From time to time, I'll be accused of having a low self-esteem. I see a pattern in the worldviews of the people who say that though, so I'm not too worried... and that would be the nicest way I can possibly think of, to call them "cocky bastards" =D
I'm so kidding, of course =D =D In each case, they're my friends, I love them to bits, they mean well, but I don't think they quite understand me. =D
If I really lacked confidence that badly, I wouldn't be where I am today. Would I have been able to waltz into the department head's office and, in the middle of University cutbacks and layoffs, convince him to hire me for a job that he didn't know he needed? Would I be married to A Guy who has loved me unconditionally for most of my life, loves to entertain me, thinks of me first, respects what I have to say and even looks up to me in some ways?
I have a very realistic view of myself and my abilities. Being an INTJ, I know what I know, I know where I am compared to everyone else and, more importantly, I try to be competent enough to know what I don't know and what I'm not. I think the misinterpretation comes in because I'm more open about telling people where exactly where my boundaries are or where I make a guess at the point that my competence ends.
Modesty is a recurring theme in Chinese philosophy. Know thyself, as the Greeks put it.
Of course, everyone has a lack of confidence in different aspects of their lives and in varying degrees. But true low self-esteem repels others. Either you wouldn't want to be around the person for very long or you would never have found them in the first place. The ones you wouldn't want to be around are sometimes very belligerent and cantankerous (usually trolls in a forum where negative attention is better than no attention); sometimes whiny, pathetic, clingy, needy. The ones you wouldn't have known about are hiding from social interaction.
I'm not kidding anyone here, I'm not Ms. Popularity. But strangers find me and glom onto my journal. These are well-educated, intelligent, articulate strangers and decent people with their hearts generally in the right place. There are a few exceptions ("serial adders" and other annoying folk), but they're few and far between and I won't deign to acknowledge them.
The point is, these strangers wouldn't have stuck around if I were that pathetic. =)