Empowerment From Within: Why True Confidence Means Knowing Your Value

When you hear the word "confidence," you probably think of specific people.

These people capture the attention of an entire room just by walking through the door. They can grab a microphone and move a crowd.

You think of the captain of your high school football team, who used to walk through the halls with his chin up and chest out. Or maybe you're thinking of the executives in your office who never seem rattled by anything.

And I’d agree with you -- to a certain extent. Most confident people do share a lot of the same traits.

But I don’t believe confident people have to look a certain way or dress a certain way. I don’t think they need to approach a certain number of women at the bar, excel at public speaking or wear their egos on their sleeve.

I believe that truly confident people simply know their value.

I’ve always felt that confident people have nothing to prove. They’re so aware of their self-worth that they don't need outside validation.

I'm not saying they're egotistical; instead, they're the perfect mix of humble and self-assured. They don't think more of themselves than anybody else, but they do have faith in themselves and their talents.

In August of this year, Mindy Kaling published an excerpt of her book, "Why Not Me?," in Glamour. The piece was her unfinished answer to a question she received from a young Indian girl. The girl wanted to know where Kaling "got her confidence."

Confidence, Kaling says in the essay, is earned. "People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work," Kaling writes. "That's a mistake."

I would add that confident people don’t feel the need to judge others or bring down someone else in order to give themselves a little boost. They’re comfortable in their own skin.

And while that might not always demand extra attention, it will always demand respect.

Sure, the guy who makes the toast at the dinner party may seem like the most confident one there, but looks reveal only so much. Much of what people think is “confidence” is really only feigned self-assurance that stems from some insecurity.

Confident people never feel the need to try too hard, and those around them will notice that and admire it. Rarely will truly confident people feel the need to impose their importance on anyone else. And that’s because they’re usually figuring out ways to empower themselves.

True confidence requires understanding your own self-worth. It means never settling for someone or something that doesn’t understand it, too.

Settling usually comes from a place of uncertainty. When you settle, you’re waiting for something better to come along. You aren’t sure if what you have now is good enough.

But people who are confident will never find themselves in a potentially toxic situation, because they’ll never let it get that far. They understand that they’re capable of getting what they deserve -- whether that’s a job or a significant other -- and they won’t settle for anything less.

If they aren’t receiving the respect they want in the workplace, they'll take action. If the people they’re dating aren’t treating them properly, they won’t stick around out of fear of being alone. They’ll go out and find someone who’s worthy of their own love and affection.

Realistically, confidence is simply about understanding who you are as a person and being secure with it.

You don't need a certain level of success to be truly confident. You don't really need to be anything in order to exude confidence. In fact, I believe that true confidence means feeling the least amount of pressure to be anybody other than yourself.

With true confidence, there’s no need for validation, and there’s nothing that anyone can tell you about yourself that you don’t already know. Confident people will be in touch with all aspects of themselves -- the good and the bad. They won't feel the need to change their personality depending on who's around them.

At the same time, they’re realistic about who they are. And if there are some aspects about themselves that need adjustment, they will freely admit this and make steps toward improvement.

At the end of the day, the most confident man in the room doesn’t have to be the one with the nicest suit or the best social skills. Granted, a lot of confident people may be good public speakers and carry themselves in a way that’s conducive to success. But these aren’t prerequisites for confidence; they’re usually the result of them.

If you want to see who’s truly confident, find the man most in tune with himself -- with the good, bad and the ugly.