Confidence isn’t just about being loud, being the boss, or taking control. It’s more delicate and valuable.
It’s not about chasing the limelight but about knowing your own value, and still staying humble and showing regard for others.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between confidence and arrogance.
In this piece, we’ll dive into the characteristics that separate the two and sketch out what a truly self-confident person looks like.
1. They Understand Their Strengths and Aren’t Afraid to Face Their Weaknesses
People with genuine confidence know what they’re good at, but they’re equally open about what they need to work on. They’re not scared of self-reflection.
Even though it can be tough to face their shortcomings and mistakes, they bravely do so because they know it’s part of growing.
But this quality isn’t just about bettering themselves. It’s also about showcasing humility and allowing others to see their vulnerable side.
They prove they’re human, not perfect, and it’s okay to have a few rough spots.
In a world where many hide behind masks—whether it’s a false grin, cosmetics, or a hard exterior—it’s refreshing to see someone who’s authentic.
2. They Can Handle Feedback Without Getting Defensive
Learning how to take feedback without feeling attacked is a skill that takes time to develop.
Yes, it’s tough. When you hear harsh criticism, it might feel like a punch in the gut and make you question your abilities.
At that moment, it might be wise to take a breather and look at the situation from a broader perspective. Ask yourself, “How can this help me become better?”
This trait isn’t just useful at work, it also helps in personal relationships.
People with true confidence are open to feedback and can separate their feelings from it.
If someone points out a mistake they made or a reaction that wasn’t called for, they don’t take it as an attack. Instead, they see it as a chance to improve.
3. They Aren’t Always Boasting About Their Successes
Let me tell you a story about my friend Jillian. She’s a successful businesswoman, yet she’s quietly confident.
Her company has changed the game in its field, but she doesn’t often bring up her success when asked. She’d rather talk about what she’s working on, what’s coming up next, and above all, how thankful she is for her team.
Once, over a cup of coffee, I asked Jillian why she doesn’t show off her achievements.
Her answer was an eye-opener: “Accomplishments are just markers. They show where you’ve been, not where you’re going. I value the journey more than any target we set – whether it’s landing a big client, hitting a revenue goal, or tackling a complex project. If my team is enjoying the process, that’s what makes me happy.”
Confident people don’t need to constantly trumpet their achievements. They don’t rely on applause from others. They’re sure of themselves. They’d rather focus on goals, tasks, and people than bask in recognition.
By not flaunting their own successes, they make others feel valued and heard, not eclipsed by their accomplishments.
4. They Wholeheartedly Celebrate Others’ Wins
Want to be confident without crossing into arrogance? Be the one who leads the cheers when your friends achieve something, no matter how big or small.
Creating a positive vibe in your social circles shows you’re confident. It shows you’re there to back others up, cheer them on, and root for them.
People with real confidence believe there’s plenty of success to go around. They don’t see others as competitors or feel overshadowed by other people’s wins.
If anything, they aim to lift others higher, boosting energy, spirits, and togetherness as much as possible.
5. They Welcome Different Points of View, Knowing Theirs Isn’t the Only One That Matters
One standout trait of truly confident people is their openness to different viewpoints.
Every story has more than one side. If you want a well-rounded understanding of any situation, it’s crucial to explore as many perspectives as you can.
This could involve having open conversations, reading widely, or traveling to different places, among other things.
Despite being self-assured, confident people don’t think they’re always right. Instead, they realize that every person they meet and every experience they have teaches them something new about the world.
They continuously question their biases, assumptions, and beliefs. They understand that the more they think their worldview is the only valid one, the less open they’ll be to considering others’ viewpoints.
6. They’re Confident Enough to Own Up to Their Mistakes
Confident people have the grace and humility to admit when they’ve messed up. They’re not scared of getting things wrong.
No matter how confident they appear, they know they’re human and make mistakes like anyone else.
Let me tell you about someone confident and humble I know well, my dad. Early in his career, he made a business choice that led him to leave his law firm, reducing our family’s income.
But he didn’t try to shift the blame or make excuses. He accepted responsibility and turned this experience into a pivot point for his professional growth – not to mention, while handling the added pressure of supporting a family.
He saw this setback as a stepping stone to greater things.
Fast forward a few years, he’s now a successful corporate lawyer who not only learned from his mistake but also keeps reminding me that failures don’t define you.
Everything will work out. Just keep going, even if it means taking small steps forward.
7. They’re Not Too Proud to Ask for Help
No matter how much you’ve studied or how long you’ve worked, there will be times when you need a helping hand. So it’s a good idea to start setting your pride aside.
You won’t always have all the answers or the ability to pull yourself out of a tough spot. There will come a day when you’ll have to admit you can’t go it alone.
Arrogant people, on the other hand, might see asking for help as a sign of weakness or a hit to their pride. This comes from their fragile ego. They care more about keeping up appearances than tackling the real problem head-on.
8.They’re Ready to Take Risks and Venture Outside Their Comfort Zone
There’s no comfort in growth (or was it the other way around?). Sure, stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary.
It’s full of risks and unknowns, but it can also be the catalyst for your growth and development.
When confident people step beyond their comfort zones, they don’t just get by; they flourish. They take calculated risks, like picking up a new hobby, traveling to an unfamiliar place, or diving into a complex subject.
They have the bravery to journey into the unknown. As a result, they expand their understanding of the world and bolster their self-confidence.
9. They Show Up to Give, Not Just to Get
People with real confidence approach social situations with a mindset of giving rather than just taking.
They concentrate on what they can bring to the table, be it their time, skills, or empathy, instead of always thinking about what they can get out of it. They’re not afraid to share generously.
Their generous spirit reflects their confidence. They understand that their worth isn’t lessened by giving. On the contrary, they often find it’s increased when others return their kindness.
10. They Can Say “No” Because They Know Their Value Doesn’t Depend on Pleasing Everyone
Confident people know how to draw boundaries to protect their time, energy, and well-being. I wish I had learned this skill earlier when I was trying to be a superhero at work, taking on every task my colleagues and boss gave me.
Part of me believed that the more I juggled, the more they’d see my value, leading to a raise or promotion.
When I finally gathered the courage to say “no” to certain things, I faced negative reactions. I felt isolated and cornered, but I knew I had to look out for myself.
The day I sent my resignation email, I wondered, “What now?” I was stepping into the unknown, armed only with conviction and a newfound confidence in my worth and abilities.
The fact that I can share this story with you confidently assures me that everything turned out just fine.
11. They’re Open About Their Fears and Insecurities
Confident people understand that fears and insecurities are part of being human. They’re not exempt from these feelings, so they face them head-on.
On the other hand, arrogant people often hide their insecurities behind a veil of superiority and dismissiveness.
They might deny or conceal their fears, building walls that keep others at a distance.
12. They Know That Growth and Success Take Time
During the early months of the pandemic, as my physical and mental health took a hit, I wrote in my journal: “I feel stuck. It’s like all my progress has been put on hold.”
I’m sure many can relate to that feeling. It was a time filled with uncertainty, but it was also a time that tested my confidence.
As weeks morphed into months, I understood that feeling stuck was more of a mindset, and that even amidst a global crisis, I could still grow.
I started with baby steps: regular exercise, mindful eating, keeping a daily routine, and so on. These small actions gave me a sense of control and progress.
Despite its challenges, the pandemic reminded me to stop rushing things. Everything will fall into place when it’s meant to.
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