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3 Insecurities We All Have And How To Deal With Them

3 Insecurities We All Have And How To Deal With Them

As a human, you will have times when you feel insecure. It’s part of life. But there are ways to turn those insecurities into strengths without changing who you are as a person. What you need to decide is whether or not you want to change certain things about yourself. If everyone worked to become the same person, there would be no individuality, no uniqueness and the world would lose its beauty. It is your weaknesses and your strengths that make you who you are.

But what if you do want to change? What if you want to take the person you are to the next level? For many people that step is difficult because we feel insecure.

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Let’s look at a common insecurity many people have: shyness. People who are shy might worry they won’t make friends or they’ll fail in a job interview. There’s nothing wrong with being shy; it’s a part of who you are. But, you can still be shy and learn how to carry on an engaging conversation with someone. That might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s quite possible. What it comes down to is which is more important to you: keeping quiet or trying to make a friend; being afraid to speak up or getting your dream job.

Here are three common insecurities people struggle with and ways to overcome them without changing who you are. You might feel insecure about:

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1. How Others Will Perceive You

This is an insecurity everyone struggles with. We are afraid of being judged because of our appearance, children, attitude, homes, spouses, everything. Worrying every minute of every day about what someone else thinks is no way to live. The best advice I can give is what I have found to help me in my life:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Judgment from others can be harsh and debilitating, but only if you let it. You can choose to be offended or you can choose to accept who you are. This can be hard if you’re spending most of your time comparing yourself to people around you. Especially because we make habits of comparing our weaknesses with other people’s strengths.
  • Focus on your positive features, characteristics, strengths, etc. You have talents and skills; admit that to yourself. It’s alright to have a little pride in yourself (just don’t get carried away!).
  • When you do find a flaw in yourself you want to change, make a plan to work on it. But don’t be discouraged when change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience.
  • Don’t judge others. If you want to worry less about what other people think about you, then do the same for them. Don’t judge people because of their clothes, their job or even the way they talk. Give them a chance; give them the benefit of the doubt.

2. If You Will Ever Find The “Right” One

This topic once sat true with me. I dated a lot in college and from those experiences I thought I figured out what I wanted. All the guys I dated were the same kind of guy, similar look, similar interests, similar education; you get the picture. None of these relationships ever worked out. I started getting discouraged, wondering if it was my fault.

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It wasn’t until I took time to find out who I was and I focused on myself and what I wanted out of life that I decided to move out of my normal dating pool and date someone different. It was then I found my husband.

He was not what I expected at all. And to my surprise he was better than the rest. We’ve been married five years now; we have two kids (hoping for more) and a dog. Our life isn’t the “dream” I imagined but he loves me for who I am and for the wife and mother I’ve become. I couldn’t ask for anything better than that. If you worry about finding “the one,” remember these five pointers:

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  • You need to know who you are. I finally reached a point in my life in which I knew who I was and I wasn’t going to change for a man, no matter how good other people said he was. Spend time on yourself instead of trying to fit into a mold for another person’s life.
  • Give someone a chance you normally wouldn’t. That’s not changing who you are as person, it’s broadening your views. You never know how well you’ll get along with someone until you actually try.
  • Put yourself out there. If you don’t try to date or meet new people, it won’t happen. This can be hard for a lot of people but it’s doable. Go to social events; get to know people at work or at school.
  • Don’t be afraid of getting hurt. Break ups are hard. You were with that person because you had a connection and when you broke up, all of a sudden the connection was severed. It’s hard to go through but each relationship you’re in has lessons to be learned and value in it. Take what you can from each relationship and keep trying to find that special someone.
  • Know that relationships take work. Being in a relationship is hard. It takes compromise, communication and effort on both parts. Don’t hold double standards. Don’t hold grudges. Support one another. Remember “love” is a verb; it requires action. If you don’t work on it, it will fail. It’s like a flame, if you neglect it, it will burn out.

3. If You Will Become Successful

Success in life can be determined by money, fame, family, living arrangements, etc. In order to be successful in life decide what is most important. Do you want money? Do you want a happy family? Do you want a huge house? There’s nothing wrong with wanting these things. But decide what your priorities are.

  • If your priority is to make money, that is where most of your time and effort should go. You’re going to have to work long hours and educate yourself in your desired industry.
  • If your priority is family, you should fulfill your responsibilities to them. This could include working to support them but also spending time with them. Be involved. Have open communication. Make sure your relationships always come first.
  • Can you have more than one priority? Sure. But one will always be at the top of your list. You need to choose which one will take precedence over everything else.
  • Once you know your priority, sit down, set goals and make plans on what you’ll do to stay on course. You should have a daily reminder of what’s important to you.

In my family, our top priority is family and happiness; our careers come second. Let’s say an opportunity for a career were to present itself for my husband or I, but it required 60 or 70 hours a week; we would turn it down, no matter how good the money was. We made that decision when we got married. Family first. Our jobs are sufficient for our lifestyle. If we ever decide we want more, we can revisit the topic and figure out what we’re willing to sacrifice to make changes.

Decide how you will determine what success means to you and then do everything you can to achieve it. When you spend all your time in life worrying about the big things, you miss out on the beautiful little things that happen all around you. Take time to appreciate what you have, what you’re working towards and how much you have accomplished and learned along the way.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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