Sebastian Callow hears how confidence makes the man so often it’s become cliché. He’d like to suggest an alternative.
Confidence is universally recognized as one of the most attractive traits a man can possess. You’ll be very hard pressed to find any dating adverts by women looking for men lacking confidence. However, I would argue, based on my experience, that there is one quality that women value more than confidence.
That quality is courage.
Confidence can be defined as “A feeling of assurance, especially of self-assurance,” or, “The state or quality of being certain.” Meanwhile, courage can be defined as “The ability to do something that you know is right or good, even though it is dangerous, frightening, or very difficult.” So, it would seem that the difference between confidence and courage is in certainty; confidence contains certainty while courage does not. Courage often involves stepping into the unknown, into seemingly dangerous or frightening situations.
Why then, if courage is lacking in certainty, would it be a more attractive trait than confidence?
Because courage represents the willingness to take a risk whereas confidence does not. Confidence, as valuable as it is, still operates within the realm of safety. It operates within the realm of the known. This is part of its beauty because it allows a definite outcome, but it is also its limitation because it cannot operate outside the realm of the known. In order to step into the unknown it takes courage!
A man who operates only in the realms of safety and the known doesn’t have the willingness to take a risk. He only takes the calculated risks that he knows will succeed, which, ultimately, are no risks at all.
A man who is prepared to step beyond the realms of the known for what he believes to be right and good will take any risk, and consequently his capabilities are limitless. This is the man who has courage!
A courageous man has the capability to approach any woman, in any situation, should he feel compelled. He knows not what the result will be.
A courageous man has the willingness to express exactly how he feels without any veil of insincerity. He knows not what the result will be.
A courageous man has the openness to be fragile or vulnerable or weak, even when it is expected that he should be solid and protected and strong. He knows not whether this will mean he is perceived favorably or unfavorably.
Courage opens up the doors to infinitely more possibility than confidence. And ultimately, women do not want to be limited by a man who only operates within the finite arena of confidence.
Don’t believe me?
Go out and ask some female friends if they’d aspire to be with a man who is afraid to express his emotions, who is afraid to be vulnerable, or who is afraid to be real and true to the intimacy of telling it exactly how it is. They might settle for a guy like this but it certainly isn’t what they aspire to.
In my own life I can say that I spent a long time in the absence of courage, a long time trying to live up to the confident man I thought I was expected to be. I never allowed myself to step beyond the known. I never strayed from the well-worn path of being self-assured. This placed a definitive limit on how deep my relationships could go, on how much trust and intimacy I could inspire in a woman.
When I finally found myself breaking free of the limitedness of confidence and embracing the expansive uncertainty of courageousness, suddenly, my relationships had a depth that seemed almost infinite. The courage to express myself with unreserved vulnerability inspired the trust that was required for a woman to reveal the fullness of her beauty to me.
Women are dying to meet men who are willing to step into the unknown. Men of Courage!
What does this mean practically?
It means don’t be afraid to express yourself if it feels right.
It means don’t be afraid to be in touch with your emotions if it feels good.
It means don’t be afraid to reveal your vulnerability in order to protect your ego.
Ultimately, it means don’t be afraid. Or, more accurately, whether or not you are afraid, take the actions that feel right and good in abandonment of protecting your ego.
Don’t expect that you have to be confident at all times. When confidence is absent courageousness takes over. Be courageous!
photo: alyssafilmmaker / flickr