The Balance Between Confident and Cocky


My girl Demi Lovato posed an excellent question in one of her most recent song releases: “What’s wrong with being confident?” And to answer it bluntly, and quite simply: absolutely nothing. There is not a single thing wrong with being confident. In fact, quite the opposite. Confidence exudes beauty and happiness, it is something that everyone is capable of attaining and a quality for which they should strive.

To put it simply, everyone deserves to be confident. Confidence does not come from perfection, but rather defines perfection. When one is confident they accept, love, and appreciate everything about them, flaws and all. Confident individuals redefine what it means for them to be happy in order to live a healthy life, whether it matches others’ definitions does not matter.

The only time this is a problem is when this confidence becomes cockiness. What is cockiness? In my opinion cockiness and confidence differ in that one who is cocky believes they are above everyone else, a gift to earth that everyone should praise and aspire to be like. Confidence, on the other hand, is inspiring. Confidence is loving and appreciating oneself and not comparing yourself to others because everyone is different and beautiful in one’s own way.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, these are the definitions of the two words:

Confidence (n):

  1. a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
  2. a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something
  3. the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true

Cockiness (n):

  1. boldly or brashly self-confident
  2. having or showing confidence in a way that’s annoying to other people

With these definitions in mind, it’s easy to reflect on your own experiences with confident individuals, the ones who bring excitement to a room and allow others to be their best selves while doing so, versus your experiences with cocky people, the ones who walk into a room demanding attention and not leaving until everyone knows how great they are.

The real reason why this is important is because in order to find the balance between confidence and cockiness, one must first recognize the difference. And the key to balancing your self-appreciation? Recognizing that others have things to be proud of too, uplifting them so they believe they’re great, and appreciating said greatness so they too can be confident.

If one can be excited for the success and happiness of another individual while also cheering yourself on and believing in all you have to offer without being threatened by others’ accomplishments, that is true, balanced confidence.

Everything is better when it’s balanced, especially this. Trust me.

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Taylor Mead

Taylor is a soon-to-be graduate of Fordham University where she studies Communication & Media Studies, with a focus in Journalism and a Spanish minor. Currently working as a Digital Editorial Intern at ELLE, she hopes to continue writing for a publication dedicated to women after graduation. When she's not writing or doing schoolwork, Taylor is most likely eating, napping, watching Food Network, or planning fun events for Spire Fordham's members with the rest of the Executive Board.

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