– or – How Being Broken Up With Made Me Realize Just How Awesome I Am
I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between confidence and arrogance. As someone who was recently broken up with, I go back and forth between “Oh, he doesn’t know what he’s missing” to “Who am I to think that – there are way better people out there.” Then, I suppose it comes into a question of love, desires, and finding what is the best for us. That is a completely different level of complicated to think about, so I am sticking to one question in particular that I wonder about a lot: How can I be confident without being arrogant?
I worry about this because I hate arrogance. When someone is cocky, I feel as if it my personal duty to bring them down to earth by showing them why, in fact, they are not that special. Yes, I recognize the irony there because that thought process is, in itself, arrogant. Yet, here I am, single and a little crushed because the only boy who has ever broken up with me did because “he doesn’t want to do long distance.” Despite me telling my inner thoughts to shut up, I shift between wondering why I was not good enough to thinking that he just missed his chance on someone great. Self-pity/self-blaming is bad, wishful thinking is bad, and being arrogant is bad. Are all my thoughts really wrong?
And after a few days of crying, declaring my pissed-ness, and then having a normal conversation, this is what I decided: I am freaking awesome. I graduated with a high GPA, am going to move from West Virginia to New York City to go to law school, and I am very determined and adamant that I will succeed there. I am not the most beautiful person alive, Lord knows I do not work out and I drink way too many slurpees, but I’m not ugly. Better yet, I have good taste in clothing, which most men do not appreciate, but I can accessorize like a pro when going out. The funny thing is, when I think about it, many people can say they have a GPA and are going to graduate school, moving, or doing something else. No one is ugly because everyone has beauty, and many people dress well. Those facts make me pretty damn average.
So what makes me, like I said earlier, “awesome?” I have a passion for the earth, play the (aka simply own a) ukulele, and currently drive a bus for a senior citizens home. I eat lemons as a bedtime snack and when I am home for the summer, I generally hang out at home (sorry – my parents’ home) cleaning, watching Netflix, and playing logic puzzles on my iPad. I cannot cook; I like the outdoors but have a phobia of bees, and am so pale that I burn within ten minutes of being outside. Oh, and my hair is naturally strawberry blonde, but my red hair is fake – not even classy fake, but an 8 dollar box of hair dye from Walmart fake. And the coolest thing yet: I recently upgraded from watching movies while I sew to watching Ted Talks.
But these are the things that make me unique. Sure, someone else out there probably loves lemons, owns a ukulele, hates bees (they are from Satan himself), or watched Ted Talks, but chances are, no one has all these silly combinations that make me happy, dorky, sometimes lame, and overall…awesome. I sometimes cry during Ted Talks, I can be vicious if I feel that you treated me badly, and yes, I have teared up over the reality of global climate change. (Sidenote: it’s totally real and we cannot ignore it.)I cannot hold grudges well and it is my goal for people to think I am a truly nice person – it is my goal to be a truly nice person. That does not always work sometimes, unfortunately. I do not get mad much, I’m logical, and when I care about someone, I care with my whole heart and will defend them until the end. That’s me.
When I was on the phone with the afore-mentioned recent ex he said, “I want to be with you. You’re a catch.” At the time, I scoffed and though Well, clearly not enough of one. I even, later, thought of a super cool sassy line like “Well yeah I am, but this catch can only be caught once.” (Insert finger wave here) Frankly, however, I don’t know if that is true. I am not the kind of girl who will just sit and wait for someone, but I am also open to the path that life will take me on, which may be back to somewhere I have been before. He is right though: I am a catch. No, not because I am better than other people, that’s arrogance, but because I have something valuable to offer to others. Yeah, it may be a whole lot of love, (along with Ted knowledge, a crappily played ukulele song, and recycling statistics), but it is my love, and that is unique.
And you know what? It’s okay to acknowledge these things in ourselves. I think we can stop being so afraid of coming off arrogant or rude that we can’t take pride in what we are, even if what we are is dorky or uncool. I sure hope so, because if I have to hide all the strange things about me that aren’t super exciting, all that is left is just another college graduate with a tentative plan. Instead, I am in this group, but I have things that set me apart from, but not above, other individuals in the group. So, maybe that is it: arrogance is believing that you are superior to others in whatever way: talent, beauty, skills, existing. But confidence is realizing that you as an individual, regardless of whatever you are or whoever you are, is worthwhile, valuable, and has something to offer the world that is exactly what someone or something needs.
So, maybe I will soon find the person who needs what I have to offer. Maybe it will take awhile. Maybe I have met them before. But I am guessing that eventually my love of logic games, inability to pass up a clearance rack, and general dorkiness (and hopefully other things about me!) will intrigue someone so much that they will not want to let me go. I know this, though: in a relationship or not, I do not need another person to remind me of my worth. That’s confidence.