The Happiness Connection  

See-saw myth shattered

When I was growing up, I knew my parents loved me. It wasn’t because they heaped praise on me.

In fact, about the most glowing comment they gave me, and my siblings was “you’re pretty good kids.”

Why? They were concerned that if they told us we were wonderful, it would swell our heads.

They weren’t alone in their concern of possibly creating arrogant children. There is a common misconception that feeling too much confidence leads to arrogance. It’s as if people see confidence as a teeter-totter.

If one side dips, you are lacking confidence.

If the other side drops, you are on the path to becoming overly confident and arrogant.

The goal is to stay balanced in the middle. That sounds exhausting.

I am here to bust this see-saw myth.

Confidence: the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something, firm trust. — Oxford Dictionaries

Arrogance: proud in an unpleasant way and behaving as if you are better or more important than other people. — Cambridge English Dictionary

At first glance, it is easy to see how people believe arrogance is related to confidence. But there is a fundamental difference that means they are kissing cousins at best.

Confidence is an inside job. It is how you feel about yourself and your environment. It is your level of trust in your own abilities and the things you choose to believe in.

Arrogance is an outside job. It involves comparing yourself to other people and believing you are better and more important.

You can be arrogant with a medium amount of confidence. I suspect you can be arrogant with low confidence if you adopt the fake it ‘til you make it philosophy.

You can also be off the charts confident and extremely kind and humble.

Is it possible to believe in and trust yourself too much? I don’t think so. Confidence may enable arrogance and risky decisions, but it isn’t the cause.

It’s like a flower bed that is over-run with weeds. You made a beautiful space for your roses, that is also desirable for those unwanted plants.

But did the flowers cause the weeds to appear? Should you stop creating flower beds to prevent weeds?

With great power comes great responsibility.

At the same time as you boost your confidence, learn to embrace a growth mindset. Your journey is yours alone. You aren’t here to compete with the rest of the world.

Life is about being the best you, not being better than everyone else.

Most things have both light and shadow sides. Exposure to the sun can make you feel good, but it also causes skin cancer.

The bright side of confidence involves using your belief and trust to increase your personal success, and the success of others.

The shadow side uses that belief to compete against others and do whatever it takes to make sure you come out on top. This is typical of a fixed mindset.

If arrogance begins to creep in, the person involved has begun a competition where they get to be both competitor and judge.

Foster the confidence of yourself, your family, colleagues, and friends, but remember life is a very personal and individual journey.

Feel free to heap on praise when it is due without worrying that you may be encouraging someone to be overly confident. In my mind there is no such thing.

It isn’t confidence that causes arrogance, it is the need to be better than others. Any super-power can be used for good or for evil.

The choice is yours.

Confidence has nothing to do with pretending you are better than you are or comparing your worth to someone else’s. It is strictly an inside job.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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