In the last post we talked about three characteristics of confident people. But can’t some of those qualities overlap with arrogance? Let’s talk about the responsibility of confidence.
With Great Confidence Comes Great Responsibility
As your confidence increases, so will the number of people who begin to value your opinions and your feedback. It is your responsibility to acknowledge the role you play in these people’s lives. Maybe you never wanted to be a role model. Maybe you never asked for anyone to seek your approval or advice. But, no matter who you think you are, there is always someone looking up to you.
The important decision you have to make is not whether you will you make an impact on other people’s lives. It’s how.
There Are Two Kinds of Confidence
The people who admire you have given you a kind of power over them, and with that comes the choice to put them down or raise them up.
How many times have you seen the stereotypical high school jock in a movie or TV show? He’s the star of the team and he knows it. He knows he’s not a beggar – he can have the friends he wants and the things he wants, anywhere, anytime. He’s idolized by half the school and he’ll win Prom King by a landslide.
But is he a nice guy? Often, if we’re sticking with the stereotype, he’s a bully. He can easily bring public shame on somebody he undervalues and stir a whole crowd into participating in emotional abuse. He makes it excruciatingly clear to his victim: “I’m cool, and you’re not. I’m adequate, and you’re not. I’m likeable, and you’re not. I’m accomplished, and you’re not.” The list of his high qualities goes on and on, but the final impact on the victim will always be the same: And you’re not.
Confidence gives you power over other people. People with a high degree of confidence but a low level of love, empathy, or compassion can use that power to crush another person.
How many times have you heard about someone who, even years after the fact, still carries scars on their identity from a time when someone who had power over them chose to break them down instead of build them up? Or maybe you are that someone, and you know exactly what I mean.
Confidence can be a dangerous weapon when misused. But it can be beautiful when used for its right purpose.
Its right purpose is including people. When you have high confidence, people stop and listen when you speak. They know you believe the things you say and that makes your voice ring out clearer and stronger over the ocean of uncertainty around you. You have great influence over those around you, and you can use it to empower other people.
What if the high school jock wasn’t arrogant or cruel? What if he were humble and considerate? What if, instead of bullying others, he stood up for them? What if his message went like this instead: “I wasn’t good at sports before, but I trained hard and it paid off. If you want to make the team, I can teach you what I know.” Or this: “You have a great personality. Let me introduce you to my friends; I bet they’d like you, too!”
What if his message wasn’t And you’re not but And you can, too?
Proverbs 18:21a says:
The tongue can bring death or life…
And Proverbs 12:6 says:
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the speech of the upright rescues them.
What are you doing with your confidence?