People are naturally drawn to those who possess a natural, confident charm, while we often are repulsed by those who are full of themselves and exhibit a big ego. We certainly like to project ourselves as being confident but we don’t want to be seen as overbearing or self-centered.
There is a fine line between being confident and being egotistical. Those who are overly self-confident may find that other people see them as having an inflated sense of self if they are not careful. While confidence and ego may seem alike in many aspects, there are ways we can differentiate one from another.
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Differences Between Ego and Confidence
Self-Assured Versus Self-Glorifying
A confident person is assured of themselves, including their skills, talents, and even their appearance. They know their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and they accept that those flaws are part of their identity.
Meanwhile, a person with an unhealthy ego seeks ways to glorify themselves. They are someone who hogs the spotlight. Having an unhealthy ego makes a person believe that they are better than everybody else. Furthermore, they don't own up to their weaknesses but tend to blame others for their faults.
Growth Versus Winning
If a person is self-confident, they seek opportunities for growth. They know the value of further improving themselves because they recognize that they are not perfect and that there is room for self-improvement. Therefore, they are confident enough to undertake the journey to improving themselves.
On the other hand, egocentric people seek ways to improve themselves not for the sake of growth but simply for the sake of winning. For them, winning is everything. It preserves their image and reputation. It also makes them look better than most people. Thus, people with unhealthy egos believe that everything is a competition and they must always emerge as the winners, no matter the cost.
Leader Versus Tyrant
Exuding confidence is natural to good leaders. Their self-assurance makes them effective in leading others. Their confidence is not just confined to their abilities, but they also believe that the people they lead are capable in their own ways. They harness the team's strengths and guide others as they navigate through their weaknesses.
An egocentric person is the complete opposite. This person thinks that as a leader, they are better than their subordinates. They don't believe that the team would be successful without their contributions, making them unwilling to listen to the team members’ suggestions.
People with unhealthy egos may feel threatened by someone who possesses better skills than they do and their desire to win affects their ability to lead.
Open-Minded Versus Closed-Minded
Being confident in one's opinions makes a person more open-minded to different ideas. Because a confident person knows their strengths and weaknesses, they also become more open to criticism and negative feedback. Confident people don't take offense to others' opinions and see criticism as ways to learn from others.
However, a person with an unhealthy ego listens only to their own voice. This person will insist that their opinions are the only valid opinions and will not consider, respect, or even hear others' ideas, especially if they are different from their own.
Listener Versus Debater
Because a confident person is not threatened by others, they are more open to listening to opinions different from theirs. Their self-confidence enables them to listen to criticisms without being too defensive, as they are assured of their sense of self. They do not need the approval of others to feel assured of themselves.
On the contrary, an egocentric person tends to become overly defensive and sometimes even combative toward others who might threaten their reputation. Their unhealthy egos prevent them from listening openly to other people. They believe that they are always right and that nobody should question them.
We all wish to be self-confident at all times. There is nothing wrong with believing in yourself. In fact, possessing self-confidence is essential for your self-esteem. But keep in mind that there is a difference between confidence and ego. Confidence is all about quiet self-assurance, while ego is loud and can be argumentative. Confidence can inspire others, but ego can isolate a person in their entitled sense of self.
Having confidence or becoming egocentric can spell the difference between success and self-destruction.