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Lack of self confidence

Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I could make a huge post out of this but I will try and keep this short. Basically I have very little confidence with myself. I am fairly shy and I don't think I am really good at anything so that doesn't help. My biggest problems are with my social skills and my job.

While I am working I always second guess myself even though I know I am right I do it anyways and I can't help it. If anyone looks at me I assume its a "What the hell are you doing?" look and instantly lose track of what I am doing and almost panic and I need to take a few seconds to get back on track. It is hard to describe, it isn't quite as bad as that makes it sound but it is a problem and I have had people talk to me about it. I don't literally panic I just get nervous and lose track of what my plan was. I also do try and act confidently but when I screw up I get really frustrated and I lose all confidence I had. I also zone out some times and think about what I fucked up on.

Socially its even worse than that, I never know what to say or how to act. My voice is pretty monotone I think (people have told me) so I never talk with emotion or its always the same tone. I think its like that because for years I have been trying to hide what I am thinking or feeling from people so its just natural and the only way I talk. I can't talk to girls I don't know, nothing else to say about that really I just get incredibly nervous and sweat and stutter a little bit, its pretty bad. I worry about a lot of different things about myself, how I look or how I walk all that shit. I try hard not to worry about it but it just happens and theres nothing I can do about it.

I don't want to go on anymore about all that, but how do I get more confidence? It seems like every time I try I just bring myself down again.

Fizban140 on

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    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I'm in the same boat as you, except for maybe the stuttering part. But the big difference between us is that I know there is something we can do about it. Socially, it's about getting yourself out there. Being social is a skill, just like anything else. The only way to get better at something is to do it. For a while, I was so inward and anti-social that I felt awkward around my close friends. Knowing that was the case, I try and make sure that never happens, so even if they're doing something I don't particularly want to, I go with just to keep myself busy.

    I think this will also help you with confidence in your appearance. Try and get out of the mindset that everyone is judging you, and especially your friends. I have done that and still do, but I know it's counter-productive. Even if they are judging you, so what? People look bad when scrutinized. You're not perfect, do the best you can. Not everyone will like you, and you won't like everyone. Not a big deal, shrug it off and hang out with people that do like you. If weight is an issue, go on a diet and go to the gym. You'll look better and feel better. It's a big commitment, but it's very much worth the effort. You might even enjoy getting exercise.

    You might also want to talk to a psychiatrist about depression, which can cause all sorts of destructive behaviors (trust me, I know).

    Zombiemambo on
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    CryogenCryogen Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I was exactly like you. Actually, to be totally honest, i'm still like that in some ways, sometimes it surfaces sometimes it doesnt.

    Its pretty much a constant battle. I had to just keep focusing on being more confident and positive. I had to make a real effort to put some emotion into the way i talk to avoid the monotone problem. And on bad days, i definately feel myself slipping back into those old habits.

    Theres no easy fix. What has helped me (i dont know if it will help you) was focusing on observing other people around me. Seeing people less talented than me at similar jobs pass me by because they went after what they wanted with confidence. Sure, they made mistakes, but mistakes can be dealt with later. Thats what i noticed. They didnt get all flustered, they were just like "Shit, that went wrong! Oh well, lets try another way" and things worked out. So i made a conscious effort to try to do this more. It was fucking hard, because your whole brain is screaming at you that you're doing it wrong, but it gets easier as experience retrains your thought processes.

    Now, i look at some of my colleagues that are very clever, some of whom have excellent qualifications. And I can see that unless they change like i have, they arent going anywhere, because they lack confidence and wont back themselves. This keeps me focused on continuing on the path.

    Talking to random people in social situations though, i still struggle with. I still feel like i run out of things to say, or that anything i might say they wouldnt be interested in hearing. Some recent advice i've heard was that i am doing it wrong, i shouldnt be trying to think of stuff to TELL people, but rather i should be ASKING them stuff about themselves. They will ask questions about YOU on their own. I havent had much chance to try this out yet, but i can see the sense in it.

    Edit: Excellent point by Zombiemambo. Get out and do stuff, even if you think you might not enjoy it. I've done this since i met my girlfriend, where in the past i turned down lots of ideas because of social phobia, basically. I've enjoyed lots of new things i wouldnt have thought i would, and i feel much more comfortable going to new places, which also used to be a huge problem for me.

    Cryogen on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    So pretty much I just need to be thinking about things differently? Being positive is pretty hard for me, I guess I am depressed too because I don't get excited or happy about things too often. I think the biggest thing that sets me back is that I think people can tell how uncomfortable or nervous I am, but I shouldn't be thinking about those things in the first place. Also I judge other people way too much and then I assume everyone else does it too, either it isn't like that or I shouldn't worry about it anyways right?

    My biggest problem is that I have never really been with a girl and I think people can tell that too, I worry too much though.

    Fizban140 on
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    BasilBasil Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I'll pass on the technical stuff I ain't qualified for, but I'll suggest something. Some folks can take simple advice to heart, some can't. But I was told a few things, lectured, yelled at and threatened with a chair, and through it all one thing stuck.

    This'll sound stupid, you've heard it on those horrible children's television shows that you ignored as a kid and you rolled your eyes whenever you've heard it since. At least I'll bet you have, I know I did, but try it.

    Smile.

    Go ahead, stick a grin on your face. Maybe settle for a smirk. Not one of those half arsed smiles that anyone can tell is a fake, mind. Bring your eyes into it, make them crinkle a little. Doooo it, I'm not making fun of you.

    Now check the mirror, square your shoulders, brace your gut and stand up straight.

    Who's looking back?


    If you can smile, maintain strong body language and move with purpose, you've won the whole game. Because what's inside doesn't really matter so much when what's outside is what's giving you trouble. Confidence isn't something you just have, it's something you've got to make. Look confident, feel confident, act confident, be confident.

    That confidence string the sort of advice folks like to throw around when talking about how to pick up girls or how to dominate a meeting. People get payed to say that, but taking the time to learn a bit of body language really does work.



    In my case, I was a morose, antisocial prick. Then I started smiling at people. I still didn't talk much, and I didn't really play or stick out, but I wasn't bothered about it. Just by affecting ease I got through my days without being stared at, yelled at, picked on or talked to, and I kept it up.

    There's some science to it, as I recall. Something about smiling because you're happy or being happy because you smile.

    Basil on
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    CryogenCryogen Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    So pretty much I just need to be thinking about things differently? Being positive is pretty hard for me, I guess I am depressed too because I don't get excited or happy about things too often. I think the biggest thing that sets me back is that I think people can tell how uncomfortable or nervous I am, but I shouldn't be thinking about those things in the first place. Also I judge other people way too much and then I assume everyone else does it too, either it isn't like that or I shouldn't worry about it anyways right?

    My biggest problem is that I have never really been with a girl and I think people can tell that too, I worry too much though.

    Haha! Yeah, you're very much like me :). I judge people a lot too... i dont think most people do this. Learning to let go of this fear helps. Most people dont even know you exist much less spend more than a passing moment judging you. Think about it : that guy you saw walking past you at the mall, where you thought "man that guy looks like a fucking idiot!" How long did you think about that? Probably just that once and then never again, right? So why worry about it if he thought the same about you? And if they DO spend a lot of time thinking about it... then woah, sucks to be them huh. Thats something i came to terms with, not everyone is going to like you. After all, i dont like some people, why would i want or even care if they like me?

    As for the girl thing, no, people cant tell you havent been with one. Try not to let it get you down, and dont make a big deal of it. I didnt lose the big V until i was 27 years old. Thats pretty old! Yeah it would have been nice if it was earlier, but in hindsight, i dont really care. Actually, if anything i wish it had been a bit longer because man, that girl turned out to be a real bitch :)

    Cryogen on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    I have drastically changed my lifestyle, and by that I mean I get drunk with friends atleast once a week. Before I never saw anyone outside of work or school. I cant imagine waiting until I am 27 though, I have considered just finding some fat chick or something. Is the first time a big deal? Some people tell me to wait others say fuck a fat chick.

    Oh and I am in pretty good shape, I go to the gym and I am skinny.

    Fizban140 on
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    CryogenCryogen Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Its completely NOT a big deal. I certainly wouldnt go out and bang just whatever chick was willing, just in order to lose my virginity. YMMV, personally i have no interest at all in fucking anyone i dont intend to be in a relationship with.

    Cryogen on
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    Buddy LeeBuddy Lee Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    I have drastically changed my lifestyle, and by that I mean I get drunk with friends atleast once a week. Before I never saw anyone outside of work or school. I cant imagine waiting until I am 27 though, I have considered just finding some fat chick or something. Is the first time a big deal? Some people tell me to wait others say fuck a fat chick.

    Oh and I am in pretty good shape, I go to the gym and I am skinny.

    No, don't just settle for some dumb girl just so you can say that you did. That's stupid.

    It honestly doesn't matter whether you're a virgin or not. People who give you shit for that are probably insecure womanizers and are probably not worth paying any attention to.

    Just be yourself, do what feels right, and instead of regretting things, just learn from them. Everything is much, MUCH better when you aren't constantly worrying.

    Buddy Lee on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    No, do not find someone you don't like and fuck them just because you are impatient. That is not going to help your self esteem, not in the least.

    How old are you fizzy?

    I have a really hard time delivering my advice to you in a clear and concise way but in my limited experience I find that how people judge and react to you is directly correlative to how you carry yourself, and how you communicate.

    You aren't going to be respected by your coworkers or get laid without getting the basics of interpersonal communication down pat. You also need to stop assuming that you start out with everyone in negative territory. Even if people judge you at first glance, which some people do, you've not committed yourself to their assessment until you open your mouth, and if all you do is stutter and look at your feet then at best you've confirmed their shallow assumptions.

    It doesn't work the opposite way, you don't need friends and respect and a girlfriend to feel better about yourself so you can not be nervous and depressed. You need to stop being nervous and depressed so you can start impressing your piers and getting somewhere in the social realm.

    If you are feeling depressed about life then you should go pick up a history book and read about all those folk who died out in the hot sun building palaces for some emperor and then suddenly life is actually quite nice ;) Trust me, sometimes, it works.

    Jasconius on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    I try to put things in perspective, it works sometimes, but most of the time it doesn't because I compare myself to people around me that all have girlfriends or fuck a different chick every week. Also I am 21 and in the military.

    Fizban140 on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    I try to put things in perspective, it works sometimes, but most of the time it doesn't because I compare myself to people around me that all have girlfriends or fuck a different chick every week. Also I am 21 and in the military.

    Yeah, it's not easy, but you just have to find what works for you.

    You've got to find stuff in the interim that work for you, intellectual pursuits are always a good basis for improving ones mental state. The pleasure is less intense but longer lasting. Hobbies, activities, even solo, are good ways to get your mind off what is troubling you. Even if it's making helicopters out of popsicle sticks, just do it and take pictures.

    Jasconius on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Let me just expand a little bit since I can relate somewhat to you on a certain level.

    I am 21 like you, and single, with only one prior serious relationship.

    The average age of my friends is 27.

    It is very easy for me to examine my friends lives, most of whom are either happily married or engaged in happy relationships, and feel like crap about my own since I don't have any of that. And on top of that, like you have observed, most people at 21 are also in relationships already.

    Here are some of the things that help me circumvent this mental quandary.

    1) Life does not end at 30. I do not have to find some great love or necessarily any love at all in this decade of my life to ensure that it ever ends up happening.

    2) In the words of the late, great George Carlin, "life is a zero-sum game," and while he was talking about something slightly different the words still have meaning in this context as in, whatever you put into life, you're going to get it back equally in some other form. All these 21 year olds who are in committed relationships are inevitably sacrificing some other part of their lives to be as such, it's a mental, physical, and chronological investment that they are spending for that particular brand of satisfaction. What are you doing with all those resources you aren't spending on some loved one? You can either spend them all moping about how you haven't gotten any yet or you can put them towards something productive and useful, and get ahead in some other category.

    3) Like I already alluded to, "it could be worse". The human brain sucks, psychologically speaking. I can't tell you who did the research or writing on this but there is a concept in psychology that involves tiers of needs. These needs start at things like survival, and then go up towards things like money, power, relationships, etc. Once you've satisfied a certain tier like "i need to eat", then the fact that you've fulfilled that need soon has no meaning for you, you take it for granted, and you want to move up to the next tier, and you will not be satisfied until you've done so. Basically, yeah, it's hard to appreciate what you have because that's how the human brain is wired, but the knowledge of this should help in realizing that the fact that you aren't homeless and starving is at least something.

    Jasconius on
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    DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Jasconius wrote: »
    All these 21 year olds who are in committed relationships are inevitably sacrificing some other part of their lives to be as such, it's a mental, physical, and chronological investment that they are spending for that particular brand of satisfaction.

    This. This so much.
    People seem to forget that the "normal", regular lifestyle you believe you should be having is anything but normal or regular, it's just one lifestyle among many, and it has its ups and downs. Except your lack of self confidence, and details like that, do you really find your life wrong? Like, don't compare it to anyone else's. Are you satisfied with what you're doing? If not completely, then improve the parts that are not like you want them to be. It's easy to think your life is weird when you compare yourself to the "norm", but if you're not, well, normal (for lack of a better word), then forcing yourself to live a normal life will not be natural. Sure, you could try and go out there, bang any chick, or go out and try to get into a steady relationship as fast as possible, but do you want to? What's more, do you want to because you feel like you should, or do you genuinely want to?

    It's not fun to feel you're weird, but it's no better to force yourself into things you don't want to do.
    So, in the end, just do what you feel is right, and focus on improving whatever YOU (and no one else) feel is wrong.

    Djiem on
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    RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    an amazing way to gain self confidence is to get in shape, if you're not already

    you're not going to (hopefully) turn into some raging douchebag but if you know you look good, you'll easily gain confidence

    and I'm not talking about just fat/thin

    take care of yourself and you'll feel better

    Raneados on
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    LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    I try to put things in perspective, it works sometimes, but most of the time it doesn't because I compare myself to people around me that all have girlfriends or fuck a different chick every week. Also I am 21 and in the military.

    YUK!!! That does not make anyone successful, that just means they are selfish, insecure, can't hold down a relationship, don't value themselves/the women they meet.

    Sex is not the be-all or end-all of life, its just part of it. When you meet the right woman, it will happen, whether she's fat/skinny, tall/short, pretty/ordinary. Don't measure yourself against those jerks. Do you think they're happy? They're just collecting notches on the bedposts. That doesn't make for happiness.

    On the confidence stuff, Iused to be very shy, worried what people thought of me all the time, and had very few friends. I could be argumentative and a bit prickly, cos I think I'm right most of the time. Most, not all.

    I decided to pretend I'm confident (I'm a Management Development trainer, amongst other things) cos I needed to appear confident in my job. I used to throw up before every course I delivered, it was dreadful. Then I just decided, sack this, I'll just pretend. So I did. I got so good at pretending, people believed I was confident - I looked people in the eye, told them what I thought about stuff, what they could do to fix their management problems, stuff like that. And I smiled at people, asked them stuff about themselves, and listened to them.

    I don't remember when it happened, but after a while, I was confident, it wasn't a pretence at all.People liked me, cos I was interested in them. I still get shy, although most people can't tell that, and sometimes get a bit anxious about social situations, so I just talk to myself about what I'm going to do, who I'll meet, what I'll talk to them about. I also have learnt to work a room, chat to lots of people, be friendly, just for the fun of it. Lots of people are a bit awquard socially, having someone else be friendly to them helps them out.

    LewieP's Mummy on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Speaking personally, is there a large difference between how you are expected to look and act and how you'd like too? I mean, obviously everyone wants to tell the boss to piss off once in a while, I'm not talking about that shit.

    I mean, is how you are forced to present yourself grossly out of step with your self image? That can create a lot of dissonance.

    JohnnyCache on
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    MordenMorden Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Like others have said in this thread, confidence is all about thinking better of yourself. If you think you suck, you will naturally gravitate towards sucking, and it will, whether you like it or not, reflect itself in everything you do.

    Part of having confidence is not giving a crap about what others think about you. That doesn't mean that it is totally irrelevant, it means that you should realize when it comes down to it, you are the one who is making the decisions for you. Ever see that silly above the influence commercial done in fast-forward with the kid being dressed by his friends and peers? Put the anti-drug message aside, and it's totally what I'm getting from, from you. You shouldn't let anyone define who you are. You can let them influence you, but never feel bad about a decision you made that was best for you. That's confidence.

    The last is - practice, practice, practice. There will be times you will strike out. There will be times you're going to come off looking foolish. But keep at it. Don't worry so much about what people think - just go for it, and mind your social cues, and in time, it gets easier to do. Hanging around with people who will accept you for who and what you are is also a big boost. Someone not giving you the time of day? Good, that person probably isn't worth your damn time anyway. Even if they are, you should exude a sense that whatever the outcome, it doesn't matter because you're sure of what you're doing. That's confidence.

    Morden on
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    QuirkQuirk Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Fizban140 wrote: »

    I decided to pretend I'm confident (I'm a Management Development trainer, amongst other things) cos I needed to appear confident in my job. I used to throw up before every course I delivered, it was dreadful. Then I just decided, sack this, I'll just pretend. So I did. I got so good at pretending, people believed I was confident - I looked people in the eye, told them what I thought about stuff, what they could do to fix their management problems, stuff like that. And I smiled at people, asked them stuff about themselves, and listened to them.

    I don't remember when it happened, but after a while, I was confident, it wasn't a pretence at all.People liked me, cos I was interested in them. I still get shy, although most people can't tell that, and sometimes get a bit anxious about social situations, so I just talk to myself about what I'm going to do, who I'll meet, what I'll talk to them about. I also have learnt to work a room, chat to lots of people, be friendly, just for the fun of it. Lots of people are a bit awquard socially, having someone else be friendly to them helps them out.

    See now this is, in my opinion (and experience) an excellent course of action. If you pretend to be confident for long enough then you will be, or at least other people won't know you aren't and really, at the end of the day WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

    Ask people questions and be interested in what they say back. Listen to people, don't just wait for your turn to talk and people will like you more and you'll feel better about yourself, which helps again.

    And if it doesn't work, and people manage to make you feel small? Fuck what they think about you, keep acting confident, and if you make a social faux pas brush it off lightly and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself. People who can't laugh at themselves tend to (again, just in my experience) alienate people, at least to a degree.

    Basically, it all comes down to; Relax, Treat people well and act confident consistently and if it comes down to it, talk to a professional. There is NO SHAME IN TALKING TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS HOW TO HELP YOU!

    Overall, No Worries

    Quirk on
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    MrMonroeMrMonroe passed out on the floor nowRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Strongly second the smile thing. That's important.

    And go to the gym if you don't already. This works on a very similar mechanic as smiling. You will feel better about yourself, even before you perceptibly change your body.

    MrMonroe on
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