Friday, June 28, 2013

A treatise on confidence

When I want to find a specific definition for a specific word, my first (and sometimes only) resource is obviously urban dictionary.  Ye Olde Oxford English Dictionary (online version) is no longer versed in the common vernacular so it is important to keep one's mind open and ready to absorb new colloquial verbage.  That paragraph alone is worth at least an 800 on the Verbal test, FYI.

So today I found myself google UB'ing "self confidence."  There are some great options here:

1) "Text confidence" - when someone has no self-confidence in the real world but when behind a screen they become confident.  This one applies to practically everybody these days.
2) "Shelf Confidence" - having the confidence - literally or figuratively if you choose - to sit on a shelf and KNOW that someone will buy you. Similar to self-confidence but in a more arrogant manner.  It is more desirable, however, to have shelf confidence than self confidence. I don't have too many, if any, examples of this one.  I don't think triathletes have a great deal of shelf-confidence.  They're, generally speaking, too geeky.
3) "Man-self" - Used in Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath (did UB just quote John Steinbeck??? weird), it refers to the self-confidence that men have. Another useful expression, but especially when placed into context by UB: "I took a real blow to my man-self today." To use in a triathlete example: "all the guys on the Tuesday night ride generally take a blow to their man-self when they get dropped and Jenny stays on."
4) "low self esteemy" - adjective for low self-esteem. Showing a lack of self-confidence and too much need for approval from others; being too whiny. It goes without saying that there are a TON of specific examples of this in the triathlon world. 

Now, the ACTUAL definition of self-confidence is pretty simple: "confidence in oneself and in one's powers and abilities." "Without self-confidence we are as babes in a cradle," Virginia Woolf. "Realistic confidence in one's own judgement, ability, power, etc."

Self-confidence carries no negative connotations.  There is no implicit or explicit suggestion of arrogance, of narcissism, of anything related to those general behavioral traits.  It is about being CONFIDENT in what you have been given and in what you have made of yourself.  There is nothing wrong with it.

Self-confidence is ALMOST ALWAYS mistaken for arrogance.  It is almost always associated with cockiness.  It is almost always associated with a sense of self-assured RIGHTNESS that does, in fact, have negative implications.  Why? Why can people not be self-confident and be appreciated for that? Why do so many people have NO self-confidence? We are what we are, but to an extent we can change ourselves and make ourselves into something we want to be.

There are some things I am confident about:

1) My athletic abilities: I know what my body is capable of and I want to push it as much as possible to explore things that were heretofore not possible.
2) My family: I know that they are and always will be there in support of what I choose to do
3) My friends: I trust that my friends will always be a source of positive influence and feelings (otherwise we wouldn't be friends!)
4) My self: My parents genes and their parents genes and my family's genes back through the history of the world have combined to make me who I am.  I can be nothing but confident in that, because it's who I is.

Those are all appropriate things in which to have confidence.  I should be more confident about some things (like the opposite sex) but I am just not. I have been trying to change that particular one for years but it is a slow, steady, progression (kind of like getting better at triathlon).

So if you're out there and you read this and you believe I am wrong, don't be afraid to tell me. But I am confident that I am not wrong. There are a lot of people I know who could do better at appreciating themselves and their strengths AND their weaknesses.  The more you genuinely like yourself the happier you will be and that is contagious.  Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.  And if an unhappy person latches on to the happy group they will generally become more happy because the happy people will reinforce their own latent confidence and then the happiness will come out and everyone will be happy! It's kind of like the circle of awesome.

I mean, there's so much awesome right there you GOTTA love it.

Hey everybody, come see how good I look!!
It's also important to remember that sometimes, I am being sarcastic. And, for the record, I do not own nor tweet from the @Haycrafts_Hair even though I'm pretty sure most people who read this think that I do.  It's not me.  But it is awesome.

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