It's doubt that forces you to beg for somebody else to tell you how great you are.
There are a few old stereotypes that somehow manage to ring true. The faster and more expensive the car, the smaller the penis behind the wheel. People who go around bragging about what spectacular lovers they are tend to be less than fantastic in the sack. And the more florid the font, the worse the resume.
What all these boil down to is, when people make a big deal out of showing off how absolutely great they are, they never live up to the hype.
People feel the need to talk themselves up, to make themselves look better than they are. But without fail, these attempts to make their appearance more palatable say something louder than any tacky convertible: Please, please, please like me!
If you want to find the people who are really and truly good at something, from sex to accounting, look for the people hanging out in the background, calmly going about their business. These are people who know their value. Who know what they're good at and how. They're the people who do what needs to be done — not because somebody will praise them for it but because if they don't do it, nobody will.
In Philadelphia they tell a story about George Washington. When the first Continental Congress began the process of nominating the first President of the United States, many of the men present began talking about what a brilliant general George Washington had been. Rather than join into the conversation, Washington left the room. He didn't want or need to listen to the other people in the room sing his praises.
Knowing you're fantastic at something means your own approval is all you need. It's doubt that forces you to beg for somebody else to tell you how great you are.
Insecurities are louder than nearly anything else going on in our heads. They shout out the reason, the praise, the practical knowledge. Insecurity hovers over our accomplishments, asking, "Is this good enough? Tell me this is good enough!" Confidence, though, looks at an accomplishment and says, "Yeah, that's fine."
It's hard to find a way to focus on our confidence. It's so much easier to buy the flashy car or tell everyone around us how hard we're nailing it at work or the gym. It feels easier to try to silence that insecurity by contradicting it, loudly, all the time. It's easy to forget that when we do that, we're actually feeding it.
The way to knock out that insecurity is to respond with silence. To stop contradicting it, and instead shrug and say to ourselves, "This is fine, this is good enough, this is good. I know it, and it doesn't matter if anyone else knows it, too."
To step away from the unnecessary car. To stop talking about how many people we've slept with and how much we blew their minds. To write our resumes in Times New Roman with reasonable margins.
And when somebody does ask what you're good at, rather that taking ten minutes to monologue about how desperately the world needs you, tell the truth. Say what you do, and how you do it, and let the facts of your accomplishments speak for themselves.
Be like George Washington and know how badass you are. Know that you're killing it at life, at whatever it is you do, at being you, and leave it to other people to figure out how to handle all the amazingness you bring to the table.