Many of us have had to walk away from toxic relationships. Relationships where the other person put us down on a regular basis.
When we stand up for ourselves, these people may accuse us of being “arrogant” or “cocky” to maintain power over us.
These words can stick with us in painful ways. One permeating challenge is difficulty with confidence. We may feel arrogant instead of confident in moments of awesomeness.
Yet confidence is often cited as the way out of these toxic dynamics. This can feel like a total catch-22. Moreover, when we can’t seem to find a way to feel confident we may end up thinking that the other person was right.
This can leave us feeling pretty defeated and the lack of confidence shows up in all kinds of ways.
It shows up in school when we write papers, work in groups, or give a presentation.
It keeps us from completing our work and taking risks to climb a little higher on the career front.
Among friends, we may find ourselves worrying about how we come off. Honestly, this can be such a distraction from being able to BE in the moment with our friends.
In relationships, we may find ourselves in the same kind of relationship over and over. When that happens, that toxic narrative gets reinforced making it hard to break its spell.
Finally, it shows up in our relationship with ourselves. We may feel crappy on a regular basis. We get stuck, unable to push ourselves forward. Our motivation to take exquisite care of ourselves evaporates and we may lose sight of how to regain it.
OK, so how do we work toward a greater sense of confidence when we are petrified of being arrogant?
First, focusing on confidence alone can get us stuck worrying about being arrogant. To address this, I find it helpful to reframe it. Consider that the goal is to develop the capacity to hold confidence and humility in balance.
Sometimes when we focus on confidence, we leave humility behind. Leaving humility behind can trigger those fears about being arrogant. Working toward a balance can allow more confidence to seep into our sense of self.
And to keep those two in balance??
My go-to solution is gratitude. If you focus more on what you are grateful for you can’t possibly be arrogant. And this becomes the key to staying humble while owning your confidence. Presence to gratitude allows your strengths to have more say than a withered old narrative created by someone else.
And how to work on gratitude? Practice it, intentionally.
This could be starting a gratitude journal where you write one thing that you are grateful for each day. Being mindful of the help you receive and saying, “thank you” throughout the day could be a strategy. When you have a moment of success and want to celebrate it? Embed gratitude in that celebration.
That’s a small start. If you would like to explore some more ideas, here’s 40.
The goal is to draw your attention to gratitude so that moments of success can feed your confidence rather than remnant fears of being arrogant.