Finding Balance Between Confidence and Ego and How Our Attitudes Create Our Realities
Growing up, people just seemed to be drawn to me. The girl I liked, the cool kid I wanted to be friends with and everyone in between. I was naturally happy, quick with a joke and just an overall people person. Things just seemed to work out for me. Before I was even a teen, this became the base foundation of how I felt about and viewed myself. It supplied me with a brash sense of self confidence. I was never socially anxious and enjoyed being the center of attention. I liked to make others laugh or being the one that would say the thing others were afraid to.
Confidence is a wonderful thing. One vital to finding success in any endeavor be it large or small. There is a darker side to confidence if one is not careful though and it’s called ego. There is a very fine line between confidence and ego, one that too often goes unseen as it’s crossed. I never saw the line. I became blatantly arrogant at times. I felt the world owed me something.
I allowed the once healthy dose of confidence I had in myself to become an unhealthy ego I carried around with me. The universe has a way of rewarding confidence and destroying egos. They say God don’t like ugly and few things leave an uglier stain than ego. I’ve used the analogy before but confidence and hard work is what allowed Allen Iverson to become a great basketball player, ego is what made him think he could still be great even if he didn’t show up for practice and eventually ended his career in a downward spiral.
I too, have been guilty of letting my own ego make me believe I didn’t have to show up to practice so to speak, in order to continue being great. I took the philosophy of “things always work out for me” far too literally. Not seeing the reason they had often worked out for me is because I did the right thing, I treated people right. People were drawn to me because I was a good person. I allowed that to instill a sense of ego in me rather than a sense of gratitude. From there, it was all downhill. Slowly but surely, my egotistical behaviors and decisions took all in my life I was proud of. All my points of pride.
As my ego was rightfully crushed time after time for years after, eventually so was any sense of confidence I had in myself. I couldn’t even fake it anymore. I knew how wrong I was and maybe that was part of the problem. Even after my behavior had changed, I became accountable for all of my actions in the past and I wasn’t the same person anymore — I still hadn’t forgiven myself. I lost everything I had and I knew I was the cause of it all, nobody left to point fingers at.
This began to have a dramatically negative effect on how I saw not only myself but how I saw the world. Things just became harder and darker. Because I told myself that’s how they were. That I had gotten myself there and I didn’t know how to get out. The same cycle of failures, heartbreak and hardship on repeat in my head. For far too long after the fact. Well after I should have moved on and let it all be and leave sleeping dogs lie. The world, my world specifically — was fucked up because I woke up everyday and assured myself of it. I focused on it and internalized those failures and mistakes the same way I had once done the same with the success I had found. And in a epiphany I’m literally just having now as I write this, I let those negative experiences become just as toxic as I had once let the positive ones become. A lack of self confidence was becoming just as harmful to me as ego had once been.
What was truly lacking was balance. Balance is what allows us to not cross the line from confident to egotistical. To use our past mistakes as lessons learned for future experience rather than a memory that keeps us awake at night as we needlessly play it over and over in our heads.
Focus on the positives in your life and within yourself, enough to instill confidence in yourself but don’t overstate them. Be honest with yourself. This allows you to see things as they really are, never better or worse. Because I assure you, things have a way of turning out to be as good or bad as we tell ourselves they will. Our very powerful minds have a way of creating our realities. We become what we focus on. Confidence fuels us but ego blinds us.