Imagine a scenario where you go somewhere, whether it be to work or a special night out, and you wear your favorite outfit. Your hair is doing what it should, so you are feeling pretty good on the outside. Your friends or workmates notice you, your confidence, and even compliment you on how you look. You smile broadly and say thank you!
After a few minutes, you suddenly begin to doubt your outward response. Did you appear too cocky when they complimented you? Did your response come off as egotistical? Were you just showing confidence or a big ego?
People tend to become cautious when carrying themselves with confidence, concerned their confidence may be misconstrued as egotistical. Many people allow that belief to dictate their actions and behavior.
However, believing in yourself and being egotistical are two different things. While they share some similarities, people can instinctively tell the difference between a big ego and confidence.
Difference Between Ego and Confidence
It is easy to mistake believing in one's self as being egotistical. Both involve having a forthright attitude and not being afraid to be heard. However, egotism is grounded in insecurity, whereas believing in yourself comes from having a healthy dose of self-esteem.
A person with an excessively high sense of self is egotistical and often has an undue sense of importance that they want to impress upon others. An egotistical person's motivation is to constantly prove that they are better than everyone else, regardless of the truth. Their grandiose beliefs about themselves cause them to act superior to others. Narcissists are also known to have over-inflated egos.
While it's easy to label egotistical people as simply being confident, their attitude actually stems from their deeply-rooted insecurities. These people crave attention and accolades and continually seek validation from others.
On the other hand, believing in yourself or having self-confidence comes from believing in your own abilities. Having confidence is all about having faith in your own strengths and acknowledging your weaknesses.
Being self-confident is not the same as being egotistical because when we are confident, we don't feel the need to compare ourselves to others or put others down. How we see ourselves is enough validation for us to feel good about ourselves.
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Avoiding Being Egotistical
While being confident in ourselves is a good thing, it's easy to overstep the boundaries and cross into being egotistical. When that happens, we may miss the opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with others.
So how do we avoid crossing that thin line that separates confidence from inflated ego?
The key is to accept that we are not perfect. If we believe we are ‘all that’ we fail to see opportunities for self-improvement. We become complacent about our own personal growth, and if someone with more knowledge or better skills comes along, bitterness and insecurities can arise.
You can avoid falling into the egotistical trap by acknowledging any limitations. Instead of looking at them as flaws, look to see how you can improve and build on your strengths.
Learn to be open to feedback from others. Confident people are not afraid of receiving criticism, especially if it is constructive criticism. They will use this feedback for further improvement. They are not affected by negative feedback, even from people who do not know them well.
As you can see confidence and ego are not the same. Being egotistical can lead a person to become selfish, arrogant, and inconsiderate of others. Being confident is being comfortable in your own skin. You have positive self-worth. It is about knowing what you are capable of while also acknowledging the fact that you are not perfect in everything.
Being confident in your skills, appearance, etc., allows you to feel positive about your place in the world and to grow as a person. Seek ways to learn and connect with others and be at peace with who you are.