Confidence vs. Cockiness: The Difference

Happy FRIYAY FRIENDS! I am rejoicing at the thought of sleeping in tomorrow and snuggling with my baby kitty. She is growing SO fast! I will also be filming a makeup tutorial and getting some more style pictures for y’all (HUZZAH). I love love love Saturdays! I hope your weekend is a full as mine is. Today’s post is inspired by the millions of times in a girl’s life she is told that she is “cocky” when she believes she is good at something and tells the world about it. I’d like to clear a few things up when it comes to confidence vs cockiness for the general public. UPDATE: IT’S ST. PATRICK’S DAY APPARENTLY? HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Confidence vs. Cockiness: The Difference 

  1. conceited or arrogant, especially in a bold or impudent way.
1. feeling or showing confidence in oneself; self-assured


When I was 15 years old, I discovered I was really good at doing special effects makeup in my freshman year theater class. I excelled in the course and my teacher would call me out in the class when I did something particularly well. One day during practice, a guy walked by my work and said, “wow, you think you’re really good at this, don’t you.” I smiled naively, missing the sarcasm, and said “Yes! Thank you, I really feel like I have a talent for this!” He rolled his eyes and said, “Okay, cocky much?” and walked away. That was my first encounter with being “cocky”, when I thought I was being “confident”. I knew I was good at something, so why did everyone want me to pretend I wasn’t? I didn’t put him down, and say that he was bad, I was just recognizing that I was GOOD. 


I thought cocky meant I was rubbing my success in someone else’s face, or wishing someone else would fail. You don’t have to put yourself down to make others feel better about themselves. That. Isn’t. Your. Job.

I’ve had many run ins with this awful word and I started to stop recognizing my own accomplishments. When people would say “you are really good at XYZ” or “you look really pretty today!” or “you picked that up really quickly, you must have a really knack for this”, I would respond with “oh, I’m not that good” or “I didn’t even try today”. People stopped giving me compliments because I couldn’t take them. I would deflect them and I stopped feeling like I was successful at anything. I believed everyone when they told me I shouldn’t say I was good at anything for fear of being “cocky”. What a terrible way to go through life.


BUT WHY? There is a way to share your passion and skill for something without being labeled as arrogant, cocky or self-obsessed. You can be tactful and appreciative and excited.

Why do we as women struggle so much to take a compliment? I had an epiphany when I got to college that maybe..just maybe… it was okay to believe I was good at something and acknowledge it. If someone says, “your eyeliner looks AMAZING today”, I accept the compliment. I say “thank you, I worked really hard to get them even but I think it turned out great!”. Because I DID. I WORKED HARD ON IT. I DESERVE TO FEEL THAT WAY. I DID spend hours practicing that skill. I DID put in the time to learn something new.


Ladies, we don’t HAVE to defect compliments. Heck, this applies to EVERYONE. Take PRIDE in what you are good at. If you have a talent or you are just really feeling your outfit that day, you don’t have to ignore that. You can stand tall and take those compliments that you DESERVE. 


Here are 5 responses to compliments that come after “THANK YOU” that make you sound CONFIDENT not COCKY:

  1. Thank you, I worked really hard on this ~ i n s e r t  s k i l l ~! I am proud of what I have been able to learn!

  2. Thank you, I really appreciate your recognizing my ~ i n s e r t  s k i l l ~

  3. Thank you, ~ i n s e r t  s k i l l ~ is something I really enjoy doing!

  4. Thank you, I am so happy to be able to share my ~ i n s e r t  s k i l l ~ with others!

  5. Thank you, maybe I can help you learn how to do ~ i n s e r t  s k i l l ~, too!


These are all ways to show you know you are good at something, without putting yourself or others down. 

I hope you learned something today, and if this is something you are struggling with, that this will help you realize you CAN share your accomplishments and you CAN feel proud of your skills. When others feel insecure, they like to put people down. Those are NOT the kind of people you need in your life. Surround yourself with friends and family that take pride in what you do, too. 


A little tip: write down one thing every day for a week that you are good at and remind yourself of them. Realize you have God-given gifts, and you should use them. Take advantage of the beautiful talents you are blessed with. 

I consider everyone of you that read my blog a friend. SO, from one girlfriend to another, stand up and believe in yourself. Because I do. 🙂

About The Author

Taylor Mobley


  1. Erica @ Coming up Roses | 17th Mar 17

    I LOOOOOVE this message. It couldn’t be more true, or more important to internalize! We HAVE to get better at accepting compliments for what they are, just without anything going to the head. We deserve to feel good about the things we’ve worked so hard to excel at!

    • Taylor Mobley | 17th Mar 17

      YES! My thoughts exactly, girlfriend. Let’s rejoice in our accomplishments.

  2. Michele | 17th Mar 17

    This is so true! We shouldn’t hide what we are good at to make others comfortable.

    • Taylor Mobley | 17th Mar 17

      Yes! We should stand up and be so proud of what we work so hard for!

  3. Marissa Pedersen | 17th Mar 17

    Such a great post! There is a difference, and it’s so important to remain confident.

  4. Sarah Althouse | 17th Mar 17

    Exactly, we SHOULD be confident in our God-given skills. Love that skirt, too!

  5. Cait Weingartner | 17th Mar 17

    This is a great post with an important message, especially for women. Even today, women are all too often given negative labels in their business and personal lives. “Cocky” “Brash” “Aggressive” “Opinionated” are just a few. Traits which would be admired in a man, are still seen as flaws in women. Bold, confident, talented women are every bit as deserving of respect and admiration as their male counterparts. Stay strong and confident and kudos for helping get the message out!

    • Taylor Mobley | 18th Mar 17

      Thank you Cait!!! You are SO right!!!! I have been called bossy and too opinionated my whole life so I totally get it.

  6. Meaghan | 17th Mar 17

    I love this so much, it is so important to teach people to be proud of the things you do. I love this and sometimes I need a reminder, thank you for writing this!

  7. Lauren | 17th Mar 17

    Loving this scalloped midi skirt! I wish it was warm enough here to wear it 🙂


  8. cara | 17th Mar 17

    Loved this post so much Taylor! Absolutely nothing wrong with being confident and accepting compliments from others, even if some people think that you’re being cocky in doing so. So glad you shared your experience and you provided really sound advice here. By the way, you look gorgeous and I love that skirt!

  9. Jasmyne | 17th Mar 17

    I love this post!! I completely agree that there is a difference! And love your outfit!!

  10. Krysta | 17th Mar 17

    This is something I’ve never seen addressed before and I’m so glad you took the time to talk about it. Nobody should feel bad about recognizing that they’re great at something.

  11. Beth | 17th Mar 17

    Hi Taylor,
    Your suggested rebuttals to when someone suggests that you are conceited or cocky are right on the money. I really love this post and you described everything so eloquently. Life lessons are difficult, but you’ve certainly gotten the best out of them!

    Beth ||

    • Taylor Mobley | 18th Mar 17

      Thanks so much Beth!!! 😀 I just hope everyone can use them in situations like this!

  12. Willow | 18th Mar 17

    There are been times that I have had a hard time accepting a compliment, but as I have gotten older, I think I am getting better at it. I am really proud of what I have have accomplished and I don’t mind others seeing that.

  13. Patricia @ Grab a Plate | 18th Mar 17

    What a great (and important) post! And yes, this is a compliment that I know you can accept 🙂 Isn’t it funny how we think — both the example of the HS boy, and ourselves?? I’ve learned to be proud of my accomplishments and to take compliments graciously. Thanks for sharing this!

  14. adriana | 18th Mar 17

    I LOVE this!!! I love your outfit, but I really love your message! I was just realizing earlier how truly cocky some people can be, and really, in a world like this, we need community and confidence builders, not the latter!

  15. Katy | 18th Mar 17

    Such a great message! I’m still trying to feel confident after having my daughter. Thank you for helping me realize it’s ok to feel good about myself!

  16. Tilly MyKat | 18th Mar 17

    I think I blame my dad but as a child I never was used to receiving compliments so as an adult I had no idea what to with them, and I was nervous and would shy away. It’s taken me years to be confident in who I am and my abilities and be able to own it!

  17. Neely Moldovan | 19th Mar 17

    I just had a conversation with my mom on this very subject!

  18. Oyinkan Ogunleye | 20th Mar 17

    Very important to hold your head up high and be super confident!!!!

  19. Allison Arnone | 20th Mar 17

    This is so important and everyone — especially women — should read this. We’re all taught at a young age to keep our successes and our pride to a minimum so we don’t appear to be showing off. But I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older it’s really insulting to the person who complimented you to negate it. So say thank you! You deserved the praise!

  20. Author Brandi Kennedy | 2nd Apr 17

    I love this post! I was conditioned to be unable to accept compliments, too – after a while, I believed that compliments were either “only” kindness (read: not true) or outright flattery (read: not true), and even being complimented would send me into a tailspin of self-doubt. It has taken me a long time to grow and nurture my confidence again – and because of that new level of honest self-assurance, I recently had someone tell me I’m “narcissistic” because I got snapchat with a group of friends and started vlog-chatting with them. I had commented to this person that I had noticed I felt more confident with my face and my reflection because I’ve gotten more used to looking at myself while making video-chats, and she totally started mocking me! She even held her phone up selfie-style, and was like, “Oh look, here’s me washing the dishes. And here’s me sitting on the porch, and here’s me walking to the living room. Me, me, me!”

    Thank you for reminding me that it’s actually okay for me to like my own face, and for me to feel good about doing something that’s good for me – because that bleeds into other things, too, like my writing, my ability to really focus, my mental wellbeing.

    • Taylor Mobley | 2nd Apr 17

      YES! OMG THIS WHOLE COMMENT! I love love love loved this. You should be PROUD to be yourself and to do something FOR YOU that makes YOU feel amazing and special. Thank you for writing this.

  21. Author Brandi Kennedy | 7th Apr 17

    Of course! I love your blog, and I REALLY love posts like this. Self-assurance and solid confidence are SO important.

    • Taylor Mobley | 8th Apr 17

      Thank you Brandi! I am so glad you found something here you enjoyed!

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