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10 Words People Who Are Not Confident Always Use

10 Words People Who Are Not Confident Always Use

A famous comedian relates this anecdote about his start in show business. He had a minor role in a biblical stage play with a short speaking part to be delivered as he assisted a high-ranking Roman soldier.

The dialogue was pretty straightforward. The Roman soldier was to ask him, “Is my sword ready?” and he was to answer, “It is.” He rehearsed his two-worded line endlessly. The theater was full on opening night, which made him quite nervous.

Finally, his one shining moment came.

Roman soldier: “Is my sword ready?”

His loud, excited reply: “Is it?”

And that was the end of his stage career.

Words, even when monosyllabic, carry meaning, and the subtlest of adjustments can totally flip the table (or the script). More importantly, words have manifesting power. If you find yourself short on confidence, check to see if these words form part of your regular dialogue.

1. Might

“I might take the college entrance test.”
“I might fail.”
“I might just forget about college.”

Might is an ambivalent word that shows a lack of intention and direction. Using might on your weekly planning, daily to-do lists, or in response to others’ requests could result in tasks left undone. That’s precisely because in your thoughts and speech, you don’t appear to care either way. Eliminate this word from your vocabulary. Go for a YES or NO. If you are not sure about whether or not to do a task, think “maybe” but give it a deadline and convert soon to a YES or NO. It’s not about saying yes all the time; it’s about making a decision either way. You move from not confident to decisive.

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2. Won’t

“It won’t work.”

“I won’t be able to do that.”

Won’t is a defeatist word that assumes failure in a race even before the first step is taken. People who think and say this word often base their negative thinking on a couple of past experiences. When you conclude in your mind that a process, a project, or you will fail, that is exactly what will happen. Open your belief to the real probability of success with, “That could work” or, “Yes, I think I can do that.” As you become more optimistic, good results will start happening to move you from not confident to positive thinker.

3. Usually

“This is usually the way we do it.”

“I usually work better solo.”

Usually is a status quo-type of word that accepts things as they are. Things are just that way, end of story. It’s a word that closes the door to finding newer, better ways of doing things. It’s sometimes used to justify laziness. Instead, think of alternatives, options, and new things. Be willing to think and say “We can try another way” or “I will take a chance working with this team,” and get ready to be surprised by your adaptability and other new discoveries. As new things become usual to you, your experience and expertise grows. And so does your confidence.

4. Suspect

“I suspect there will be a company takeover.”

“I suspect there is a catch to their proposal offer.”

Unlike the previous words, which mostly affects the speaker, suspect brings a shadow of suspicion on another person’s motive and sows intrigue and fear in others. Verbalizing your negative thinking contaminates those around you. It causes low morale and an air of distrust that affects relationships and productivity. Drop suspect altogether from your thoughts and speech. Stop judging, accept news and gestures at face value, and improve your interpersonal skills.

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5. Impossible

“That’s impossible; it has never been done.”

“It’s impossible for me to work with [fill in person, task, or department].”

Impossible combines the defeatism of won’t and the status quo of usually to firmly lock the door to new successes. The danger of impossible is in the passion you use when you say the word, often with a raised voice and a strong hand gesture. The stronger the feeling that is attached to a word, the surer and sooner it will manifest. As you continue to use impossible in your thoughts and words, you will notice less positive things happening in your life. From not confident, you could drop to outright fearful. Throw out impossible from your vocabulary. Shift to “not possible” and then to “could be possible” and finally to “Yes, it can be done!”

6. Worried

“I’m worried about my presentation.”

“I’m worried the client will not be satisfied.”

Worried is the reason people are not confident. Being worried comes from imagining a bad or worst case scenario. Its two components are (1) thinking ahead and (2) fearing a negative outcome. When you find yourself thinking ahead to the day of your presentation or project submission, summon a positive image of a supportive audience and an impressed client. Smile, hear the audience applauding, and feel the firm handshake of your happy client. If you are unable to imagine a positive image, then focus only on the present moment as you complete the project and prepare for the presentation. Pediatricians chat up children to talk about something interesting and then swiftly deliver the shot. They know it’s the fear of the needle—not the actual shot—that makes the process worrisome.

7. Confused

“I’m confused about my team leader’s work expectations.”

“I’m confused if he wants to seriously continue this relationship.”

Sometimes, a confusing situation is to be blamed for the ambivalence of might and the defeatist attitude of won’t. If you don’t know what your work objective is, you won’t be able to take steps to get there. If you don’t know how you stand in a relationship, you won’t know how committed you can be. Among the words people who are not confident use, confused is the simplest to get rid of. Get yourself out of the confusion to a place of clear understanding by speaking to your team leader or your significant other. Ask clear, direct questions. Explain you want to understand their expectations so you can act accordingly, from not confident to sure of yourself.

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8. Need

“I need to buy expensive suits before I go to any job interview.”

“I need to be sure there is no risk of getting turned down before I ask her out.”

Need acts like a stalling tactic and a justification for failing. It’s also a dream stopper. It’s you setting up conditions—which are often unnecessary—for you to succeed. Many people say this common dialogue that applies to any dream.

“I want to write a book but …”

“I need to finish sending all my children to college first.”

“I need to keep working to save up.”

“I need to find time to focus.”

“I need to take some writing courses.”

“I need to gather more writing experience.”

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If they end up not living the dream, they give the above reasons for their so-called failure, which is actually a non-start. It’s better to try and fail, than to fail to try. The experience of engaging in an action or a relationship is far more important than the result. When you are not too attached to the results, you actually don’t need much to start.

9. Quandary

“I’m in quandary about staying with the company or going freelance.”

“It’s a big quandary for me—take the overseas job offer or stay and nurture this promising relationship.”

Being in a quandary, unlike being confused, means you know the consequences of each choice, but you are uncertain of how much impact it will have down the road. You’re unsure if you’re ready to give up one thing for something else. It takes time, research, and lots of contemplation to get out of a quandary. Give yourself time to weigh things, but do not stay in quandary for longer than necessary, so you don’t get stuck. Don’t rush your decision either. When you do arrive at a decision, move forward and don’t look back.

10. Likely

“I will likely meet the deadline.”

“The client will likely disagree with our proposal.”

Likely is very similar to the ambivalent might but has a higher probability of happening, positively or negatively. It still is not certain. Likely comes across as uncommitted and shows a lack of effort or motivation to make it a sure thing. To change likely to a definite YES, find out what it is about the project or the proposal that is giving you doubts and address them one by one. Like might, this is about removing those doubts and making a definite decision, either way. Go from almost confident to assuredly so.

All these words have an air of uncertainty and negativity that feeds on such feelings and creates a cycle of negative beliefs and negative outcomes. End the cycle with naturally gained self confidence. Be clear about what YOU want. You don’t want anything bad happening, so that’s where you start. Visualize a positive experience and outcome and then take steps to produce that. In such a scenario, not-confident will have absolutely NO part.

Featured photo credit: Peter via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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