When you’re building your self-esteem, it’s normal to go through a transitional period.
During this time, you may swing from one extreme to the other – from insecure to overly pompous – trying to figure out what feels right and natural.
If you didn’t grow up with good models of confidence, it may take a while to discover what healthy self-esteem means and how someone with it thinks and acts. Consider it like re-embarking on that phase from ages 2 – 22 when most kids test out their boundaries with their caregivers.
But as an adult – how do you learn the difference between true confidence and bravado?
Here are some comparisons that helped me along the way:
Bravado will fight and defend against those who put themselves above you.
Confidence will gently turn away.
Bravado will be offended by insults and insinuations.
Confidence knows those reflect the other person, not you.
Bravado will make sure others know where they stand vis-a-vis you.
Confidence will ask others what’s new with them.
Bravado will puff itself up before walking in the room.
Confidence will remind you how good you are at walking.
Bravado will fear that someday you’ll be discovered as a fraud.
Confidence will be proud of what you’ve done.
Bravado will go out of it’s way to make your point.
Confidence will choose its battles wisely.
Bravado will worry about trusting others.
Confidence knows you’ll be okay.
No matter where you fall on the bravado-confidence spectrum right now, know that you can open to deeper levels of self-trust in any moment.
All it takes is a willingness to look inwards – not in judgment, but in forgiveness, acceptance, and love.
Be free. Be brave. Be YOU!