Confidence vs Humility


When I was a teenager, I was very confident in my beliefs, and saw the world as black and white. I had some encounters in my 20s that shifted all my thinking on this. Intellectual humility was presented to me as a virtue that would help me see the world and reality more clearly.

I totally embraced that, seeking to encounter different viewpoints to uncover my unconscious biases and prevent confirmation bias when encountering new ideas. I was studying philosophy, so this was a skill set really important in developing strong arguments.

But now, I find that I can be so humble and open, that I’m willing to trust how other people see the world more than I do. I was pretty stubborn before, so my humility feels hard won. It’s also significantly improved my relationships, and I’m grateful for who I became when I was more humble.

But now I want to build beliefs that help me get the results I want. And believing what other people think about me is creating emotions that are not getting the results I want.

There’s a deep belief that I’m bad (thanks doctrine of original sin), and I find confirmation of it when I get criticism. Even though I reject the religious doctrines that instilled a belief that I’m bad as a child, I find all these ancillary beliefs in my brain that imply or say I’m bad.

Can I believe I’m good and still be humble? Can I be confident and humble at the same time? Can I believe I’m good, and treat past decisions and choices as neutral, while still thinking it’s not a decision I would make again? What about when people tell me I’m making wrong decisions? How closely do I listen to them?

Are any decisions bad or wrong?