those who are the most confident come from a place of keen observation, offering knowledge when applicable with kind expression, and a sincere willingness to help others. Think about it, the best managers pass credit on to their employees, and often shoulder any blame. Insecure people love to make you feel smaller, confident people love to see you walk tall.
Go ahead, express yourself, be confident, and never let an arrogant person take your power away.