Confidence Is The Key

The single most important thing for success in the scene — bar none.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people introduce themselves into the scene with an almost pathological self-deprecating attitude. They might as well be saying, “I know I suck but here I am. Please ignore the fact that I suck and like me”. Now, aside from the fact that I might feel some pity for this person, there is nothing that would make me want to befriend them. It may be mean but I just don’t have a lot of time for people who declare that they are dirt right after they say hello.

Whether it’s my wife, Sandy, or other people, I always hear the word “confidence” when people talk about outstanding members of the scene or community. It doesn’t have to border on arrogance, just a general air of self-knowledge and acceptance that goes a long way in projecting a positive image. For my part, it doesn’t matter whether the person is a Top, bottom, switch or any combination of scene archetypes, their success is often directly tied to not only knowing what it is they want (for the most part) but also an aura that they are OK with themselves. Walking around projecting the fact that you think you are lesser than others or a loser in some way is not an attractive trait. All people have self-doubt on occasion but it often passes (as it does with me). Making it a central part of your demeanor is counterproductive.

Not to sound like a parody of a self-help guru but the simple fact is that confidence is also a quiet and subtle badge that one wears. Believing you are attractive or smart or desirable often preempts the need to walk around trying to prove these particular things to everyone. It’s also eminently better than being pathetic in some strange hope of garnering a sympathy that is in short supply.


10 Responses to “Confidence Is The Key”

  1. I tend to sound like an unbearable suck up
    (uh oh…that was kind of self deprecating right there) but, I
    am compelled to say that your last paragraph was profound, Rad.

    Definitely worthy of a few re-reads.

    I give a lot of thought to the concepts of false modesty posing as ‘humility’, overly egotistical Tops posing as “superiors” etc…when it’s probably masking a certain level of insecurity, etc.

    When did feeling unworthy of anything become mistaken for ‘submissive’? Like..I deserve to be spanked…sure..thats a given.. but, am I also not deserving of love, happiness, or fulfillment?

    A new friend of mine gently chided me online for constantly apologizing. He was right. I wasnt really aware I was doing it, but I stepped back and realized it was sort of my fall back position; my knee-jerk way of saying : do you like me? Please like me… what if I apologize for everything Ive ever said or done.. now and in the future. , THEN will I be “worthy”? Its sort of pathetic.

    Lack of confidence is NOT cute, nor does it make people befriend you. Its actually tiring. Like when a person refuses to accept a compliment . After a while you feel like saying; ” ok, fine. I take it back then…”

    A bottom can be tempted to behave ‘helplessly’ at times, I suppose..but, is THAT always attractive? Are people afraid that confidence is sometimes mistaken for arrogance? I used to not even want to wear heels, which I love, because I didnt want to seem too big, too tall, too visible, or too ‘intimidating’. Ridiculous.

    True confidence imparts a person with a radiance and a warmth that
    draws others in. Ive seen it time and time again. The other things you mentioned.. all that negativity, is really a drain. This was a very relevant topic today. I’m gonna work on confidence. I’m not the shy, gawky, wallflower teenager at the school dance anymore. I can pick and choose…even as a bottom …ESPECIALLY as a bottom.

  2. I would go even further and say that self-confidence is the most important key key to success in *any* avenue of social life. Coincidentally, I had been ruminating on this topic for the better part of last week. I’ve heard it said many times, to the point of being cliched, that confidence is of supreme importance. I never believed it. I thought it might be somewhat important, but not nearly as important as, say, being gifted with beauty, or intelligence, or talent, or plain old determination and hard work. What I failed to realize is that confidence, while not difficult to summon at a particular moment of conscious intention, is terribly difficult to maintain and carry with ease.

    That’s the thing that really make a person “confident”, IMO. It’s not just ordinary “I think I can” confidence that arises from the little self-pep talks everyone gives themselves from time to time. It’s the extraordinay ability to maintain confidence in the face of criticism, rejection, failure, and other adversity like a buouy on the water always bobbing to the surface no matter how hard the forces of nature try to submerge it. That’s confidence.

  3. Lisa and SD: I cannot argue with any of that and merely say that I agree with you both. Very good addenda to the original post.

  4. It is SO hard to express confidence when you don’t feel it. Oh, god, do I know it, and all the helpful people over the years telling me “smile!” or “speak up!” did nothing but make me feel worse.

    I guess I had to come to a point where I didn’t fear rejection as much; where being alone wasn’t as bad as I’d always believed, so I didn’t have to try as hard to get people to like me. I also was working on getting out of myself and trying to be there for others more often (a 12-step principle).

    My confidence ebbs and flows. I find that at times during a big party like Shadow Lane, I’ll have a moment of panic before entering a room full of people. “Oh, god, who am I kidding? these are the beautiful people! I don’t belong here,” etc. etc… Then I step back, talk to some good friends, and either return to the large group or decide it’s okay not to return.

  5. There’s also an element of “fake it till you make it” here. It can backfire…we all recognize the guy who masks his insecurity with bravado and becomes obnoxious. But for me, especially in the beginning, it helped that I was wrapping myself in a bit of a character. “Caroline” is much friendlier, goofier, and outgoing than my everyday persona. It’s not exactly a fake or a front, if you’re playing with me, you’re getting the real “me”. There’s nothing in Caroline that isn’t an actual part of me. But the timid, self-depreciating, shy parts of me take a back seat when I’m “in character”.

    And confidence is also exponential. I found that having shown up and been confident and popular once, the next time it was more and more natural. I often still get the shakes and the butterflies before a party, but once I get “into the zone” they fade into the background. And I think I’ve learned some lessons from that experience that I’ve been able to apply to my “real” life, as well.

  6. Quoi? Are you saying my dress has NOTHING to do with it? ‘Cause, sometimes I could swear it’s all about the dress and quite possibly the lipstick.

  7. Jasmine….you are too much.

    and..Oh Sandy….dont talk that way. You are such a doll..such a friendly and lovable and kind and funny person. And the 12 step thing? Please. Yes, YOU were there for me. And THAT makes you ACES. You are mighty brave indeed if you dare put yourself down HERE.. (or near Rad?! Have you lost yer damn mind??) Why do I get the feeling you have gotten spanked for that attitude a time or two?
    Luv ya!

  8. I kept tossing myself out there in front of large groups of people (ie: doing BDSM demonstrations) until I got over the self deprecating crappola.

    Took time though. I had to accept for awhile that I was not being as effective as I could be while I worked my way towards more confidence. When I could not get in front of a crowd I would drag a piece of dungeon furniture in the middle of the dungeon instead and play there. Helps my partner is an exhibitionist.

    @ Caroline–having a persona that amplifies favorable facets of my “regular Joe” personality has also helped me.

  9. yes, I have gotten spanked for that attitude, but really I’m just saying that overall I’m doing fine, but sometimes I’m still nervous. I don’t like crowds, for one thing.

  10. at least at a SL soiree, you can go back to your room to re-group..right? Kinda not so much ( at all!) at Paddles! I hope you have a lot of fun. If I curl up really tight, can you sneak me in in your suitcase? :_)

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