Ever since I could walk, I’ve always wanted to be on stage and in the spotlight. I used to create puppet shows for my father’s grown-up dinner parties, and I was always the first person to sign up for the school talent show. I loved to entertain, and especially to make people laugh.
As I got older, I became even more outgoing. I could walk into a party and not know a single person, and always walk out with at least two new friends. Finding a job after college was like a game – I knew how to charm the pants off of anyone, and I enjoyed looking for a job more than actually working for someone!
Oh yes, self-confidence has always been my strong suit.
But it has also been my greatest enemy.
It has masked some of my deepest pain. It helped me unknowingly lie to others, giving them a false impression that I did not need love. Self-confidence pushed me into over-giving, and denied me of receiving.
Thus, I was a magnet to people with the least amount of self-confidence – the shy, the needy, the fixable, the broken, and the hurt. I was an emotional shelter for those who needed it most – yes, my self-confidence was like a “Welcome” sign at a soup kitchen – take as much as you can, and don’t worry, you don’t have to return it.
My lack of boundaries – my lack of self-love – allowed my self-confidence to get in the way of what I required for myself.
So you see, just because you may have self-confidence, doesn’t mean you have self-love. Both are important, but they aren’t the same fruit that grow on the same tree.
People always ask me, “Lindsey, why is it that I am so self-confident, yet I have the hardest time finding and keeping love?”
It’s because so often, self-confident people don’t know how to receive. We misinterpret that if one is self-confident, he or she doesn’t need anything. They lack the fine balance of being vulnerable, but also confident.
Look at some of our greatest performers – actors, rock stars, and comedians – we are in awe of their performances, but so many of them are deeply hurting. They resort to drugs, alcohol, or even suicide, as the late Robin Williams did a few years ago. Perhaps their celebrity status prevents them from reaching out for help – so don’t let that be you.
Self-confidence is a wonderful trait, but don’t let it get in the way of what you need. Asking for help, wanting things done for you, or allowing someone to care for you isn’t a breakdown of self-confidence – it’s being vulnerable, which is probably the most beautiful human trait we can have.
But don’t just be vulnerable – be vulnerable with boundaries. When you ask for help and you don’t get it, don’t just walk away – speak up!
Let’s say you are dating someone new – and things are going great – but you get a bad cold and are home sick – your new guy asks you, “Is there anything I can do? Perhaps I can bring you some soup or make you dinner?”
You worry that your outgoing, bad ass, self-image will be compromised because he will see you sick, but you agree and let him make you dinner. Score! You did it!
But then he calls you an hour before he is supposed to come over, and says he has to work late, so he’ll need to take a rain check.
You’re disappointed, but you say nothing, for fear of crushing your self-confidence. And he thinks you’re fine, after all, you’re always a super star.
Do you see how your self-confidence can override your boundaries and self-love? In this scenario, it’s okay to express your disappointment. It’s okay to decline a rain check. And it’s perfectly okay to dump the guy, especially if he continues to over promise and under deliver.
Self-confidence and self-love are apples and oranges – they grow on different trees, and should not be confused as the same. One can have too much self-confidence, but one can never have enough self-love.
Here’s a healthy guideline:
Use your self-confidence as your power, your strategy, your hunting tool, your fearlessness, and your gift and inspiration to others.
Use your self-love as your wall, your shield, your GPS, your radar, your protection, and above all, your best friend and your greatest companion.
Combine these together, and you really ARE the superstar everyone thinks you are.