Confidence comes with being relaxed and at ease, at ease with ourselves and with the situation in which we find ourselves. Often when a person is lacking in confidence it is because they are preoccupied with what they imagine others are thinking about them, how they are being judged, how they feel that they come across. What they forget is that most people are more likely to be thinking about themselves and their own situation rather than about another person.
It is valuable to take time to look at positive ways of overcoming those thoughts and fears. Often the key to success in these matters is in becoming more focused on other people and removing our attention away from ourselves and how we are feeling and thinking. It is about adopting almost a childlike approach to new opportunities and immersing ourselves in the moment.
Let us look at some ways of becoming more confident without even trying:
– Act as if you are really confident. Imagine that this is your event and you are feeling good and in control.
– When meeting new people introduce yourself straight away and ask the other persons name. Just go with the flow and immerse yourself in the situation. This avoids giving yourself time to start feeling tense or anxious. It will help the other person to relax and become comfortable. You start to make a connection.
– Smile, be friendly, look approachable and forget about yourself. Breathe calmly.
– Empathise with the other person, imagine how they are feeling, put yourself in their shoes. Take your focus away from yourself.
– Be genuinely interested in the other person. Ask questions and really listen to their answers.
– Demonstrate that you are actively listening to them. Pay attention to what is being said.
– Reflect back what you have heard by following with appropriate questions. Have a conversation, a two-way exchange of views and opinions.
– Remember what you have been told at any future meetings. It shows interest and respect for them.
– Think how you can help the other person. For example, could you recommend them and their business, or do they need help in finding a babysitter, gardener, trades person.
Then afterwards, ways of maintaining and building on what has been started and keeping the dynamic going:
– Be sociable. Suggest meeting up for a coffee and a chat at a later date. Keep it light and friendly.
– Be proactive. Get on the mailing lists for theatre, concerts, events. Circulate the lists and encourage people to get involved.
– Suggest outings, cinema, bowling, lunch from time to time. Keep the momentum going.
– Join in with a group who are talking. Do not wait to be asked. Keeping ones distance can sometimes appear a little standoffish, so indicate an interest in being included. But be sensitive too. If someone appears to be having a private conversation then it is important to respect that.
– Appreciate that everything is not always about you. Sometimes things may not go your way, you may be rejected and the fact is, not everyone will like you or want to do what you suggest. Also sometimes a person may have other stresses or problems in their life that affect their behaviour, mood and temper. Understand that and learn to not take offence. It is all part of having adult relationships and interactions with people.
By keeping an open mind to situations and responding with a genuine interest and enthusiasm to opportunities you will find that your confidence grows. Self-consciousness becomes a thing of the past. Enjoy the potential for happiness and new experiences will come your way.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist