Self-confidence is a good thing to have...right?
Perhaps. After all, we both respect and look up to those who have a strong sense of who they are, because not many people do.
Recently, it has been brought to my attention that there is a significant difference between two types of self-confidence/assurance: self-esteem and self-ego.
Consider these two individuals: Bill and Josh.
Bill and Josh are both charismatic, easy-going, and secure about themselves. In social settings, they can hold conversation and make friends easily. Both have a multitude of life experiences that they regularly draw upon and can relate to others with, including traveling, relationships, work and school. For people discussing their first impression of Bill or Josh afterwards, they would always mention that both were really cool, chill guys who seemed sure of themselves. Description words used to describe the two guys would include charismatic, outstanding, memorable, and positive. While not necessarily always the center of attention in a group, Bill and Josh are able to hold their weight, contributing when they want to, uninhibited of social pressure.
Bill was raised in an upper-middle class family, and has never worried about food, housing, or paying the bills. He is on the executive board of a student organization and holds a spot on the Dean's List. He keeps healthy by exercising often and maintaining a balanced diet. His lifestyle is one of comfort, but not of excess. He travels regularly on holidays with his family, goes shopping whenever he feels like it, and always snags a daily Starbucks to help him stay awake in class. He works hard, having finished a co-op internship from a family friend overseas, and although his parents pay for his rooming and tuition, he pays for the rest of his expenses by himself.
Josh is exactly the same.
The only difference is how the two guys see themselves and the world.
Bill's self-confidence and level of comfort comes from what he has accomplished (Dean's List, travel, family ties) and what he has (money, car, exec role) in constant comparison of himself to others. He feels a sense of entitlement because he has worked hard to get where he is, and is unapologetic for his levels of success. He views himself as an outstanding individual, considering that this is what he has been told the past few years from others.
Josh, on the other hand, has a self-confidence that stems from himself, what he values and what his personality traits are. His self-worth is intrinsic as opposed to extrinsic; he does not feel better or worse about himself when looking at others. He views the world and humanity with an openness. He embraces change and is indifferent to social conditioning. He knows who he is and his actions do not change in different social environments/settings.
Are you more like Bill or Josh? Are you defining your identity in comparison with other people? I posit that it is far better to work towards having a sense of self-esteem that is stronger than a sense of your self-ego. Don't mistake me, I am not saying to not develop your self-ego, but instead to watch out for how prominent it becomes in your attitude towards society. A overinflated self-ego can cause arrogance, entitlement, and bitterness toward society.
Self-esteem: having a strong sense of identity, based on what you value, who you are, regardless of social conditioning and materialistic ownership.
Self-ego: having a strong sense of identity, based on who you are/what you have (status, power, money, cars, materialistic, friends)/what you've accomplished (winning, results/past performance).
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.