“As a confidence coach, what would you say to yourself right now if this version of you were your client?”
My therapist asked a great question a few weeks ago when I was riding the wave right out of confidence into arrogance.
Two days later, I was getting pulled under.
That’s when you know it’s false confidence, by the way. When your confidence is built on the things of God (and not on yourself), you don’t ride a rollercoaster of ups and downs on a daily basis.
Confidence is being built on a solid foundation and the winds of life not blowing you every which way on a moment-by-moment basis. Confidence is built on humility in understanding how big God is and how small we are.
At the optimum of confidence, we are capable of so much more grace. Confidence suffocates offendable mentality, envy, fear and shame. Truthfully, we can’t be full of grace and full of pride at the same time.
One of the things I have learned is that arrogance doesn’t make me stronger. It makes me vulnerable. The minute I step over the line into arrogance is the moment I tell the world to come at me because my outward expression is actually reflecting an inward reality of insecurity, fear and anxiety.
Confidence acts as a smart soldier in battle. It protects our hearts and minds from attacks and finds strength in numbers. Rogue soldiers rarely make it out alive. Why? Because they think they are invincible and immune to the dangers in their midst.
Rogue soldiers aren’t confident, by the way. Contrary to what Hollywood wants you to believe, that’s almost always pure arrogance. Battles are not meant to be fought and won alone. Life is not meant to be lived and fulfilled alone.
Confidence is smart. Arrogance is just stupid.
So how do we do it? How do we keep confidence and get rid of arrogance? I’m so glad you asked. Here’s some of the strategies I have to reduce the temptation to step into arrogance.
- Give it to God. Before I open my eyes every morning, I do three things. I thank God for making it through the night, I pray I can still see when I open my eyes and I ask God to take over all the decision-making for the day. I ask him to give me wisdom and guidance to make decisions pleasing to Him and to reflect His light and love to the people I come into contact with.
- Ask for feedback. Team Felicia knows I tend to slip into an arrogant state of mind something and they will gently or not-so-gently remind me to snap out of it. But it wasn’t always that way. For many years (and sometimes, now), I would ask people I respected for help. I would just straight ask them if they thought I was being an insensitive jerk or if I was about to do something stupid. Accountability isn’t easy for any of us but I’d much rather someone I really respect tell me the truth than to keep looking and acting like a fool. Remember – confidence breeds in numbers.
- Live with gratitude. It’s really hard to be full of yourself and full of thanks at the same time. Actually, it’s impossible. Write out three things you’re thankful for every day, or just verbally share them with a spouse, friend or even (and especially) Jesus. Gratitude brings me to a place of humility so quickly.
- Self-evaluate often. I like to keep a running list of things I need to be better at and remind myself of those when I’m starting to feel pretty full of myself. This is not about self-condemnation. The goal is not to beat yourself up over those things. It’s just to remind you that you’re still in your process and you have never “Arrived.”
I bet there’s thousands more ideas. A few weeks ago when I was struggling with this, someone challenged me to talk to someone and ask them what I could do for them. Someone else told me to just laugh. Find something hilarious and just laugh until I got in a different state of mind. Pray, write, laugh, run…whatever it takes for you.
When our confidence is based on our identities as children of God, this arrogance thing gets easier. The more you know who you are are an heir to the throne, the less you need to be a hero in your head.