Everyone who knows me has experienced my inability to take a compliment. With a self-deprecating humor and desire to lay low, I’ve spent the greater majority of my life denying any praise I receive in favor of a joke. I’ve always wondered why I do this, so I chose to completely flip the script and try confidence for one week. Here’s what I learned.
What did this week of confidence entail? My routine didn’t change a ton, just a few minor changes. It probably won’t seem like much to some, but for me it was the subtle changes in both my mindset and the way I interacted with others that really made a difference. I tried to carry myself with more assurance, walking with my head held high. However, where I really made a difference was in my conversations with others. When my friends said they liked my outfit I thanked them without a second thought, agreeing instead of denying it. With girls this process went smoothly, but I soon saw a stark difference between my interactions with my female friends versus men.
I quickly learned there’s a fine line between what others perceive as confidence and arrogance. One of my most notable moments was when a guy I’ve known for years commented on my outfit with a simple ‘you look good.’ I had felt good before going out, so instead of uncomfortably laughing it off as I normally would, I thanked him and said I thought so too – a bold statement for me but still simple enough. However, he noticed immediately, responding with “oohhh okay,” followed by a mix between a laugh and a scoff. Immediately, I felt the heat rush to my face in embarrassment and began to wonder if it was too much. But was it?
The rest of the week went smoothly and I felt like the confidence I was portraying was really starting to sink in – I finally felt confident. But as I sit here now a week later, that one interaction is still stuck in my head. What is it about agreeing with someone else’s approval that is so off-putting? While I can see how my previous dedication to self-deprecation wasn’t only negatively effecting me but also my interactions with the people in my circle, it seems a certain degree of confidence makes people uncomfortable as well. But why can’t we express our confidence when new feel that way? Is it really so bad?
I don’t have the answers, but this is all I know – not one girl reacted negatively. Sometimes, it feels like we as women are in constant competition, and because of that, I expected more negativity from them instead of men. But instead, it was the guys who were put-off. While this could be for a variety of reasons, at the end of the day it’s uplifting to see how the perceptions of female competitiveness are broken. The more we accept and uplift each other, the better off all of us will be. And if our confidence makes a man insecure every now and then, that’s no reason to question yourself – that’s on them, not you.
Featured image via Cameron Smith