“Confidence is believing in yourself when no one else does.”
Confidence: a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
Narcissism: extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
I often wonder why we are so quick to judge a person and not take the time to really get to know them.
There are narcissistic people, but I believe there are more people who are confident being mistaken for narcissists. When we do not acknowledge and appreciate a person’s talents, gifts and contribution to society, they are denied the opportunity to stand in their authenticity, consequently, their sense of self-worth and confidence is eroded.
When we diminish, criticize, belittle or become confrontational because we believe the person is too much into himself or herself, shows signs of superiority and may appear as if they think they are better than others, we are disempowering a confident person rather than uplifting and taking on a supporting role for continued growth and expansion.
They had a traumatic childhood and have spent years in self-development overcoming their challenges and now has the capability to be their own person.
They were bullied as a child and may even have dealt with adult bullies; finally finding the courage to define their boundaries stand tall in their truths.
They did not have support as a child from their parents, yet could overcome the feelings of unworthiness and not being loved; now able to face the world with strength and courage.
They developed low self-esteem, questioning who they are and what do they have to offer the world; then took the time to work with a coach or therapist to unravel their false truths discovering their gifts and most positive qualities.
They grew up in a loving home where they were encouraged to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams.
They had a mentor or teacher who inspired them to excel and exceed expectations from others and even of themselves.
They were helped with a learning disorder, such as ADD or Dyslexia, overcoming this handicap finding a path to success feeling good about their achievements.
They read a book or attended an event that transformed their life, causing them to readjust their beliefs, perceptions and thinking such that now they know there is
opportunity, potential and purpose to their life.
As you can see, no matter which side of the railroad track we may come from, others can view us differently than what the reality is.
The difference between confidence and narcissism can be so slight that you may mistake one for the other, without realizing there is a story behind the behavior. This story can alter how you perceive the person and may realize they are an asset to the world and in some ways to you as well.
You may be wondering how you can tell the difference and what you can do to value someone’s confidence or work around a true narcissistic person. Compare confidence with narcissism below. When communicating with others keep in mind not to mistake someone’s confidence for narcissism.
Great listener: Quiet and assuming, they listen more than they speak. They ask open-ended questions, wanting to learn more allowing others to be thoughtful and introspective.
Not afraid to be wrong: They are concerned with finding out what is right more important than being right. When it appears, they are wrong, they are gracious in accepting their mistake.
Don’t need praise: When they have achieved something worthy of praise, they do not need a pat on the back. Their true validation comes from within, letting others shine while accepting the celebration of success.
Ask for help: Knowing their weakness, asking for help is a way for them to improve knowledge, gain new skills and improve life’s experiences. Asking others for help is paying the other person a compliment as respect for what they can offer.
They never make others feel bad about themselves: They encourage others to see the best in themselves and to reach their highest potential.
Honesty and being sincere is important: Knowing there is imperfection and character flaws, the backbone of their communication is being honest and sincere. It is not possible for them to lie, bully or twist and turn information for them to look good; not needed as they don’t want to impress anyone, only to bring out the best in themselves and others.
Here are some things a confident person may say:
“This works for me, you may want to try it too.”
“What has worked for you?”
“Go for it!”
“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
“Tell me more, this sounds interesting.”
“How may I help you?”
“Would you help me?”
If someone appears confident, you can acknowledge it by saying:
“Great job, I would like to know how you do that!”
“I appreciate what you know, please share with me your knowledge.”
“Thank you, this means a lot to me.”
“I am inspired, thank you.”
Low self-esteem: There is a level of insecurity that leads to superficially appearing assured and self-confident. Feelings of non-deserving, self-doubt, fears of seeming inferior.
Forget giving them constructive criticism: Anything considered as negatively evaluating who they are and their performance leaving them open to being vulnerable, will cause them to shift focus away from themselves.
Defense mode: They tend to be on the defense to protect their self-righteous attitude. When in conflict they must be right, (my way or the highway) creating very difficult situations for others in conversation with them.
Tend to be angry people, not necessarily comfortable to be around: Their deepest insecurities are triggered, creating a reactionary response. Anger and rage reflect painful emotions pent up from the past.
Self-image crisis: They have such a deep self-image weakness, they are unable to do inner work to feel good about themselves. Thus, they spend a great deal of time focusing on others flaws.
Here are some things a narcissistic person may say:
“I never said that!”
“You never listen.”
“My job is more important.”
“Just do it.”
How to communicate with a narcissist:
Never disagree with a narcissist. You can use the word, perhaps when you attempt to redirect their thinking.
Say “Thank you,” even though you may not feel he/she is appreciative.
Compliment them on something with the intention of wanting a good experience, not to stroke their ego.
Don’t try to gain approval, find an ally who supports you.
Discernment is key. Understand that confidence is a positive trait giving us the opportunity to get ahead in life in a way that is win-win for all involved. Don’t mistake my confidence for narcissism.