Confidence or Cockiness? Let's Talk About it

Have you ever said “I look good today” and then someone else countered that by saying you’re cocky? Or maybe you felt good about yourself or acknowledged your accomplishments and someone called you a narcissist. If so, you've come to the right place! I’ve noticed that when people do or say things that make them feel confident, like dress or act a certain way, others assume that they are full of themselves. But why is that?

I think growing up a lot of us learned that if you're proud of your accomplishments or if you simply don't sh*t on yourself all the time, then you're considered a narcissist. We live in a world where companies are constantly shoving their products down our throats to convince us that we need them in order to look and feel better. We’re told that we must work non-stop but keep our hard work a secret. Overall, we feel that we must change ourselves to love ourselves, and if we do love ourselves, then we must hide it.

This is something that I have been trying to unlearn. I’ve realized calling people cocky is a way of telling others “you aren't good enough on your own,” and that “you can't possibly be comfortable in your own skin.” I find that people also often misuse this word because they are projecting their own insecurities onto someone else, who is seemingly doing a better job of accepting theirs.

Don't get me wrong, there are narcissists out there. However, I think it's important to distinguish when someone's being a narcissist and when someone is just confident.  Narcissists are people who think that they're better than everyone else. These people are arrogant and often disregard other people's feelings or needs. On the other hand, people who are confident respect other people in all aspects because they don't feel the need to judge others since they are comfortable with their own self-image. Overall, they respect themselves first.

Personally, I feel that many of us feel intimidated to work on our self-image because we are afraid of what others might perceive us as. I mean, who wants to be told that they're self-absorbed? I know that personally, this is something that stopped me from taking steps to become more confident. I would often hide my accomplishments or not promote my work because I didn't want people to think that I was showing off. It's not that I wasn't proud of what I had done… I was, but the thought of someone else thinking that I was confident in my work made me feel uncomfortable. And that is a problem.

It has been ingrained in my head since childhood that being humble is an admirable quality and while I do still agree with this, I think that one can still be humble and be proud of their accomplishments at the same time. You should be able to post articles, pieces of work, projects that you're working on and awards or achievements you have received without feeling like you need to hide it. Why? Because you did that! Be proud of yourself and flaunt it!

Last year when I started writing for Her Campus, I wouldn't share my articles on my social media accounts because I felt that I was "doing too much." The idea that other people would see me promoting something that I worked hard on made me feel as if I would be looked at as someone who was cocky, which is something I didn't want. Now, I have my articles linked to my Instagram bio, and I always promote my articles when they get published! If I am not going to acknowledge my own work, why would anyone feel the need to take me seriously? 

Now, I promote my work because I'm proud of what I have written. In other words, I am confident in my writing abilities and I feel that other people might be interested in what I have to say!

I think the idea that we can't share our accomplishments, work or any positive feelings about ourselves solely because of a fear of being called cocky, makes us disregard the amount of work that we have put in to get to where we are right now. If you want to work on yourself but are afraid of being labelled as cocky, just remember that as long as you aren't dragging people down, you're in the clear! I think it is so admirable to build yourself up in a world that so often brings you down. Life is too short to live in fear - be confident and stay golden!