What is Self Confidence?

what is self confidenceWhat is self-confidence, really?

Well. Here’s one way of looking at it.

Do you care about what other people think about you?

If you suffer from anxiety or depression then chances are you do,  a lot actually.

That’s one of the biggest reasons why you stay anxious. You’re always acting out alternative versions of events that have already happened in that little head of yours.

You might often wonder if you said the right thing or if a certain somebody was looking at you strangely. You might also ask yourself things like, what exactly did she mean when she said “Yeah, whatever?”

This constant monitoring of other people’s emotions and reactions is tiring, time-consuming, and cranks things up on the anxiety dial.

Obviously this isn’t news to you, but what might be is that you can slow down this tendency.

I was looking for a podcast to listen to on NPR awhile back and came across a short but very informative podcast about a woman named Traci Foust. She’s the author of Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD.

The book is about Traci’s struggle with OCD, when it started, how she was diagnosed, and what she did about it.

Anyway, toward the end she mentioned that one of the things that really helped her to get a handle on her anxiety was to simply say two words: So what?

Traci mentions that this was particularly helpful when trying to stop her obsession with what other people thought of her. Traci realized that this constant self-monitoring was causing her a lot of anxiety and that in the end there wasn’t any good reason for it.

She would repeat the phrase “So what?” to herself on a daily basis. This was to remind herself, to convince herself, that it doesn’t matter what others think about you.

I’ll concede that you better care about what your partner thinks about you, or your dog maybe, but the random fellow walking down the street? No so much.

Look, there isn’t any possible way in the world that everyone will always like you. There are just too many variables involved and, in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

Take a chance and believe me on this, 99.9% of people who walk past you on any given day forget about you the second you’re out of sight.

Even if you realize that someone doesn’t like you, so what?

Move on. Instead, focus on things you can control, like what you think about yourself, what things you can do to improve your life, you know, stuff that matters.

So let me answer the question directly – What is self-confidence?

In a nutshell, self-confidence is believing in yourself and not giving other people the power to define you. You do this by not caring so much about what they think about you.

Because once you stop caring so much about things like that – things you can’t control – the sooner you’ll start to be yourself.

In this regard, being authentic and cool with yourself is much more than a virtue, it’s the gateway to peace of mind.

Your thoughts?


How to Beat Shyness

Portrait of a woman being playful in rural a setting

If you’re shy you’re not alone. There are millions of people on this blue rock that can’t stand to meet strangers, me included.

There’s something scary about meeting new people. Maybe it’s the fear of judgment, rejection, or feelings of inadequacy that make us think that way. But despite all that shyness is beatable.

Before I tell you the secret code to beating shyness, first let me point out why you should want to do such a crazy thing. It’s because shyness is ruining your life, well at least your social life.

Actually, let me ask you a simple question: How many friends do you have? Depending on your level of shyness probably not tons. But how much of that is related to your unwillingness to engage other people? I’d say about 90%.

Because when you walk around allowing shyness to control you, you miss out on a lot. You miss out on potential friends, mates, maybe even jobs. Shyness isn’t just cramping your style, it’s strangling it while gritting it’s pearly whites at you.

Like I mentioned above I’m shy too. And I hate that I’m like that. But just because you are shy doesn’t mean you can’t bring those feelings under control so you can enjoy yourself more.

The secret to beating shyness is this: GO MEET PEOPLE!

Duh you say? No not really. It’s actually pretty damn hard. You have to ante up and throw all your fears out the window, temporarily at least, to pull this off.

And once you’ve made the decision to “engage” you’ll want to make sure that you do two things.

1. Speak up: Shy people don’t speak loudly for obvious reasons. So when you walk up to a stranger, or even coworkers you dodge all the time, take a deep breath and then speak to be heard.

This isn’t meant to impress your new pals, it’s meant to remind you that you don’t have to be timid and that your opinion matters too. Something that helps me get to this point is to remind myself that everybody else on the planet, even the greats like Bono, goes to the toilet, everybody.

I do this because it’s a reminder that all people, fundamentally speaking, are the same. No one is inherently better than you, their just different.

2. Make eye contact: This one is tough because if you’re shy the last thing you want to do is look confident. Screw that right? Because looking at people while you talk to them may extend conversations and therefore your discomfort. But the thing is that if you want to beat shyness getting out of your comfort zone is mandatory.

And given that this can make you uncomfortable, a quick work around is to look at the top of people’s heads, or even their foreheads, while you’re talking to them. This way you give the illusion of looking into someone’s eyes while at the same time not driving yourself bananas. Of course, you should only try this in the early stages. You’ll need to take off the training wheels to make this stuff stick.

After that it’s just a matter of rinsing and repeating those few steps. Practice will make perfect. Both because you will build self-confidence and because it will become an almighty habit. This is important because in the world of human behavior habits are everything. They literally shape who you are, period.

So if you want to beat shyness you’ll have to force yourself into contact with other human beings. Seek them out. Don’t sit in corners and whisper. Instead, stand in the center of the room and mingle.

Do this daily and before you know it you’ll be the one telling other people to stop being so shy! If this all sounds impossible it’s because you’re making excuses. Stop that. Get out there and make some friends.

See How Easily You Can Feel Better About Yourself

Clothes are never a frivolity: they always mean something.

~ James Laver

Anxiety can make you feel and think lots of things.  Especially things that aren’t necessarily true.  Ultimately these false beliefs can influence and shape your self-image into complex distortions that make you think that you’re too fat, dumb, giddy or whatever.  A simple way to rejuvenate your self-image is to take care of your appearance.

When it comes to helping people cope with anxiety lots of folks talk about drugs, therapy, and even gimmick programs.  But lets not forget about the daily decisions and actions that really determine how we will be affected by our anxieties.  Maintaining a healthy self-image will make you feel good about yourself, give you more confidence, reduce your fear of judgment by others, and give you a sense of optimism.  By taking the time to take care of yourself you’ll be tending to much more than just the clothes on your back.

Speaking of which, taking care of your appearance means to actually care about what you wear.  Not to say that you have to buy things you can’t afford, but just make sure that what you do have is clean, matches, and doesn’t have holes.  And make sure your shoes don’t look dirty or scuffed up.

Also, don’t neglect personal hygiene.  Pay attention to your hair and nails (that goes for both genders).  Shave and cut your hair when needed.  Remember this isn’t an exercise in narcissism.  This is about making you feel good about yourself so you can benefit from how this makes you feel inside.

People say that you are what you eat.  Well you are what you do too.  In other words, if you walk around dirty, smelling bad, and sporting shabby clothes how do you think you will feel about yourself?  Just remember that feeling good about yourself in the face of all your problems isn’t about miracles.  It’s about the small details.

Anxiety Looking Game

Do you ever feel like people are staring at you? Of course we all look at each other when in public, but do you ever feel like everyone is looking at you as you walk past them? I still get this feeling even though I understand that in the whole scheme of things I’m not that special.

I was in Costco (super discount store) the other day and felt like everybody was checking me out. Although my rational mind told me that no one in that entire building was all that interested in me in particular, I swore that they were. This is uncomfortable because it makes you feel like you can’t relax, but then I thought that this is exactly why I felt that way. My anxiety makes me (and you) feel self conscious sometimes and with that comes all kinds of insecurity.

Anxiety disorder has a way of zapping your self image and self esteem. It is very easy to have a pity party for yourself when you feel nervous all the time. So with my anxiety fully intact I kept walking through the store but had a change of mind after about 10 minutes of walking through the ginormous aisles . So I told myself the obvious and acted like I should have – like no one was looking at me. After a few minutes the sensation wore off and I began to get the sense that people were really not that focused on me after all.

This was not the first time this has ever happened either. Sometimes the feeling that everyone was looking at me has actually pumped up my ego in the past, but in retrospect I’m sure I wasn’t standing out anymore than I was at the Costco. I have even played the “looking game” with strangers and checked to see if they looked at me for any amount of time. If someone had then I would turn away for little bit and check again in several seconds to see if that person was still staring. If they were I would always say to myself something like “Ah I knew it”. This of course is all very silly and has everything to do with how I feel about me and not with the rest of humanity finding me way more interesting than everyone else.

To cope with this feeling is actually easy. Simply ignore the urge to check if people are staring at you. Because chances are that the vast majority of those around you are not eyeballing you like you think. It takes time to ignore things like this but you have to work on your levels of anxiety while in public because ultimately that and your lack of self confidence is what makes you feel like this. A few years back I would get this sensation everywhere I went, now I only get it every now and then. And when I do get it I just have to remind myself that it’s just me focusing on myself too much and nothing else.

Self Confidence

One of the things that may happen to you overtime is a loss of self confidence.

At some point you start to get blue and think that your life is just about anxiety. If you let it, anxiety can rob you of your confidence and make you suggestible to negative thoughts and self destructive behavior.

Regaining or at least being conscious of regaining your self confidence can play a huge role in how well you adapt to this condition. You literally have to get out of bed in the morning and believe that today will be better than yesterday. That you will achieve your goals, both long and short term.

You see, once you start believing that you are no good, or that you are tainted somehow, you develop a negative self image and slide further into the abyss of anxious thought and feeling. You have to accept that you are not well, but not out. You can recover and regain control.

Self confidence is not only the idea of self worth and planning for success. It is present in the movements you make, how you walk, how you talk, how you stand, how you shake hands with people. All of these things are inter-related and inform your overall sense of you.

Your world and therefore reality is created by those outside you to a large extent, but as an actor (so to speak) in that world you have some real control of how you are perceived and therefore how you perceive yourself. This anxiety business is tough and grueling over the long term.

But you are not alone and there is still a lot you can do to reverse these hellish experiences. It will take time and patience but if you actively seek to rid yourself of anxiety or if you simply learn to control it effectively you can be your old self. You can be happy and crack jokes and not resign yourself to sitting at home alone wondering when this will all blow over.