Think back to a time when you were scrolling through Instagram and stumbled upon a picture of someone you found to be attractive. They had glowy skin, a button nose, the perfect body, and they owned it. What was your first impression of them? Did you think they were confident but humble, or did you think they were so pretty that, “they must be full of themselves.” People often confuse confidence for arrogance. Just because someone is sure of themselves doesn’t mean they are narcissistic, nor does it rule out the possibility of them having insecurities of their own.
People are terrified to announce their big winnings because they are scared others will judge them. So many people don’t even know how to take a compliment and they end up deflecting or talking negatively about themselves. We live in a world where having a positive self-image can be seen as a threat because oftentimes people pray on our downfall. When a person sees that we have all of this self-confidence and positivity they believe we’re being stuck up or vain. However, there’s a fine line between vanity and being comfortable in our own skin.
When a person is conceited they often believe the world revolves around them. They put themselves on such a high pedestal that they constantly have to prove to themselves that they are all that and a bag of chips. A pretentious person typically looks down on others and has a superiority complex, i.e. they believe that they are superior to everyone else. However, they have skeletons in their closet just like the rest of us.
In contrast, a person who has self-confidence and is comfortable with who they are looks at the skeletons in their closet and acknowledges them. A self-confident person can look at themselves in the mirror and willingly accept all of their flaws. They recognize that being human means being imperfect. There’s no perfect recipe. Every single person on this earth has flaws. Ultimately, it’s up to every one of us whether or not we let them rule our life.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s probably plenty of people in this world that are blatantly narcissistic and it doesn’t take a genius to see that. However, I think it’s important to reiterate the old-fashioned proverb, “never judge a book by its cover.” You don’t know someone’s story as to why they are so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and exuberate the most self-confidence. Maybe that girl you saw at the gym with the killer body struggled with her weight her entire life and has finally reached her body goals after years of blood, sweat, and tears. Or, maybe the girl with the dynamic personality that is always positive, loud, and not afraid to speak her mind has been going to therapy for depression and anxiety, constantly saying affirmations to herself to fight the negative thoughts that consume her. You never know someone’s story as to how they got to where they are today. You can’t make assumptions about a person without getting to know them and their life story.
One of my best friends has some experience in this area. She’s always been pretty confident in herself but after a tough breakup, a part of her broke. After months of feeling sad and working on healing, she finally became herself again. I’ve seen so much self-growth in her in the past couple of years, and she has stepped into her power. She knows her self-worth and has accepted who she is and she’s unapologetic about it. But, this newfound confidence stunned some people. She’s had people make assumptions about her just because she’s more confident. She’s not pretentious and thinks she’s better than anyone else. She just knows that she’s a girl boss and can conquer anything she puts her mind to. What’s so wrong with that?
Our society is constantly preaching about self-love, yet when someone does have a positive self-image, they’re likely to get judged for it. It’s like there’s an imaginary cap on the bottle of self-assurance. I say we end that narrative and start a new one; a narrative that truly applauds and supports our journeys to confidence. In a world as tough as ours, let’s support each other instead of tearing each other down because everyone has a story that isn’t always seen.