Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Seduction & Self Confidence


In my mind, and probably yours too, seduction sounds like something either funny, stupid, or whatever, but certainly never considered as something serious. Well, I've been proved wrong. The term "seduction" in itself doesn't say all the (bad) meaning that we tend to associate with it. Seduction means, according to the Longman dictionary, "a thing or quality that attracts by its charm." We've been conducted to think that charm is a bad thing, that it is some form of hypocrisy, or that it has some sort of sexual connotation. It may have, but it doesn't need to have anything to do with that. When I flatter my best friends' scarf, I'm seducing her, because I know she's going to like to hear my compliment. But why do I do that? I compliment her scarf, and thus her, because 1) I like her scarf, 2) I want to tell her that I like it, 3) I know she'd be happy to hear it, 4) it also shows her that I like her, otherwise I would keep the compliment to myself. That doesn't sound that bad, does it? Now what if I compliment my teacher on the lesson he/she just gave? The other students will say that I'm trying to get him/her to like me, and the truth is that yes, obviously. Whenever you say something to nice to somebody else, it is because you want the person to know that you like him/her, but why is that bad? Why do we feel like that? I believe that this feeling that grows in us at that moment is nothing but jealousy, and maybe a little fear, but the two are linked anyway. We don't want somebody else to do that kind of act, because we're afraid it might actually work, we're pissed because we secretly wish it was us, and the combination of those two feelings produce jealousy. 

But why do we feel jealous? Don't we like it when people compliment us? Don't we feel like it was something right, since we oh so deserve it? Don't others deserve it too? Why are we so easily convinced when nice things happen to us, but so intolerable when nice things happen to others? I think that that comes from a lack of self confidence... We feel jealous because we feel threatened by others, and if we had self confidence, why would we feel threatened? Just take 2 examples from your own lives, one where you feel confident about something and one where you don't, and be yourselves the judges of what would be your reaction in either situations if someone seemed better than you. I myself feel quite confident about my ideas, I wouldn't feel hurt if someone told me that they were wrong. I would be upset, and ask myself why someone would say that, but instead of feeling threatened, I would try to find an explanation to that, and I'd be ready to change something about myself if I saw that the person was right. Now, if I had to make an oral presentation, and someone criticized me, I would ask myself many questions as to whether this person is right or not. I would re-evaluate myself constantly because of that single comment, and it would probably affect my self-confidence for my next oral presentation. All that destabilization happened because I wasn't self confident at first, not because that person was mean to me, he/she was just being honest.

So often, we ask people around us questions about us and ask them to answer honestly, and then call them nasty names because they've been "mean" to us. Do we really want to hear the truth about ourselves? Or are we that not self-confident that we've produced a kind of question that traps the other into pretending to tell the truth while answering our answer the way WE want him/her to? I'm not yet ready to make a whole speech on self-confidence and how to acquire it, but I just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that sometimes honesty is not what we truly want. And that if we pretend we want honesty while all we want is the illusion of honesty, then why is seduction that bad? Isn't seduction a way to draw people's attention on our bright sides and to keep our flaws on low profile? Is it necessarily a lie? I don't have a strong opinion like a yes or a no to that question, simply because I don't think it is an existential one. But I always find it interesting to "revisit" common notions and terms that we've assimilated so much we've forgotten their prime meaning, to generally find out there's so much more about them than we thought!

Here are two TedTalk's videos that lead me to do this article and which are, though maybe not that inspirational, still very interesting and enjoyable. The first one is about the "Power of Seduction":


And the second one is about "The Skill of Self Confidence":


Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!

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