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6 Signs People Have Low Self-Esteem but Seem Confident

6 Signs People Have Low Self-Esteem but Seem Confident

In today’s world, you must be confident in order to survive. It’s something you absolutely cannot fake. People see right through pseudo-confidence, no matter how you try to mask it. More importantly, self-esteem comes not from what others think of you, but rather from what you think of yourself. Being untruthful to yourself ultimately leads to incredibly low self-esteem and self-worth. The following are examples of people who may appear confident, but in truth are incredibly diffident.

They always look their best in public

I’m not saying that all people who dress well are hiding low self-esteem. However, people who feel the need to take an hour to get ready just to go get milk and eggs obviously are uncomfortable with how other people perceive them. You might think that by going overboard with your appearance you’re making others jealous, but all you’re really doing is wasting your own time. In the real world, nobody cares what you look like at Shop Rite. They just want to get their groceries and get back home.

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They always look busy in public

I think everyone’s guilty of this one at some point in their lives. You’re waiting for a bus, or for your friend to show up. You feel silly just staring into space, so you pick up your phone and pretend to have found something interesting to read. When really all you’re doing is playing Crossy Road. Why do we do this? Why do we care if passer-bys think we look awkward by just sitting and waiting? There really is no reason to pretend we’re busy just for the sake of looking busy. Again, people with low self-esteem tend to care what others think about them, so much so that they give them something to think about at all times.

They assume they know what others think… because it’s how they think

This goes along with the previous entries. People with low self-esteem are obsessed with keeping up appearances. The key word in that sentence is “appearances.” They strive to appear to be something they’re not. Using the previous examples, these hypothetical people actually believe that others have the time to observe and judge them. It’s really just a reflection of themselves. The person who gets dressed up to go to the gas station will be the first to judge someone who wore sweats and a raggy shirt to the same place. The person who pretends to be doing something important on their phone is the first to call attention to the person who’s sitting and waiting patiently. In actuality, the people dressed in rags are the truly confident ones, because they really don’t care at all about what anyone else thinks about them.

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They use coping and escape mechanisms to handle stress

Confident people handle stress by dealing with the situation and growing from it. People with low self-esteem handle stress by drinking, smoking, or engaging in otherwise risky behaviors that are detrimental to themselves and those around them. For some, this vicious cycle never ends. They get stressed out, so they get wasted. Then they wake up even more stressed due to lack of sleep and a hangover… and the problem hasn’t even gone away. So what do they do? Head for the fridge. If we could just learn to face our troubles head on, we would realize that dealing with bad situations is much easier than avoiding them.

They’re dishonest with others and themselves

Those that are confident have nothing to hide, and therefore are always truthful. Their less-confident counterparts, on the other hand, may be ashamed of something within themselves, and are more prone to telling lies or exaggerating truths. As with everything we’ve spoken about, this is only a reflection of oneself. The better thing to do would be to be honest with yourself, and work toward changing the aspects of your life that you’ve become unhappy with. Trying to bury them is not productive, and simply does not work.

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They exhibit arrogance, not confidence

There is a huge difference between a confident person and an arrogant one. Confident people can back up their boasts with actions, while arrogant people believe they know it all, yet never put their money where their mouth is. Arrogant people will be the first to point out other people’s flaws, but confident people will be the ones to help those people succeed. Arrogance is not being self-confident; it’s being self-centered. While arrogant people always look for how they can improve their world, confident people constantly look to how they can improve the world around them.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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