On Confidence

by Leandra Medine
July 22, 2014
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That little fire that burns from within

 

popeye1

They say you can’t fake cool and I agree, but there is an argument to be made that you can fake effortlessness, which can frequently find itself sailing harmonically in tandem with coolness. This, of course, presents an issue based on the aforementioned sailing, but can be resolved with the concept of confidence.

The establishment of confidence, which is one imbued with courage and tenacity, delivering both of these platitudes with another pretty solid one: great aplomb, maintains an important commonality with the anterior two terms, which is that you can and can’t fake it.

Why? Because confidence — arguably like coolness and effortlessness — is an illusion birthed by our ids, manufactured by our egos and presented by our superegos. And it won’t exist unless you really want it to.

If you can fake confidence for a long enough period of time without developing an overarching inclination toward pretension, the likelihood is high enough that eventually, that effort will be rewarded with some semblance of an authentic kind of credence. I don’t have scientific statistics to back this up but I like to think that I am a human proof of concept who has learned that the fire, which you are meant to locate and exploit, must burn from within.

Of course, third party variables can and will influence the growth process but confidence, like any other relationship, is like a shark in that if it stops moving — or burning — it dies. There are no upswings without bouts of imposed humility and when the establishment is questioned, there is an understanding that it only exists romantically. It’s a seed we’re all born with that either gets watered or doesn’t. When it does, it blossoms and when it blossoms, it needs to be maintained — otherwise it will wilt. And if it doesn’t get watered by the showers of our minds? Well, we focus harder. We locate that faucet and, yes, let it rain.

As with everything else, a short flow chart goes a long way so let’s tackle confidence the best way we can: using Charlotte’s dexterity as illustrator.

confidence-flow-chart-1

Unanimous conclusion: it is always a work in progress.

REPLIES
  • Heidi

    Well said, and…. posting.

  • Emily

    As a self described MR fan, I do not want to come off as being overly critical, but Joan Didion you are not. I enjoyed this blog much more when it featured more outfit posts and essays directly related to fashion.

    • Leandra Medine

      How great would that be, though (to be Joan Didion)! Appreciate the criticism but would hope that while yes Man Repeller *is* a fashion blog (and there is still plenty of fashion content — likely more than ever before — to go around), we can comfortably talk about things non-related as well.

      • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

        isn’t there a quote out there saying confidence is the best accessory? so that kind of makes it about fashion. and who doesn’t love a good flow chart?!

      • Emily

        I was drawn to MR by writing that transformed seemingly mundane topics like earrings, neckerchiefs, trends, etc. into something more interesting and thought provoking. To me, this sort of writing gives fashion the credit it deserves. I find a thought piece on confidence to be much less original. Obviously important to the social landscape, but I’ve read it before.

      • Cinamaron

        I think it is related to fashion tbh because confidence is super key in rocking your own style- if you aren’t confident about what you’re wearing you act uncomfortable and it shows. You slouch, pick at your clothes, etc. If you’re confident you carry yourself better and can pull off some crazy stuff :)

      • http://fashionparadoxes.blogspot.com/ Passant Adel

        How that’s not related to fashion? how the great clothes that wore by a confident model designed by a confident designer will be great if isn’t for that confident, if there’s no confident, you’ll not gonna even notice it, it’s the salt of the industry may i say :D, fake it or believe you have it, both needs the work like you said.

    • Camille

      Yeah… I think the idea expressed here is a lovely one, but the execution was a bit overwrought. Ironically enough, it seems as though the writer has indeed given into an “overarching inclination toward pretension” — and I think that some of the sentiment is unfortunately lost among these rather maladroit attempts at “style”.

      Style is great. But I would argue that emotion is more important (perhaps especially on this kind of platform) and I hate to see it buried.

      • MSCFBeeches

        Are you referring to writing style vs. emotional writing?

      • Lou

        As a huge fan of MR, I’m compelled to comment, because I think the reason this essay is off/doesn’t work has nothing to do with the topic. Of course confidence has a lot to do with fashion, and, yes, the idea expressed is a “lovely one.” Except…it’s so incredibly broad. Anyone could write this. There’s no specificity, no anecdote, no reason to have a connection to it really. And that’s unusual. Also, “On Confidence” is a HUGE issue with women and it would be wonderful to actually have a great essay with thought, humor, and soul to it–even, or, especially, on a normally well-written fashion blog.

    • MSCFBeeches

      Emily, contrary to the standom happening below, I understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from. I have friends who preferred earlier topics and the way they used to be written. I feel the same. And yes, villagers, CONFIDENCE IS RELATED TO FASHION, but in a more…theoretical, metaphysical, blahblahblah-bical kind of way. Not directly. Emily did say DIRECTLY.

      mysocalledfashion.com

    • Claudia

      I disagree with your sentiment. I think it’s very inspiring (and cool) for a woman who has developed an amazing voice and strong following to encourage readers to challenge themselves more mentally. I’m excited (and have been hoping) to see more content that fosters self exploration and/or challenges readers to engage in intellectual pursuits. To me, cooler than a woman who can accessorize an on-trend outfit is a woman who is an equally fabulous intellectual.

      Further, I think it can be argued that intellectual depth serves as an antecedent for “cool” style. Just by looking at the pensive gazes of Daria Werbowy, Erin Wasson or Alexander Wang, among countless others, you can see that there’s a lot lying beneath the surface. To me, they exude a very strong, palpable sense of self rendering their style authentic. That said, discussions of confidence, intellect and personal growth seem necessary for a style blog.

      • Emily

        Just because this piece is about internal exploration and confidence doens’t mean it brings to the table any groundbreaking or original ideas. The strength of this blog is its originality and I don’t think it should sacrifice this in the name of attempting to talk about “deeper” or more serious topics. No one is arguing that an ability to accessorize is more impressive than intellect, but what makes this blogs great is that it gives dignity to a topic that is all too often condemned as frivolous or unimportant.

        • Claudia

          I’m not here to assess the piece’s originality, with time that can be fine-tuned. I think the piece was great and I’m excited for a direction that has a marginally less superficial focus. That, above all else, will give dignity to a topic that is constantly written off is frivolous.

          • Leandra Medine

            I really, really appreciate all this constructive and respectful criticism. Thank you for keeping hostility out of this environment. All your comments are being read/taken very seriously.

      • Sarah

        I’d rather read an intelligent, well-written essay about turtlenecks than a cliche essay about confidence.

        • Claudia

          While I agree that well-written essays about turtlenecks are a fun read, I find it interesting that some people would prefer a writer to glorify a scarf than to open a discussion about the interconnection between style and the psychic apparatus.

          • Sarah

            Any well thought out and well written article about any topic can be interesting and thought provoking (even about a scarf). However, this incredibly unoriginal (and out of character) article about confidence provoked no meaningful thought or discussion in my head. Just because it approached the subject does not make it worthwhile.

  • GapToothedGirl

    Well..I’m a work in progress girl…finally I’m awared! Love you!!

    XOX, Gap.

    http://www.gaptoothedgirl.com

  • Emilia Petrarca

    A relevant Instagram from Beyonce this morning

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      Ahh yes! I was Rosie the Riveter for Halloween in 6th grade. Still my favorite costume.

    • http://dfcghbnkmm.com AnnCates

      Yes! Beyonce knows how it’s done!

    • Charlotte convenable

      I’m a MR reader, and the more time goes by, the more this blog gets interesting . It’s full of people talking about serious fashion out there, if you want you can join them. In my opinion, different topics make it special. It’s all about the funny way you talk about things and not the arguments that make it “man-repellic”. I love it. Every day, reading this blog makes my morning better. Thanks ( and sorry for the mistakes)

  • Sophie

    You da coolest, Leandra

    http://sophieingray.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.dominiquecandido.com Dominique
  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    And I think confidence can also be confused with don’t-give-a-fuck. I’d argue I’m rather confident, but I’d also argue that I really couldn’t give a damn about people’s perceptions, either. You have to in a professional setting, no doubt, but on a day-to-day basis if the little fake-face-fake-chest-fake-life mom is glaring you and your mother down in the grocery store for looking more, for lack of better word, liberal, then who gives a hoot, ya know?

  • lavieenliz

    was just having this conversation with my boyfriend last night

    http://hashtagliz.com

  • http://dfcghbnkmm.com AnnCates

    I love this post! It really proves how important confidence is.
    Much Love, AnnCates xxxx
    anncates.blogspot.com

  • Emily

    So. Fucking. On. Point. Love it!!

  • http://sweettrendsandsequins.blogspot.com/ SweetTrends&Sequins

    Confidence is such an important aspect to any outfit! You can pull off anything with confidence!
    ~M
    http://sweettrendsandsequins.blogspot.com/

  • Cara

    Confidence is everything! Great post!
    xx Cara
    http://www.mylifeandmywardrobe.com

  • Janet O

    This is beautiful.

  • Rach

    you’re awesome

  • donn

    great post , this post inspiring me today

    tas wanita import

  • Jen

    I think this post is more than appropriate for this blog. I think it is well written and thought provoking and I appreciate Leandra’s perspective. Do I wish it came with a picture of Leandra wearing an outrageous, but workable and totally inspiring outfit? YES!!! But we can’t have everything. Some are saying it’s cliche, but I don’t see it. Depending on the day may depend on how much perspective you gain from it. Maybe you’re having a super confident day yourself? Good for you!

    On a side note, I also love the phrase, “Fake it til you make it.” Me and my friends say it all the time. It’s a good reminder not to take yourself too seriously. It doesn’t mean you’re lying. It’s just good practice.

  • johny

    confidence make you look smart
    jam tangan pria

  • http://www.thecrushworthy.com/ The Crushworthy

    I’ve definitely gotten more confident as I got older. My teens…forget about it. 20’s improved, and by 30 I was really comfortable in my own skin. I think part of being confident is knowing who you are and not worrying about what others perception of you is. And a killer pair of shoes never hurts either ;)
    http://www.thecrushworthy.com

  • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

    by forgoing grammar. :D
    I am now on this site pretty much everyday this post just shows why.

  • http://www.twitter.com/likeyourlifenow Jason Tilley

    Great flowchart, very colourful and vibrant. Clearly Charlotte has a creative flair! It visually shows what you are describing, which is that we are the ones who define our confidence, not people or circumstances and ultimately everything leads to the same result. Good work!