How can you improve your confidence?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Matthew, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. Matthew

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    We often give people advice here that some of their problems, especially in meeting partners, could be alleviated or solved if they would just increase their confidence. But if you're a person who lacks confidence, the way to do that doesn't always seem very clear. I'm kind of at a loss myself to explain how I think that could best be accomplished.

    So what are your ideas? How does someone who lacks confidence improve in that area so that they can better meet a good partner for them (among other things)?
     
  2. GoneA

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    you'd first have to understand that - in some cases anyway - your not the "[SIZE=-1]end result of a drunken backseat grope fest and a broken prophylactic"

    once you have that down, your taking a step in the right direction.
    [/SIZE]
     
  3. windtalkerways

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    Your mind is a sponge. It takes in data
    constantly. It absorbs and believes the
    data it's given unless told otherwise by
    you.

    In order to gain self-confidence, one has
    to replace all the self-defeating negativity
    that is buried in one's psyche and replace
    it with positive affirmations. Yes it sounds
    like hocus-pocus and too easy to be true
    but it isn't either.

    If a person doesn't believe in their own self-
    worth, they will have a difficult time convincing
    anyone else either. And that does not entail
    being a egotist. Those people have gone way
    too far on the other end of the spectrum.

    It means that fundamentally you honestly
    believe yourself to be a good, worthwhile person
    that people should come to know and like. It
    has to start somewhere and these are the
    simple building blocks to reconstruct a good
    image for you to believe in, so you can meet
    and greet the world with the knowledge that
    you are as good as anyone else.

    It doesn't happen over night. We can all carry
    negative psychic (as it relates to the mind)
    baggage all the way from childhood. And as
    each negative arises you consciously combat it
    with a small internal pep talk and simply replacing
    the negative with a true positive about yourself.

    Daily reaffirmation is a good thing, to help uplift
    your spirit and put you in a good frame of mind.
    Think of some of the may wonderful, good things
    you have accomplished in your life and push away
    the negatives. Like does truly attract like. So if
    you are down and mopey you attract negative
    vibes and being up and not necessarily happy,
    that's too PollyAnna-ish and unrealistic but being
    positive, then good things will happen.

    I suppose this might be Dale Carnegie-type thinking.
    I don't know, as I've never read any of his books.
    But I did work in a library for ten years and read
    all kinds of books on this type of thing in that time
    and the power of the mind is a very real thing.

    Feed it up the way you want it to grow, nurture
    it with love and kindness and it will reward you
    with being a happier, contented person. You will
    feel more at ease in your own skin and thus able
    to relate to others on more equal footing.
     
  4. AlteredEgo

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    Fake it until you make it.

    Go home every night and face yourself in the mirror. Re-enact the scenes of your day where you know a more confident version of yourself could have done better. Imagine how that more confident self would stand, move and speak. Stand move and speak as this character. Soon enough you'll catch yourself in the middle of a situation about to go wrong, and you'll be able to act it out as the confident version of yourself would. Keep practicing at home. Eventualy you won't need to practice. You'll just know that you won't be embarassed, you won't make a fool of yourself. You'll sense that people view you differently. You'll view yourself differently.

    Worked for me.
     
  5. Webster

    Webster New Member

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    _____________________________
    When I remember to practice the daily affirmations, really amazing wonderful things happen. I should get back in that good habit. Thanks, dear lady.

    :wink:
     
  6. novice_btm

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

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    "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, gosh darn it, people like me."
    -Stuart Smalley
     
  7. novice_btm

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

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    OK, OK, I have to admit, I, for one, actually think that this could be an interesting thread, and am looking forward to the responses here.
     
  8. rawbone8

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    self affirmation is a good thing, and respecting yourself

    so is a realistic evaluation of one's own abilities, either confirmed or attested to by others who don't have an investment in your friendship (but this is in reference to one's talents or proficiencies in work, skills or hobbies, not personality)

    oddly, seemingly smart people can second guess themselves too much, and harshly undermine their assets more than any outsider can.

    be in the moment. not in the past or the future.
     
  9. LazyKing

    LazyKing New Member

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    And there you go peoples...:wink:
     
  10. ChuckRich

    ChuckRich New Member

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    I'm one of those people who have never had self confidence. Not to self diagnose but I have really low self esteem to the point of an inferiority complex and social anxiety issues. I believe it's a combination of chemical imbalances, being told how stupid/ugly/worthless i am by others, and situations confirming my negative feelings. It's so bad that I really don't talk to anyone unless I have to and I pretty much try to be as invisible as possible when I'm around people. I've been this way my whole life so I honestly don't know how to be confident. I tried positive affirmation for a long while years ago but it only works if you start to believe it and I never did. To me it felt like telling myself fire is cold, no matter how much I tried to convince myself it was true it just wasn't and I'd still get burned.

    There have been brief periods though where I've managed to overcome it to a degree. Mostly situations where I HAD to interact with others. Basically I'm aware that when I do talk to people they generally like me. But somehow that never feels real. I've only ever had a handful of real friends. Usually I'm someone people acknowledge when I'm around but don't think of otherwise, even in my family.
     
  11. Cosota

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    Let yourself being hit many times until it doesn't hurt anymore.

    I am not very confident. Fear of failure, of looking stupid, of rejection, often affects for the worse my actions or determination.

    If I manage to overcome my initial fear it is often the case that whatever the outcome of my actions is, it is actually not as bad as I anticipated. Then if I have another go and then another and another, the fear decreases and my performance improves.

    So, the tenth job interview tends to be easier and better than the first one.
    The tenth rejection at the nightclub hurts much less than the first one and I know I am closer to hit on the right guy. So here's hoping!
     
  12. D_alex8

    D_alex8 Member

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    And yet you have always struck me as one of the most intelligent and contemplative posters on these boards, and I make sure to read all your posts.

    It seems to me very often that it's the most gifted and worthy people who lack self-confidence the most. Perhaps this isn't so surprising, though: they tend to be hyper-exact and hyper-analytical to the extent that this impacts on their self-image also, unable to come to terms easily with their own perceived 'lack of perfection'. Their ability to 'stand out' in terms of intellectual ability or insight or contemplative analysis of situations also makes them most likely to have been excluded or 'bullied' as children, when the negative stereotyping began (of course, anything else - weight, height, skin color, or whatever - that caused people to single one out in one's formative years has the identical effect; as do shitty parents who had set expectations of their children which they then make sure their offspring are told they have failed to meet).

    Anyway, the method that worked for instiling confidence in myself (somewhere around age 16/17, I guess) was pretty much the same as Bronxie's ... 'faking it' each day - daring to go out on a limb (as it felt at the time) and offer opinions or let myself stand out - until, over time, this simply felt like the right way to be (as it was so much more rewarding than being a 'little voice' with ideas and desires aplenty, all of which were stifled by an inability to articulate them publically). In a sense, that is key to improving confidence: reaping the benefits from a few experiments ... possibly undertaken among strangers rather than friends at first, to see that they won't respond to you as if you're a freak, but will in fact engage with you on hitherto unexplored levels. It's rather like entering into an exercise regime: as soon as you start to see how much better off you feel for it, you want to continue... of course there are points where you fail and have off-days... but still the desire for that extra 'feel good' factor should push you on.

    Maybe I connect these two ideas also due to the fact that they came more or less in tandem in my life, from when I finally found the way to be more than 'the little fat kid' at school. Once you've broken the pattern, though, the difference is so extreme and life feels so much more fulfiled and fulfiling, that you'll never want to go back. And keep reminding yourself: so what if people don't respond positively to everything you say or do - at least you've put your views or desires or physical 'look' forth and been truthful to yourself; and there's no way you could appear as dumb as most of the empty vessels out there who happily present themselves to the world in full-on 'attention whore mode'.
     
  13. rawbone8

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    Confidence is sometimes tied in to whether someone is seen as being extroverted or introverted socially.

    I think there is a case to be made for introverts being misjudged as lacking confidence. And vice versa.

    Some study was once done with babies (don't remember when or by whom) that tried to assess whether extroverts were in fact insensitive (literally) by nature and required a lot more stimulation to feel at their comfort level, and if introverts were hypersensitive and tended to back away from stimulation to be at their comfort level.

    They used something benign but bitter — like concentrated lemon juice — on the kids' tongues, and noted that some responded by pushing closer and wanting more (insensitive) and those who recoiled and backed away (hypersensitive). Then over the course of several years tracked the development of the kids. There was some conclusion that suggested that the ratings on the sensitivity taste test had generally identified the eventual extroverts and introverts.

    Perhaps that study is daft, but I think introverts and extroverts are to a large degree born that way.

    Introverts can be confident in their own unique way, but often don't fit the socially expected scale of what is confident, which is generally more extroverted. Many develop social skills that can compensate.

    Some require a partner who understands and accepts what they feel is a healthy "distance" in a relationship to make things fit.
     
  14. PussyWellington

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    [FONT=Trebuchet MS,Arial,Helvetica][/FONT]

    [FONT=Trebuchet MS,Arial,Helvetica][/FONT]

    [FONT=Trebuchet MS,Arial,Helvetica]The lyrics to Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen, by Mary Schmich:[/FONT]

    Wear sunscreen.

    If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

    Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
    Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
    Do one thing every day that scares you.
    Sing.
    Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
    Floss.
    Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
    Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
    Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
    Stretch.
    Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
    Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
    Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
    Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
    Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
    Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
    Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
    Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
    Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
    Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
    Travel.
    Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
    Respect your elders.
    Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
    Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
    Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
    But trust me on the sunscreen.

    Bronx also gave some good advice...fake it. Act as if you are and you will be.

    Change! You also have to be able to recognize the aspects of your life that are not working and make the changes. Put yourself in situations that challenge you. Courage comes after the fact.

    Personally, I believe travel is the best way to improve confidence. Through my adventures around the world I have been in many hair-raising situations, circumstances that have kicked in my survival mode. These situations have taught me that I can handle a great many things. Travel has also given me a simpler way of life and that's where my strength and confidence comes from. Travel has also made me less tolerant towards superficiality. I seek out real people and real experiences.
     
  15. Lex

    Lex
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    We kinda hit upon this in this thread.

    For me, what Bronxy said is dead on. Fake it till you make it.

    I think what everyone must realize is that if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. Guys struggle with body image issues as much as girls do--we just don't talk about it as openly as you guys have been able to--I applaud that.

    I was a tall, skinny comic geek and nerd throughout school. No one gave me the time of day, male or female, except theother comic book geeks. I had very little confidence with women and really, did not believe in anything other than my mental capabilities. This prevented me from playing sports and much more.

    Then, I decided "FUCK IT and FUCK THEM!" I'm gonna be okay with ME. Now, I did not believe it deep down at first, but I pretended to. It eas hard to do it too. But, it was amazing how people's backhanded comments stopped when *I* stopped acting like they mattered. Their power over me was given to them BY me and only *I* could take it away.

    The next thing I did was to undo all the social dogma that got imprinted upon me--the pictures, songs, stoires, and social strata that told me I had to have facial hair and be athletic with a chiseled body to be a MAN. I stopped trying to wear the cool clothes and listen to the cool songs. I was the nerdy black kid who liked Cher and AC/DC and rap and I had to embrace that.

    I look to find my own sense of style. I am a believer in looking like a million bucks to feel like a million bucks. I am not saying to go pay top dollar for clothes--I am a cheap bastard and only buy things on clearance. That being said, you can look great for inexpensive amounts.

    Once I began dressing in a style that made ME feel good and being okay with my Teen Titan/X-men comics and Rock music, women started paying attention to me. They noticed the change.

    Over time, my faking it, combined with their different reactions and my growing maturity and comfort in my own skin turned into a CLEAR sense of who I was, what my worth is and how to feel good about ME.

    It was NOT an easy journey. Even today, I sometimes look in the mirror and see that 5'11", 155 pound HS senior. Then I remember how long and fiercely I have fought to love him and I appreciate both where I have been and where I am today.

    I wish this for everyone and I think most can find it if they really put forth the ongoing, relentless effort to get there.

    Good luck, guys.
     
  16. Matthew

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    Those are some really good points, raw. I am definitely an introvert and have challenged myself to strengthen my social skills to the point that people laugh when I tell them I'm introverted. I'm fairly confident, although my confidence has failed me at a couple key moments (lol).

    And your comment about distance is big. When I'm trying to get to know someone or vice versa, it always seems to work better if each of us gets a chance to be both the 'pursuer' and the 'pursued.' When one person always plays the same role, I find it to be a turn-off -- you come off as either desperate or self-centered.
     
  17. jeff black

    jeff black <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Bronxy said it best.

    Fake it to you make it, and the power of positive thinking. It really makes a big difference. You would be surprised at how much. Just every morning, stand in front of the mirror(naked or otherwise) :rolleyes: and say you are an attractive male or female, and then pick one or two good attributes about yourself.

    I guaruntee your self confidence will grow at least one inch. I used to be 3 inches of self confidence, but thanks to continuous Positive Thinking, I am now 18.5 inches and still growing:biggrin1:
     
  18. rawbone8

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  19. BJT

    BJT New Member

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    Ah confidence, one trait I lacked until this semester.

    Little background as to why I was such a shy kid. I was in and out of the hospital all through elementry school so I was "wierd". Had some good friends but this is when I can first remember being shy around people I didn't know.

    Middle school was new people from other elementary school, a fresh start right? Was going good I was slowly gaining confidence in my self and making friends left and right. Then 7th grade I missed 3/4 of the year because I was in the hopital again. The time I did spend in school I was Jaundice (yellowish skin, eyes) because my liver had almost failed and I had to carry around a small backpack that would pump IV into me 24/7. 8th grade wasn't much better, I was there but weak, ill and sick looking most of the year.

    Then comes high school, I am still the kid that was always sick in middle school. My group of friends from elementary and middle school stuck with me, thank god. Didn't make many friends, didn't go out at all. Spent most of high school playing computer and worrying about my GPA so I could get into college.

    College comes, freshman year... a fresh start with new people that have no idea who I am. Got some nice clothes, looked healthy and it was all good. But I lacked self-confidence and had a very negative self-image. Met a few people that lived in the dorm around my room, still good friends with them. Started going out and having fun on weekends instead of gaming the entire time towards the end of the year. Still too shy to approach anyone and walked around slouched over. This continued until the end of last semester.

    Second Semester 2005-2006 school year. I decided over winter break that I was sick of feeling like crap, I wasn't happy and it was causing me to be depressed. Started working out daily, started PE and started over. Started standing tall, looking people in the eye, talking to new people, and dressing a little better. As a result I am MUCH happier, I feel confident in myself and honestly feel good for the first time in my life that I can remember.

    So what did I do? Well a lot of things. I joined LPSG, Thunders, and started reading the articles at askmen.com daily. From the reading that I did I read about posture and how important it is. It took a week to get used to standing up straight, keeping my hands out of my pockets and not fidgeting with things. But after that it is easy, stand up straight and you will start to feel better about youself. I also noticed the reactions that I got from people that have known me for a year. Many comented that I looked great, asked me what I had done. The second thing I started was weight lifting. I am 5'5" and about 125 pounds, very thin and I was not happy with it. I have not gained muscle mass but the toning that I have gained has helped me feel better about myself. I believe that feeling good about yourself is one of the most important things. If you project confidence that is what people will see. Something that I started doing was looking people in the eye. I always used to look down while walking, by standing tall it forces you to look ahead. If your eyes meet with someone hold the contact for a second or two. If it is a female, espcially and attractive one feel free to hold it a little longer. This will generally get at least a smile:)

    I believe clothing is also important. I always went with the idea of wear what is comfortable, until I realised that sweats just aren't very flattering most of the time. I picked up a few pairs of jeans at fleet farm as well as a pair of khakis. I think I get more looks positive while walking around campus in a nice pair of jeans and a t-shirt than I ever used ot in oversized sweat pants. Just personal preferance but it seemed to help me.

    I now feel pretty confident with myself, and my looks. I still have some reserve about approaching new people but can usually force myself to wlak up and introduce myself.

    So stand tall, smile and know you look good...it helps.

    Most important things (in my opinion):
    -Stand up Straight (imaginary line through ears, shoulders, waist, knees)
    -Don't be afraid to look someone in the eye
    -Be comfortable with who you are
    -Dress the part

    Ah that was a long post. Hopefully someone will read it and be inspired :cool:
     
  20. ledroit

    ledroit New Member

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    I like the Stuart Smiley quote. Positive affirmations don't work for me either. They remind me of Nancy Reagan's "Just say no." Bogus.

    The only thing that works for me is facing my fears. I think confidence usually has a social dimension--it's usually a matter of being afraid of people, of other's responses or reactions. So if I'm afraid of doing something or saying something, I force myself to do it. Action is the best way for me to confront my fears--not just thinking about them or saying words to myself.

    Aristotle also said that fear is not what separates cowards from heroes. Action is.
     
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