I’ve said before that a certain amount of conceit can make you a better communicator. The right kind of confidence is powerful – it is almost irresistible to the people around you. But, that confidence or self-assurance has to be honest and well-balanced. Arrogance and solipsism are unbalanced and will, more often than not, repel people. The wrong type of confidence will push people away. Such is the nature of the Paper Tiger.
The same is true about strength. If you claim to be stable or powerful enough to help others, but you are not, you set the wrong expectation in the people who know you.
What is The Paper Tiger
The Paper tiger is unavailing when faced with actual challenges, despite boasting of their strength openly. They appear threatening when seen from the right angle but fall apart easily when pushed. Chairman Mao referred to his political opponents as Paper tigers, often as a psychological tool to make them feel ineffectual against his campaigns.
Now, this isn’t only about perception for you; it’s more about wellbeing. This argument is about being ready to act effectively when you are called to it, especially when it is about helping or protecting someone or something important.
Heeding the advice of the Paper Tiger, then, is about taking proper care of yourself so you can be strong enough to face the challenges life throws at you and those you love. Practise self-care and self-love so no one can use cheap, dirty psychological tricks on you, and in so doing, manipulate you into losing what matters to you.
I also shared this on Twitter earlier today.
“A Paper Tiger,” added Maddox with that indignant confusion exhibited by geniuses when others are unable to understand their complex allusions. “The Chinese call them zhilaohu (纸老虎／紙老虎)” Vargas began to explain “a person who claims to be powerful or effectual but is, in fact, incompetent when their supposed power is called to action. Paper tigers look impressive and threatening from some angles, but easily blown over by a soft wind. They are good at presenting the illusion of power, which can be used but never trusted.”Maddox Vargas to Peyton Dracco, The 8-13 Project
–The Devil Unbound