Is it possible to have self-confidence without being pretentious?
I owe a lot to my educators, first to my parents, then to my teachers, and to society as a whole. At the same time, I must say that they also told me quite a bit of nonsense about issues such as modesty and self-confidence. And if I forgive them for that, it's because I know that they said such nonsense to me, only because in their childhood and throughout their lives they heard such nonsense from their own educators.
I'll give you some examples of such nonsense and I'd like you to tell me if it reminds you of anything from your own life: 😊
- First of all: "Be like your father and your mother when they were children!" Your father was the top student in his class and later earned two doctorates. While your mother was a gifted piano student, and later graduated from the “Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris” and received two prestigious awards.
- So, in my candor, I tried to imitate them. The truth is that I was not able to achieve neither my father's performance nor my mother's, but in the meantime I tried to be and to say of myself that I was the best student in my class.
- So, (of course!) I was told "that I was pretentious" "that I shouldn't put myself forward". “and that I had to be modest!”
- So, what do you think I concluded? I closed in on myself, I lost all self-confidence.
- So, what did my educators tell me? You are one of three things (or all three together!):
• "You're shy !“
• “You have no self-confidence!”
• “You are being falsely modest”
So, I thought: if I try to have confidence in myself and see myself positively, I will be called again pretentious!!!
So, what is true and what is not true in all this and what is anyway?
What is true is that you should not compare yourself to others. We have to compare ourselves to… ourselves!!! Wait, let's be clear! I did not say that we should not be inspired by positive examples from others. We must certainly learn from them and make the most of them for ourselves.
Moreover, "learning from them" does not mean imitating them without knowing how to distinguish the good and the bad that exist in them, as in any human being. On this subject, a French philosopher said a sentence that may be coarse but very true: it is not admiring a great man to burp and fart like him.
As I said, we need to look at others critically, benevolently or malevolently depending on the situation. But when it comes to judging, we must not conclude that others are inferior to us because that would make us pretentious. And if you think about it, every human being knows how to do things that we don't know. Nor should we conclude that people are superior to us because that would make us shy and lacking in self-confidence. And again, food for thought: "I don't know you, but I know that virtually every human being, no matter how great, has things they can't do that you can do."
Again, judge yourself only by yourself. Try with all your might to be better today than you were yesterday and better tomorrow than you were today! Do not be shy ! Love yourself in the positive sense of the word, which does not mean being self-centered (thinking only of yourself) but being aware of your worth.
You will also be able to tell others in this case that you are proud of the achievements you have made. Others will not see you as pretentious, but on the contrary as someone modest, strong-willed and self-confident.
And in case you're unhappy with your accomplishments, forgive yourself instead of gnawing at your heart. It will also teach you to appreciate or conversely at least be tolerant of others depending on the circumstances.
Finally, can I quote a message my sister-in-law sent me regarding her piano lessons:
- I started to teach myself the third movement of Beethoven's sonata "The Tempest" as part of the homework left to me by the teacher who was going to concerts in Italy. Return mid-August.
It's a tough exercise for me - I feel like I have to practice a lot until something starts to feel right: The first five lines I work bar after bar.
I never thought about it: playing music requires a haunting personality element - even for the most talented (which I don't belong to of course!).
I noticed that she was struggling with the same questions as me; she is the one who gave me the inspiration for this post; I thank her and wish her success in her studies, as I wish Hello to all of you, my dear readers:
Like yourself! Trust yourself! Cultivate the good in you and correct the evil! Learn from others but stay yourself!
Hope I helped you.