My Self-Confidence Paradox

Frankly, I think I am pretty awesome, just like that cat.

Of course there are some things I don’t like about myself, but overall I believe I am very cool.

Bare with me as I brag about myself starting now (there is a point to this):

  • I love how non-judgmental I am and therefore people can trust me to tell me anything. I was often the one in the group of friends who knew everyone’s secrets because I didn’t judge and I didn’t tell.
  • Related to the above, I love how trustworthy I am.
  • I love how laid-back I am and my ability to go with the flow.
  • I believe I am a very strong person who can live through a lot and endure a lot of pain, physical and emotional.
  • I love how my trust in God allows me to be fearless.
  • I love that my husband thinks I am a great wife and a great cook.
  • I am an amazing dancer.
  • I am so good at doing nothing.
  • I have many artistic abilities and used to be a great writer (I lost practice when I stopped studying).
  • I got great grades in school without having to work too hard for them.
  • I have an amazing metabolism and body genes. I couldn’t live without my daily dose of chocolate.
  • I have expensive taste and a good artistic eye.
  • I am mature for my age and have a broad knowledge of culture from traveling.
  • I am great at reading people and catching lies.
  • I am amazing at eating dessert.
  • I like that my verbal stories are so ridiculously bad that they’re funny.
  • I’ve won medals in archery.
  • I can make exquisite salted nutella fudge.

Let’s stop for the sake of arrogance, a characteristic I personally hate. I usually don’t feel comfortable loving myself “out loud” but I took the liberty of bragging about myself today because of the IBQ Writing Prompt: Confidence. I said there was a point to all this, and here it goes:

The Self-esteem – Confidence Paradox

In spite of my my clear self-esteem, I don’t have a lot of confidence; not the kind of confidence that stops me from believing in myself to be able to do something, but the kind that gets you to talk and meet with people unafraid in a calm and natural way.

You would think good self-esteem and confidence go hand in hand, but that doesn’t seem to be true for me. 

I am shy, and I am underestimated constantly. I am an introvert and I dislike socializing with people I don’t know. I hate small talk and I’ve even written about my hate of the question: “what do you do?”. The opposite of small talk is personal and deep conversation which is just weird to get into with a stranger. So I’m stuck. I get nervous, uncertain, and my mind freezes up around new people. I can’t be natural and I can’t be myself, whom apparently is awesome.

Why is this outward confidence lacking? Why isn’t it there if I really think I’m cool, interesting and likable?

I don’t have the answer.

In part it may be because I don’t believe most people and I are in the same page, I don’t believe we look at life and the world the same way. I think my unconventional life needs too much explaining to do. Even close friends and family don’t completely get me, but I still feel comfortable with them because of knowing them for so many years.

It takes me a long-ass time to become completely comfortable with someone. And it is a struggle.

I remember when my husband and I got together (before we married), for the longest time I was too timid to touch the car radio. Whether I wanted to change the channel or change the volume, I just wouldn’t touch it. For some reason I didn’t feel comfortable doing so and he wasn’t even close to being a stranger anymore.

Now, I am as comfortable as this cat around my hubby.

I am too scared to mess with other people, I don’t want to affect their lives, I don’t want to change the channel if they don’t want me to, and it is not as easy as just asking. This is a minor example of what my mind looks like in general.

I don’t feel comfortable putting myself first, I have too much empathy. So much that I can feel physical pain when someone gets hurt and I find myself making decisions naturally based on what I think other’s would prefer rather than what I prefer.

I guess this characteristic conflicts with my view of myself. It doesn’t really matter in the end if I am awesome or not because it all comes down to making others happy and not imposing myself.

Unfortunately, the more comfortable I am with someone, the more comfortable I feel about imposing myself. I never become completely selfish, but some selfishness might come out when I am so close to someone, like my husband. For example, I put myself first when it comes to controlling the temperature of the room. He always wants it warmer, but my internal temperature device doesn’t work very well and I don’t do well if the room is 2 degrees hotter. I figure he can wear more clothes or blankets if he’s cold. That’s selfish.

 

Do you relate to any of this? Or am I just too weird and complex? (I won’t take offense on the latter. Remember, I think I’m awesome in spite my weirdness, and because of it too.) 
 
See what others wrote about confidence:
IBQ Writing Prompt: Confidence | In my world
Ep. 4 – Joyride to Egypt: Salam wa Smiles, 40 yrs, 5’5″ | Aisha’s Oasis
Dear Confidence, | Bottle The Moments
Confidence To Spare | Price Is Truth
Introverts Blog Quietly – Confidence | Notes From The Fog
Confidence | The Snallygaster
IBQ Writing Prompt: Confidence | Cee’s Photography
 

9 Comments

  1. I also have this fear of ‘changing other people’s channel’, so much that I simply nod and agree every time I am with them (of course also because I don’t like to speak up), I can fully identify!

    Reply
  2. Some of what you are saying describes me perfectly! My mind also freezes up around new people and I generally assume most people aren’t on the same page as me and wouldn’t get me. It makes socializing very awkward!

    Reply
  3. I really enjoyed this post and can relate very well. I feel I am all things at various times. Depends on every minute of every day and I am OK with that. At least no one can ever call me boring! I work at the things I don’t like about myself, such as, I can complain a lot when I am unhappy. I think the fact that you know so much about yourself is wonderful and you are ahead of the game already. I really like the mention of the dreaded question, “What do you do?” As if someone is trying to quickly label me as a person. However, maybe I find it offensive because I am in my early 40’s and still can not fully answer that question. I need to find a really good reply to that question like, “I am a Blue Angel pilot.” “Really?!” they would say. “No, not really.” Then move on. BTW, it’s OK to be selfish. I don’t see making yourself happy as selfish. If you are happy, then others around you are happy. You can’t make anyone else happy if you are not. Enjoy your adventures! It sounds like a wonderful life!

    Reply
    • Wow thanks for the heartfelt comment. I really appreciate the kind, supportive and encouraging words. I’m almost 25 and I hate the question because I don’t have a clear answer either. It’s a good idea to think of a clever answer, my husband always tells me I should just joke about it like responding: “as little as possible”, but in the spur of the moment I simply cannot be witty or funny.
      All the best!
      -M

      Reply
  4. I hope you dont mind, I’m duplicating my comment here as I wrote it on chris’ page because I want you to read it here, too ♥♥♥ ;^)
    We are sooooo similar! Amazing, I have to read more on your blog, I just fell in and dont want to leave. Your writing style is very clear and you describe what problems I have with my family and neighbors perfectly. God knows how I hate chit chat! It’s awesome that you found a spouse so comfortable to be with, lol like that adorable cat. For most people, I am so different that I know I am a liabilty for them if I become friends, we are so totally on different pages, and like you, I’ve always been the nonjudgmental one… unfortunately meaning I am usually the one judged, lol! Anyway, great to meet you, and looking forward to reading more from your blog! ; ^)
    Greetings from an american girl married to an egyptian man after meeting him online! ♥♥♥

    Reply

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