Welcome to my blog about confidence. Many people lack confidence, often felt in social situations like meeting friends in a pub, party, or restaurant.
But everyone lacks confidence at some time in their lives. This may be a brief episode, or those feelings of a lack of confidence may last for years.
A lack of confidence in social situations is common in all walks of life. The problem is that it stops you from learning and developing your true potential. It also is a barrier to making new friends and gathering information.
But what does a lack of self-confidence feel like?
You might feel awkward when you walk into a pub or bar. You might feel self-conscious or shy and don’t want to talk if you say something wrong. You might just want to fade into the background so no one notices you.
Some might find that their heart races, or they get a dry mouth. These are just a few examples of feeling anxious when you lack confidence.
What is the cause of a lack of confidence?
There are usually lots of things that have built up over the years.
Some negative feelings might come from your childhood if you had negative experiences. Perhaps you have had situations when you have been rejected. Or maybe you have been embarrassed or awkward in a social situation before. Maybe someone puts you down constantly and makes you believe you aren’t good enough.
As a counsellor and hypnotherapist, I have had the privilege of helping many people struggling with confidence issues. So in this blog, I will give you some tips and strategies to help you boost your confidence in social situations.
I call this the inside-outside approach because I believe that confidence comes from within, but it can also be helped by things you do and how you look on the outside.
1. Challenge your negative self-talk.
If you hear yourself saying more than a few times negative statements about yourself, you need to tell your mind monkey to stop it. Start to engage yourself in positive self-talk. Some people might use positive affirmations.
Remind yourself of all the achievements you have had in your life and the positive attributes you have. You must tell yourself you are good enough and can enjoy the social event.
Remember that we can’t all be perfect. Life isn’t perfect. Nature isn’t perfect, so we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be perfect.
2. Dress up
Wear clothes that make you feel good. Maybe your favourite colours. Or experiment and wear a different colour to help you feel different.
Some people might use a personal stylist. This person does more than pick the best outfits; they may also discuss makeup and accessories. Some personal stylists also show you where to get the best look on a budget.
Dressing up is for everyone to feel more confident. Men can also take pride in their appearance and use products to help themselves feel better.
Dressing up doesn’t mean spending lots of money unless you want to and can afford it. The aim is to feel comfortable in the clothes you are wearing.
When you look good on the outside, and people notice, it makes you feel good on the inside, boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
You can also compliment yourself on your effort to feel good on the outside. Then look in a mirror and acknowledge how good you look; this will help your confidence in social situations.
3. Visualise being confident
Being confident in social situations is different for different people. For example, one person might be confident with friends who introduce them to a stranger, while others might change behaviour and become shy with another person joining their usual friendship group.
One way to build confidence in social situations is to visualise yourself as confident.
Preparing and practising this visualisation is important so you start believing you are confident.
As a hypnotherapist, I teach clients to visualise success along with lots of positive suggestions to feel and behave in confident ways.
4. Focus on your body language.
Your body language will tell people you lack confidence, so you must cultivate good body posture, especially in social circles. One way might be by standing up straight and smiling more.
The good thing about positive body language is that it can make you feel better and others around you.
As a hypnotherapist, I have studied communication in depth, and I can tell if someone isn’t confident fairly soon after meeting them for the first time.
5. Copy the body language of someone confident.
Confidence is displayed through the things we say and our body language.
Confident body language is about open posture and good eye contact. Smiling will also help.
Stand or sit upright, as this helps you to feel more self-assured.
If you are unsure what to do, think about someone you know is confident. How do they stand? How do they sit? What sort of things do they talk about? Notice these things and use some of them to help you. However, you are not them, so you must learn to use confidence tactics that suit you best to be authentic.
I suggest to my clients that they watch TV chat shows and notice the confident interviewers’ body language. Sometimes the interviewee might lack confidence, so you can also notice that opposite body language.
6. Set realistic goals.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, especially when you used to feel anxious.
Recognise that everyone makes mistakes sometimes because this helps us to learn. Furthermore, small mistakes often aren’t noticed in social situations.
Start with small, achievable goals. This might mean going out with a friend and later building it up to a party with many new friends.
You could research the venue beforehand to know where you are going and what it’s like.
I suggest that my clients might like to write their goals down, not for me, but because they can remind themselves of what they have decided to do by reading their written goals and then ticking them off when they have achieved them.
Confidence doesn’t always come automatically when you change your thoughts and behaviours.
Practice introductions. Learn to listen more so you can easily gather information. People usually like it if you ask them questions about them and then listen to their answers. Find common topics to talk about.
You might practice small talk by talking to yourself in a mirror.
Some clients might like to build confidence by visiting different shops and asking questions about products. This can help build confidence at the right pace for the individual.
Finally, we all need to continue building confidence in social situations because we are on a journey of exploration. Be kind to yourself and tell yourself that you can build your confidence if you believe you can.
Sometimes we need to take small risks. Sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable and give it time to feel comfortable again. But ultimately, you need to be that authentic you.
Celebrate your successes. Believe in your ability to motivate yourself to mix in social situations, and you will feel much better.