True Confidence Vs. False Bravado: How Fighting Insecurity Makes Us Insecure

Anonymous asked:

I realized that I wasn’t as confident as I ought to be and in that period, I sought help from these youtube male confidence-coaching/life coaching channels. They can teach good things like speaking your mind, not being so self-conscious … but then there’s the drive to when it comes to attracting a woman – being an alpha (not a beta) male; walking with confidence, and just a number of other things that just make me so anxious and uncomfortable … What would a Christian notion of true male confidence even be? How does the ‘alpha-male’ notion stand up? Thanks again for your dedication for allowing God to use you to bless others, brother.

Hey there dear friend, I appreciate your honesty since I know it probably wasn’t easy to ask.

I think the main problem with “coaching” about male confidence or any other particular standard is that it inevitably becomes a contest with no goal. It’s a completely arbitrary, random finish-line that we’ll never be happy with. Any kind of “level” we’re trying to reach is going to be another burden, whether it’s a Twelve Top Things To Be A Man type of list or Five Steps to a Better You. Even a three-point sermon eventually becomes a guilt-trip that leaves us feeling like we’ll never make it.

The Christian Gospel is never about adding burdens on, but taking burdens off. This means that “striving for the ideal” is ultimately a phantom concept that implodes from the inside. Whether it’s the Christian trying to stay pure or the athlete going for gold or a businessman making the next dollar: all these goals, while good and important, cannot be the sum of a whole person.

Trying to be confident will always defeat itself, because it never knows when to rest or be content. It’s a kind of legalism that operates out of the human problem: a self-justifying heart that must bolster the ego or be motivated by fear. Both will kill us. Even the most “macho” looking dude is either operating out of prideful vanity or fearful self-shaming.

I think these coaches can say good things and it can be good to pick up tips from them, but really they’re only covering symptoms of a larger problem. It’s like pruning a tree but never watering the roots. The way the world works is to reach higher, better, faster, sharper, and more. But as you’ve found, this is such a neurotic self-measuring anxiety that it collapses.

True confidence, perhaps ironically, means you don’t really care about having it. As C.S. Lewis says, to give a good first impression you must not try to make a good first impression, and then it will happen by itself. How does someone do that? How does someone inherently, naturally, instinctively have a security so strong that they don’t care what anyone thinks, yet loves them too?

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