Transcending False Confidence

“There is no courage without vulnerability.” —Brené Brown

We have all seen people who carry themselves with what looks like confidence, but something is a little bit off about it. Something is not quite right. Instead of being quiet and self-assured, like true confidence should be, it is loud, brash, and ostentatious, as if it is hiding some other truth behind its facade.

The thing about true confidence is that it is not one dimensional. It is not a front. It is not a show put on for the world to see, a distraction from what is really going on beneath the surface.

True confidence has depth, weight, and strength, but only because the truly confident have become so, not by avoiding fear, failure, vulnerability, hurt, loneliness, and sadness, but by facing these in themselves, acknowledging them, embracing them, and taking courageous action in spite of them.

Confidence is not the result of covering up our fragility, frailty, and insecurities, but of knowing them, of owning them, and of transforming them from darkness to light. Confidence is the simultaneous manifestation of both courage and vulnerability.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.

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