To be more confident, you can practice strategies like avoiding negative self-talk, reviewing other people’s criticism and recognizing your strengths. These can help to increase your confidence and self-esteem and diminish your fears and insecurities during social interactions.
Fear is a common behavioural response to social situations that can be uncomfortable or awkward. Being shy is different from having social anxiety or phobia, however, and is not considered to be a health problem or mental disorder.
Being shy can limit your quality of life, however, especially if it causes suffering or affects your relationships with your family, friends or work colleagues. Therefore, you can adopt the following strategies to help you feel more confident. Nonetheless, if you are unable to put these strategies into practice or if you difficulty overcoming your shyness, you should see a doctor for a more thorough assessment.
The best ways to be more confident include:
1. Identify why you are not confident
Identifying and recognizing why you are not confident is one of the first steps towards accepting and facing your fears or concerns. Lack of confidence can be associated with a combination of factors such as genetics, life experiences or childhood upbringing.
It is important to assess when you started feeling less confident (whether it was in childhood, adolescence or adulthood), and try to remember the triggers that led to discomfort when in social situations.
Generally, these triggers are related to ejection or criticism from colleagues, friends or teachers, or bullying at school, for example. These can lead to self-criticism and make social interactions more difficult.
In these cases, a psychologist can be very beneficial, as he or she can help to better guide the process of assessing when shyness started. A psychologist can also guide you to how it gradually lose your fears or worries with social interaction.
2. Not expecting so much from yourself
Generally, unconfident people demand a lot from themselves and tend to be more critical of their efforts or attitudes when socializing. This can discourage you from seeking social interaction and effect your self-esteem negatively.
It is important to avoid self-criticism, and to instead place value in small steps and efforts you are actively making to be more confident. You should lower your expectations and equally respect your own limits.
Furthermore, it is important not to compare yourself to other people, as this can lead to more frustration, insecurities and low self-esteem.
3. Being true to yourself
Being true to yourself does not involve disclosing to others that you are not a confident person. Instead, it involves having a conversation and being present in social interactions without trying to hide how you really feel. This can help to reduce your anxiety and allows you to manage the situation at your own pace.
Being true can also allow others to be more empathetic and will generally prompt others to value your efforts, which can gradually help to raise your self-confidence.
4. Recognizing your strengths
Knowing your strengths and identifying the areas where your skills stand out can help to increase your self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as reduce fears and insecurities during social situations.
To identify your strengths, you can write down the moments when you felt most successful. You can also reflect on the actions you have already taken to make you stand out from other people, and what you have done in the past that has received praise.
In addition, you can write down what you like to do most, so that you know which activities and skills you can further develop.
5. Evaluating and filtering criticism
Filtering through other people’s criticism can also be beneficial for gaining more confidence. When we constantly worry about other people’s comments or if we are scared of being judged, we will unconsciously back away from uncomfortable situations for fear of being rejected.
A great way to filter through criticism is to focus on the positive points that were related. You should try to take the criticism as a way to grow personally, and accept your limitations so that they do not generate unneeded angst, insecurity or fear.
6. Being open to new situations
Being open to new situations is an important step in being more confident. It does not mean you should speak with every person or participate in every social activity possible. Instead, it means to apply a minimal amount of effort toward overcoming your shyness. You can set small goals so that you do not lose your focus, like speaking with people who you are closest with first when you are in a social situation.
Little by little, you can start to direct your conversations to people who you are less familiar with. You should be sure to value your achievements and respect your limitations.
7. Participating in activities that promote interaction
Some activities, like group sports or language classes, can help you to gain confidence in a natural way. These activities require a certain level of social interaction, and having a focused theme can help make this easier.
8. Valuing your achievements
Valuing your achieves and the small steps you have taken can help to make you feel more confident. Taking time to appreciate what you have done can increase your confidence and self-esteem, which will give you the strength to confront your fears and insecurities during social interactions.
Valuing your achievements can inspire you to take steps forward, and to avoid backing away from possibly uncomfortable situations.
9. Participating in psychotherapy
Although having low confidence is not a mental disorder, psychotherapy is one of the best ways to gain confidence and overcome shyness. A psychologist can help to identify what triggers your insecurities and evaluate the symptoms you have as a result to develop a coping plan for managing social situations or anxiety.
How to be more confident at work
To become more confident at work, you can utilize the following tips like:
- Speaking and interacting with one work colleague at a time
- Starting with small talk
- Getting close with the colleagues that inspire you
- Showing interest in listening and learning
- Participating in group activities and projects
It is important to feel comfortable taking some risks at work without overestimating your limits.
How to be more confident when public speaking
To overcome shyness when public speaking, you can utilize strategies like:
- Knowing your speech topic thoroughly
- Studying your topic and anticipating the questions your audience may have
- Organizing a structured presentation and writing down key words
- Practicing your presentation in front of a mirror or in front of a small audience so that you feel more comfortable
- Starting your presentation with a small joke or attention-grabbing story
- Having a pen, book or notes in your hands and walking around the stage to hide any tremors
- Fixating your eyes on a specific point in the room, without looking at any specific people
- Remembering that the audience will know little about the topic you are presenting.
With practice, it is possible to gain confidence while public speaking and lose your fear.