Confidence vs. Cockiness

Old 02-21-2018, 09:03 AM
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Confidence vs. Cockiness

Good afternoon, folks. Hope all is well with in sobriety.

As we all know, one positive trait of finding sobriety is the anxiousness turns into confidence. For the most part, this is a good thing. We all well remember the crushing anxiety that held us hostage for so many years as an addict.

But when does that confidence become cockiness? Is assertiveness part of this equation? I would define cockiness as being a "know-it-all." Whereas being assertive is having confidence in your decisions and actions.

I don't have the answers here. I know there are many others who are seeing their way through sobriety just as I am!! Please discuss.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:26 AM
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Great topic and one that I've pondered on more than one occasion.

Much of my recovery has been spent reflecting on aspects of my persona that were contributory to my venture into the realm of alcoholism and lack of confidence was absolutely in the top three. In the midst of my current relationship situation I've also had to take a hard look at the prospect of my being single again and how I come across to the opposite sex. The aforementioned lack of confidence/self esteem also comes to the forefront as I consider how my sober character is in a state of constant flux (still early recovery here--6 months).

Not going to interject a Webster's explanation but suffice it to say that confidence to me is an amalgam of assurance and composure. The delineation between that and cockiness seems to be a very faint one indeed. I tend to think that arrogance, pride and insecurity can give rise of a faux confidence that comes across as cockiness. Someone who is assured of their own abilities and self worth will not need to assert themselves in a demeaning, self-righteous and contentious manner. Trying to be overtly dominant, for example is not indicative of confidence but one's need for other's validation and admiration that manifests accordingly.

Hope this helps,

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Old 02-21-2018, 10:41 AM
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I would say honesty is the difference. Being honest with yourself especially in your motivations for your actions.

I also think semantic arguments of this nature can at times be counterproductive too - aka "don't over think it". :-)
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:36 AM
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I'm working on this exact thing with my therapist and incorporating it into a fourth step kinda thing. Know-it-all ness. Something of which I've been guilty without alcohol or drugs, but is made worse by using.

I've been sober for 9 1/2 months, and am working on this as a "character defect." Listening better, offer experience not "facts," ask questions, don't assume a silence implies judgement, speak with people don't talk at them. It's tough work and takes some pretty brutal self-honesty, but is quite worth it so far. I like myself confident. I don't like myself cocky. Most other people would probably agree.

To me self-confidence is based on a true feeling of competence and cockiness is based on insecurity and "faking it."

To me the difference is becoming quite obvious.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:37 AM
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i've asked myself the same thing a number of times.

I think its good to be confident and remain humble.

That being said. I've found one person might think i'm confident. Another might think i'm an arrogant know it all. I might feel that i have 0 confidence what so ever.

So how much of it is just someone elses perception of us or our perception ourselves and possibly we or they are wrong or measureing us with a different ruler then what we used.

But I guess if more often then not I found others thinking i was really an arrogant know it all I might want to do some serious soul searching just in case I am.

And maybe I'm an arrogant know it all and I dont care and have no problem with it. Sometimes In life I've found I've had to be sorta like this to get a point accross. I might have felt confident but its very likely the other person might not have liked what I had to say and felt I was an arrogant know it all. people dont always liek to hear criticism for example.

Seems like theres lots of ways to view it really.

maybe we are all of this.
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:04 PM
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At various points in my life, I portrayed confidence without competence. Sobriety had a humbling effect and I know listen more than I speak. I find this works well. When I am drawn to open my mouth, I try to think of how it may be helpful to others without arrogance. It is a life long learned in my case and not innate.

Now if you want to talk baseball..........
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:39 PM
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I don't think I have a lot of either characteristic when it comes to alcohol.

But I know where the answers are and I have confidence in their success rate with me (100%).
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:11 PM
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Lots of well thought out comments so far.
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:17 AM
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The old me was quite the know it all. I was the smartest person in the room. Just ask me.

Today I find that admitting I don't know it all is quite empowering. In the old days someone might discuss a topic or event that I knew absolutely nothing about and I would listen to them nodding knowingly as they spoke having no idea what they were talking about. Today I'm comfortable saying that I don't know what they are talking about and 9 times out of 10 they fill me in and I actually learn something.

An old timer at an AA meeting really helped me with this when he said that for him it was amazing but he learned that he had to surrender to win. I try to carry his words with me every day. I can assure you that I don't always succeed but I think I'm moving in the right direction.
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:49 AM
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confidence-the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.

cocky-: boldly or brashly self-confident.
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:15 AM
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I first joined SR in 2015. I was told by my doctor and the psychologist at the time, I didn't show the classic symptoms of an alcoholic.
I stopped drinking for 52 days but apathy was still strong. As suddenly as I stopped, I was back where I was.
Arrogance + Over Confidence = Cockiness = Failure
In my case anyway.
I'm not so cocky now but ...
Is my humbleness, self pity for an excuse to drink? I think so.
I reach for a drink because I'm an alcoholic and I can't help myself, so I may as well drink.
WOW, what a circle of life of a pathetic excuse.
It's a working progress but listening to the struggles and successes of people here gives me hope.
I am confident, I'll beat this, I just need some help.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:40 AM
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Confidence can soar to dangerous levels in early sobriety. That "pink cloud" feeling can really get to you: You're free, you're losing weight, you're 'healthy', and now you're going to build a rocket ship and start a moon colony and become president of the new interstellar race of man, etc, etc. You have to find a happy medium and keep putting one foot in front of the other. It's a marathon, not a sprint....that can be hard to remember when you're feeling your oats.

The poster above mentioned humbleness. Even though I am almost 6 years sober, it's important to remember that I am not invincible. I went to a wedding a couple weeks ago, and the day before I made sure to vocalize my 'escape plan' if I needed it. I am not above a relapse, I am not above other alcoholics just because I've got time under my belt.

Cockiness means you cut those corners.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:26 AM
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I think its a good thing to consider, especially because otherwise sometimes we aren't listening well to others.

I struggle with this because at work, I am the "answer woman" and at home with my kids, I am also the "answer woman," so there are very few situations in my daily life in which I am not being asked for advice. My parents come to think of it also ask me for advice a couple times a week.

The only one who doesn't ask my advice? The husband...because he is the "answer guy" for everyone at work and when he is home in the evenings, wants to be the one putting out fires for everyone! So we let him, even if we don't always need him to
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