I don't know where else to find this.. my parents give horrible advice. I just need someone with life experience to help a young guy out! Is there a way to improve confidence? Or is it just something that happens through life experiences? Should I go ahead and "DO SOMETHING" about my low self esteem? Or should I just "go with the flow".... I don't know what or where my "flow" is.. Should I try things like standing up straight... speaking louder.. making eye contact.. and all of the "confident" crap? Or should I just go with the flowww...? Nothing happens when I go with the flow :(. I know this isn't paleo.. but everyone on this website seems so down to earth and NORMAL. I don't want any weird self help book/ psychology answers... just real answers from real people. what do you guys think?
Some practical ways to build confidence (without the theory behind it):
1 - Set goals and do them. Success is taking action, not necessarily succeeding in your goals. Goals can be related to everything that is of value to you specifically (some examples: women, finances, improving your deadlift 1RM, school/university grades, etc.)
2 - Extend social circle. Humans are social critters.
3 - Help other people. We like it when we can help other people out. ( Some psychologists even say we like having friends because we can help them with their stuff and in turn feel validated about ourselves.) In fact, I'm doing it right now.
4 - Try to extrovert a.m.a.p.: Focus on your environment instead of your inner monologues, thoughts, negative thinking (all this stuff is holding you back from what you actually, really want). Think about those moments when you felt happiest/the most alive. Chances are that you were in the moment, in 'flow state' and were not consciously pondering things at all.
5. Confront your fears. Most fears, and other factors that cause a lack of confidence, are irrational and the way to most effectively change them is by experiencing them. Most likely outcome: nothing bad will happen and the fear will dissipate. This is actually a stoist principle (if you're interested in stoicism, read letters from a stoic by seneca, or meditations by marcus aurelius).
Most important thing: Don't read a bunch of self-help books, that will only lead to information overload and analysis paralysis. Figure out what you want in life and then put as much action as possible into it in order to achieve it.
Best thing for confidence is making and attaining goals. Start out small and go from there. I think if you are already paleo, then you are already doing it. Make goals around your diet, at the end of every week that you have avoided processed foods, grains, sugars, give yourself a little pat on the back, youve accomplished something most people cant, or dont, wont. Do the same for your paleo workout/fitness schedule.
I really like the SMART goal setting idea. S - Specific M - Measurable A - Attainable R - Relevant T - Timed
Sticking with this, you can set up things that matter and that you can do. you will be able to see on a regular basis what you can accomplish, and then push yourself to accomplish more. Very little in this world boosts confidence as much as doing what you have set out to do, sometimes you just need a little structure around it so you can actually see all you are doing.
Also, nothing is a sexy to a woman as confidence, and getting some on the regular is good for the confidence, and so on, and so on. Its a vicious circle, but a great one.
I know that you asked for a non psychobabble answer, but im a psychotherapist so thats what youre going to get! Sigmund Freud said, "Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness," and never were truer words spoken. Part of what youre experiencing is so typical for your age and stage of life, and I SO DONT mean for that to sound condescending! Anyone who has said they never felt that way is a damned liar. It's something that all of us here can relate to, and frankly, something that everyone you know can relate to, though they wont ever admit it. Part of it is age and stage of life- that seemingly endless search for who you are, who you want to be with, what you want to do. That only will become more clear with time but not many people feel confident all the time in every situation. It's something we all struggle with throughout our lives; new jobs, new relationships, learning new things about ourselves and loved ones, etc. being in a new city for the first time alone- bonus points for not knowing the language and culture. Confidence isnt something you HAVE or DONT HAVE- its a process of learning about yourself. And yes, I know that sounds corny and canned, but, the keys are good work, and good love. Find your passion and pursue it. Find some relationships that fulfill you. Like you said in response to someone elses comment, it should come from inside, not external experiences. You'll get there, and I suspect that it will be sooner rather than later if youre half as honest with yourself in real life as you are here on the internwebs.
ok, from a guy's perspective: if you're still in high school, don't sweat it. the world changes so much for the better afterwards for the most of us. you strike me as a very thoughtful type of person. guys like that do very well in college and into our twenties. the best part is, as you get older, women really start to value those qualities and trust me, nothing does a man's ego better than having a hot woman on his arm and the quiet confidence of knowing that you got her being you... at least this has been my experience. good luck.
I used to have issues with this as well, so I totally feel for ya man. What worked for me is a "fake it 'til you make it" approach. Stick your head up high and don't be afraid to boast and be a little playfully arrogant.
After a while you just have to realize how awesome you really are. You're doing Paleo, so you're a healthy dude which is very rare in this day and age. You're different, you're unique. Those kinds of people change the world.
When I was obese and unhappy with the lowest self esteem of my life, I walked with my head down all the time. I avoided my reflection in doors and windows and mirrors. I dressed in all black and tried to make myself invisible.
As I have lost weight and gained strength and confidence, I learned to walk with my head up and make eye contact with people. I started wearing brighter colors and wanting people to notice me. It wasn't easy. The first time I went to a group fitness class I was scared to death. I sat outside in my car and had to talk myself into going into the gym. And this was a gym that I had been going to for awhile! I just hadn't taken classes.
What I'm trying to say is, MAKE YOURSELF DO IT. The flow isn't going to get you anywhere. Sign up for a class, go to the Atlanta Paleo meetup, PUSH YOURSELF TO DO IT, because no one else is going to. You obviously really want to improve your self esteem and confidence. It's going to be work, it's going to mean putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, but you will learn and grow with each and every one.
I assure you, many of us are OCD or different... I run around in the woods with groups of people with swords... normal. down to earth swords... Its all good here.
When I was grossly overweight, I found I was insecure, socially inept, and felt out of place and judged all the time. as Sad as it is, people treat you differently when you eat SAD.
Give it time, get your weight down, your testosterone up. Meet some likeminded people(or just talk to us online)
I forget the exact quote, but the rough of it is "fake it till you make it". "You are what you project" etc etc. The point is, stand straight, act like you feel comfortable, and keep doing that, eventually your brain says, "im supposed to be doing this" and it happens automatically.
I can tell you undeniably that shoulders back and chest up, not puffed out like a peacock, just not slouched, makes you feel a ton more comfortable. Theres scientific backing to this as well, from an evolutionary psychology standpoint.
All of this starts to come VERY easily when your Testosterone is higher. Check out my testosterone post, its a HUGE help to your confidence. http://paleohacks.com/questions/17035/jack-up-your-testosterone#axzz1BuNZO3G6
People always roll their eyes when I say this sort of thing, but I'm wholly of the mind that proper nutrition rights most mental aberrations, of which the aforementioned most likely is. I had really bad anxiety and OCD tendencies before, but I have almost none now unless I'm anticipating something highly undesirable, like flying.
What's your diet like? Is your fat intake high enough? Vitamin D3 etc.?
There are three things that really improved my confidence and personal comfort level. 1.) age- I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin until I was about 28, 2.) a happy marriage- always knowing that there is one mostly sane person who adores you really helps to shake off concern over whether other people do, and 3.) changing my eating habits- dropping the soy and adding in a lot (a LOT!) of healthy animal fats and coconut oil really helped to balance my mood and hormones. It turns out that a lot of my self esteem issues were more nerves than anything else.
If your self esteem issues come from hormone issues, general health, and so on, then simply eating a healthy diet (preferably high in animal fat) will probably help a lot. If you're very young, then simply aging will probably help. If it's a psychological issue, then I have no idea. But if you have friends and family who love you A LOT and are very supportive, then try to spend more time around them. It does wonders for an inferiority complex.
SherpaMelissa is right, though- the flow won't do anything for you if you're not already moving. Did you ever see Finding Nemo? Going with the flow (in the EAC) got them where they wanted to go pretty fast- but first they had to find their way into the flow.
And by the way, taking yourself out of the equation really helps to. Really love up on the people that you care about, and you won't have as much time to worry about yourself.
Oh there is so much I want to say to you! And like Sherpamelissa said, give you a HUG!
First, don't be so hard on yourself. Seriously. Take a deep breath, you're human. You're not perfect and no one else is either. Its okay and its okay to love yourself too.
what I'd like to say to you is...don't be afraid of people because everyone is a little nerdy or dorky. EVERYONE. Seriously, they just show it in different ways. Some people are dorks when it comes to football or sports. Some people are nerds when it comes to studying for school, being in the drama club, or history. Some people are dorks when it comes to craft projects. Some people are nerds when it comes to video games. You get the picture. Everyone geeks out about something. You sound like a nice person and I bet if you just start asking people about what they are passionate about and listen, you'll have made a friend without even knowing it.
Likewise, everyone is faking it. Everyone has something they don't like about themselves. Most of the time they are covering for it. You'll find this out OR already know this about your close friends. Most of the time YOU don't even care, or mind, or notice. Give yourself the same love and courtesy you give to them.
Beyond that...My advice to you...especially in college...GET INVOLVED.
Do you play sports? or crossfit? I would HIGHLY recommend to get involved in a intramural sports team, a fun welcoming crossfit box, doing a couple 5Ks or something of the like. Invite people to come try it with you. Get around people who are healthy and positive, sports are an easy way to do that. Don't take yourself too seriously, don't be afraid to be silly or feel awkward (everyone feels awkward at times) or even laugh at yourself. Good people find that endearing and it makes them feel more comfortable around you.
Have you gone to your student center? Have you gone to the events they've put on? bingo night, game night, bowling, concerts, plays, talent show, sporting events, comedy night, chess team, debate team, etc. Go! Most of the time it is free or a couple of bucks and totally worth it. Meet new people, don't be afraid to approach someone. Most people won't approach you because they are afraid. Be the icebreaker - ask them questions "what year are you? what classes are you taking? who is your favorite professor/which professor do you like the least? what is your favorite subject? what do you want to do after graduation? What do you like to do for fun? are you orginally from around here?" Go see what it is all about, don't be afraid to give it a second chance if you didn't like it the first time.
You can't let life pass you by. Don't let fear hold you back. When I say this what I mean is - if you want to go to the movies or to a concert or party but no one is inviting you...invite THEM. Be the one to organize it. Call some friends up, facebook some people and say "hey you want to go see this movie/concert/event put on by the student center?" cast a WIDE net and don't give up. People get busy and if you ask them more than once they are more likely to say "yes" and/or ask YOU next time they are doing something. Also, helps if you're involved in a sports team/crossfit box you can ask all of them plus people in your classes, plus any people you have met at other events.
Just remember that even if you aren't "good" at something, just the challenge of making an effort, learning something new, improving, and completeing will build confidence. You have to start somewhere.
I hope this has helped!
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