Walk into a crowded party scene and you could probably spot a few distinct personalities rather quickly. The egotistical guy center stage, grabbing at attention. The pessimist rolling their eyes at nearly everything. And the apprehensive type who, once you’ve caught their eye, immediately looks away. Let’s take a closer look at the defining characteristics of these personalities:
You’ll find this person on the wall, too afraid to step out because they’ve got a high view of others and a low view of themselves. Their insecurity leads to comparison, jealousy, and even hate. Moreover, they don't realize they’ve gotten trapped in a cycle of wanting the validation of others, getting it, and, consequently, needing more of it.
Off in the corner, with a low view of themselves and everyone else, the cynic scopes out the scene, shaking their head at every turn. They don’t relate well to the people in the room and don’t get why they were invited in the first place. And if it weren’t for the relief of a few sarcastic jokes they make, it'd be doubtful they'd have a good time.
Next, the guy or gal with the oversized ego in the middle of the room, with a high view of themselves and a low view of others. Their arrogance disguises weaknesses as strengths. And if you call them out on it, well good luck, they may not be able to hear you over the sound of their own voice. Their proud, look-at-me attitude is all talk to cover up what they haven’t actually accomplished.
Finally, there is the one with a high view of both themselves and others. They’re set apart largely because of their striking contrast to everyone else in the room. They speak encouraging words, understand the value of community, and back up ideas with action. In effect, they’re the cure to insecurity, the optimism to cynicism, and the answer to arrogance. Outside of the party petri dish, we may recognize each of those personality traits in ourselves depending on the context—be it an activity, a place, or role. Insecurity, cynicism, and arrogance are defense mechanisms that pop up when we’re not so sure about ourselves. But those defenses stop us from reaching our full potential. So, how do we get to the point where we’re walking into any scenario being confident? The Bible tells us to be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). While our perception can change from one moment to the next, if we recall Christ's promises for our lives, we can choose to act in confidence. Our confidence would not be placed in ourselves, in others, or in our collective abilities, but in the God who does not ever change. The key is that we shift from our perspective to God's perspective. If God says we are his own and we're to love one another, that's what we do.Confidence, from the Latin word, confīdere, means to have full trust. When all trust has been lost in ourselves and in others, we still have a hope. We can boldly approach God in prayer and in trust, submitting to him all our insecurity, doubt and pride. He will take down every defense and replace it with the confidence we need to fulfill our mission in life.