The Confidence to be Wrong

Last night, I talked a little about self-esteem issues. (You should probably just go read the post from yesterday.)

But since we all like to be lazy, I will provide a brief summary of what I said. Pretty much from the dawn of time we have been told that we need to love our (then caveman) selves. We need to walk into a room and shine. We need to puff our chest out, swing our hips, and smile our flashiest smile. We need to act like we are the best thing since snuggies and snapchat combined.

We falter sometimes. We have bad weather days. But often, when we put on our favorite shirt or shoes, when we apply a bright color of lipstick, when we get our hair just right, it’s not hard to convince the world that we’re the cat’s pajamas.

You see, instilling confidence in ourselves isn’t that hard when we are told that we need to believe that we’re special and kind. That we are fun to be around and that we matter. Doesn’t everyone want to think that about themselves? Doesn’t everyone hope that’s true?

Even though it can be a struggle, we all want to believe that we are the heroes of our own story, not the villain. We’re all fighting to believe that we are right in our lifestyle, interests, and beliefs.

But we’re so busy trying to keep ourselves afloat that we’re not sure how to cope when we sink a little. It’s the opposite of self-esteem: knowing how to be confident when we’re wrong.

When we’ve been fighting tooth and nail to assert ourselves, and then the rug gets tugged out from under us, it’s a sickening feeling. Oh, I made a mistake, you might say. You shrink to about an inch tall. And you’re vulnerable and pale and sweating. You pray that your deodorant is working. You start to think about all of the other things that you could have been wrong about in your life. Your career choice. Your significant other. Your choice of toothpaste. Suddenly, your confidence is gone, and you doubt yourself wholeheartedly. Being right and believing in yourself is easy. Being wrong? Not so much.

The truth is, confidence has been taught as a one-way street. Along with being taught to take pride in ourselves (in all the good) we need to be taught to take pride in our falls (in all the things we would prefer not to applaud.)

Come, say it with me, everyone makes mistakes. From Johnny Depp to Santa Claus, everyone has flaws. And the faster you can stand up and say that you accept yourself for who you are, every freckle and wrinkle in between, the more complete your confidence can be. The more you won’t crack under the pressure of scrutiny. The more you can be yourself.

So, with the same chest puffing and smiling you give when you stand up to say I’m right, do the same when you are wrong. There is really no difference between them; only that you learn a more valuable lesson from one of them. Neither can change who you are.

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