How can I stop being self-conscious?

Postby muddled » Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:17 am

Hi everyone,

I need help to figure out a way to be less self-conscious in social settings. I do have self-esteem and confidence issues and because of it I am never comfortable in social situations. I worry about how i'm being perceived, what others are thinking of me, my body language, eye-contact, that I don't know enough of what is being talked about, that I will be contradicted and told I am wrong etc.etc. I guess I end up being no fun at all. :(

I feel nobody is comfortable to talk to me and mostly I myself do not feel confident of carrying on a conversation one on one with anyone. This happens especially with people who I feel are confident, sure of themselves and likely to think of me as a loser. :( I feel I am not interesting enough, have nothing to offer the conversation that the other person does not know already. I need help because although I am trying to work on my self esteem, everytime after a party or dinner I feel even worse about myself. Are there any ways that have worked for anyone? Please help. Any help will be much appreciated.
muddled
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#1

Postby sheilazgold » Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:28 pm

Hi muddled

I too have been in the position that you are right now You have taken the first important step forwad working on your self esteem is going to challenging but when you starting feeling good about yourself you will know it was well worth it.

Its sometimes best to keep if you don't have anything to contribute Instead try and be a good listner that way you avoid embarassing yourself and may even make some friends. People like people who are good at listening.

You can't change the way people think about you or see you but you can change the way they see you. Once you start looking at yourself in a positive and loving yourself people around you will quickly sense it and respond in the same way.

One little trick that I was taught sometime ago. was that, if I felt nervous in a social setting or at an interview. was to imagine the people I felt intimidated by start naked and not looking very attractive lol

Sometimes by just being an observer you will see things that will make you wander why you put some of these people on a pedastal in the first place

I hope this helps or at least bring a smile to you face
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#2

Postby Rlem » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:28 pm

Hey muddled, it sounds exactly like what I'm going through, always being seen as a boring person because we have nothing to contribute to a conversation.

Read my recent thread "Am I shy or just have nothing to say?" and tell me if that sounds like you. I couldn't post a URL because the admin won't let me.

In some ways you've described this problem better than myself.

I'm going to watch this thread too now since our issue is nearly identical.
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#3

Postby crazyoval » Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:34 pm

HI muddled, as you can see it is common to feel this way, to a lesser or greater degree. I too have felt this way sometimes, more so when I was younger.

I have counselled many people who feel this way, one a successful man of 50 who felt intimidated by others in groups because of how he was embarrassed as a boy at family gatherings.

Its called social anxiety and there are some good books out there that may be a good route forward for you as well as the comments written by others here.

Essentially to feel better in social situations you will need to work on your own self-esteem to a point where you are aware of how interesting you really are and have little hesitation in expressing your views or talking to others about interesting things they can tell you, without feeling that it means you are inadequate.

how nice would that feel?

Its all achievable. Let me know what you think. Best of luck
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#4

Postby muddled » Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:28 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for ur replies.

Rlem, I read ur thread and I have to say our issues are really very similar. I agree with all ur potential causes. I have all the issues that you've mentioned in it. The only way I'm different is that i've never thought that some else has been boring. If they are intellectual I think i'm dumb n' if they're airy I think i'm too boring. Basically I always think someone else is better and I realise this is one thing I really need to work on.

I would love to be like you said crazyoval. Not hesitate before speaking, not care if i'm contradicted and always have something to say. I guess it has to come from within and unless I feel good about myself I won't be able to fake it. It just seems like I've been trying so hard for so long. Maybe I should stop trying and just be. I don't know how to. I still have a lot of unlearning and relearning to do.

I will try all ur suggestions. Look up books on social anxiety, practice n' try to knock people off the pedestal I put them on for no reason. Thanks guys. It helps to know that there are people who understand out there :) Any more suggestions are always welcome.
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#5

Postby Yellowcoaching » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:53 am

Hi all

Take a look at the articles on my site they may give you some pointers as to how to stop criticising yourself (That's just one of the titles :wink: )

www.yellowcoaching.com
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#6

Postby crazyoval » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:25 pm

HI Muddled. Much of what you say hits the nail right on the head.

what a lot of people do is put on a face at social gatherings to hide their real vulnerable self. So in this way, they become confident, intellectual (if they want) and also very fake.

However I feel that your words hold the best way forward:

quote
"I would love to be like you said crazyoval. Not hesitate before speaking, not care if i'm contradicted and always have something to say. I guess it has to come from within .."

Exactly. When you feel it coming from within you, from your heart and your head, you know its really you that you are presenting. It does come, in time. It takes time but don't get down. Bit by bit you can increase your self esteem by trying out things you've never done before for example, just push yourself a little. Try walking into a crowded bar for example. I know it can be tough but ask yourself what can go wrong, especially if you do it somewhere where no one knows you.


"and unless I feel good about myself I won't be able to fake it."

If you feel good about yourself you will be genuine and will be more successful than anyone who has avoided being honest with themselves. Being genuine means that you will be clearer to respond to anything rather than have to filter everything you hear and respond to. that can be exhausting.

"It just seems like I've been trying so hard for so long."

Stop trying and just be yourself

"Maybe I should stop trying and just be."

you got it :-)

"I don't know how to. I still have a lot of unlearning and relearning to do. "

It is overwhelming but take it day by day, get a book to read. Check out Yellowcoaching's articles if you've not done so already. Take a look at my article on self-esteem. Ask more questions.

If you want it, it will be yours :-)

best of luck!! You are a smart cookie.
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#7

Postby Yellowcoaching » Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:14 pm

Love the ambient music site X will be back later for a closer look.
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#8

Postby wiz8mom » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:35 am

Working on your self-esteem and feeling self-conscious doesn't need to involve other people right away, so FOCUS ON YOU FOR NOW. You definitely need to feel good about yourself first, before worrying about what others think of you. In fact, don't even worry about what others think of you, ever. If you like yourself and are comfortable in your skin, then things will smooth out for you. Here are some things that have helped me and might help you.

What are you good at? Anything? If not, get good at something! Or at least find something that you really enjoy, and do it because of that, not because of what you think other people will think about you.

Maybe start working out, running or strength training, whatever, but research it as well. Do it in your home if you feel self-conscious at first. Get books at the library and really understand what you're doing.

Learn a musical instrument if you haven't already. Rent how-to-videos from the library for starters, or if you can afford lessons, get them.

Read magazines and the newspaper and watch the news. Know what's going on.

Volunteer. Nothing gives you a boost like helping others. Animal shelters, food and clothing banks, library homework helpers, nature conservation, anything. There are a lot of people out there who could use your help.

Take walks. Really. Walk in the country, walk in the city, walk in a park. Doesn't matter. Pay attention to your surroundings and enjoy them. People watch and try to find one positive thing about each person you see.
Stop and get ice cream before you go home.

Bake something. Yup. Cookies are always good, and easy too. Share them with people.

Watch a movie and give it a review, watch it knowing that you're going to review it. Weird huh? Just something fun to get you thinking. Maybe even post it on netflix or amazon or something. See, you really are interesting!
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#9

Postby ddarkangel » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:49 pm

once I had such a low self-confidence you could not possibly imagine....

start to do things you like, your hobbies, follow your dreams, stick with friends you are comfortable with...

you need to realise others may just sometimes appear self-confident but inside they are consumed by the same insecurities...

this requires inner strength, do you have the will to change....?
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#10

Postby Yellowcoaching » Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:58 am

http://www.yellowcoaching.com/nl1/yp2.html

Your life matters, why waste another week a month or a year?
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#11

Postby butterfly71 » Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:16 pm

If you're in a social situation where you don't feel entirely comfortable, focus on someone else. Many people love to talk about themselves, so show a genuine interest in them and in what they are talking about.

Try to think of open questions to ask them, to get them talking more. Just be careful not to drill them by asking too many questions, but I can assure you they will think better of you for showing an interest in what they have to say.

Remember to keep regular eye contact (don't stare!) and smile - everyone likes a smiler! :D

This gets much easier with practise!
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#12

Postby silentarrow.com » Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:18 pm

First things first.
It is tough to get a high self esteem if you set a very high standard for yourself.

I would love to be like you said crazyoval. Not hesitate before speaking, not care if i'm contradicted and always have something to say. I guess it has to come from within and unless I feel good about myself I won't be able to fake it. It just seems like I've been trying so hard for so long. Maybe I should stop trying and just be. I don't know how to. I still have a lot of unlearning and relearning to do.


Do you notice the high standards that you are setting for yourself?
See, It is not actually about self esteem. You are just not allowing yourself to be happy unless you can speak without hesitation, not care about being contradicted and always have something to say.

Maybe, there are a few persons like that, but everyone cant be like this otherwise there wont be anyone who would care to listen.

Some people are good listeners and some people are good speakers and each one should be happy with what they have.
The grass always looks greener on the other side and I am sure that a good speaker would be saying "why does she say that I dont listen to her."

Obviously, by a good speaker I meant a person who always has something to say , speaks without hesitation and doesnt care about being contradicted.

See, it is all in our imagination. We imagine that how nice it would be if we were able to do that and then we compare it with ourselves and become sad.

low self esteem is just a general label for people who set a very high standard for themselves and are unhappy because they are unable to reach it.

Just my 2 cents.

bye,
faraz
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#13

Postby Carole Ray Coaching » Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:35 pm

Hi Muddled

You've had some great advice from people here - is it helping?

I've worked with a lot of people with your problem - I think you'd be surprised how common it is! And even very confident people have their self-conscious moments! I think the most important thing is that you are very gentle with yourself - never, ever give yourself a hard time about feeling self-conscious - you're making changes and, while it might not happen overnight, you will start to feel much more confident!

My top tips for not feeling self-conscious are:

1. Breath and smile - this will calm you down and people will feel comfortable around you

2. Focus on the other person - really listen to what they are saying and ask them questions about it - people love to talk about themselves and you will probably find you have something in common

3. Don't be afraid to walk away - most conversations have a natural time limit - don't be afraid to move on and talk to someone else, it's much better than trying to keep a dead conversation going, which just makes everyone uncomfortable!

I hope that helps! Let me know how you're getting on!

Carole
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