Advertising

How to Get Over Your Insecurities

Advertising
How to Get Over Your Insecurities

Last month, I published an article called “10 Things Insecure People Do That Slowly Destroy Their Lives.” A reader reached out to me on Twitter basically saying, “yeah, so what? You’ve identified the problem, but now you need to tell me how to solve it.” So I pitched this article as a follow-up piece; since I already identified the problems, now I can help offer some solutions. I picked some of the tips that I thought worked the best, especially in conjunction with my previous article. I hope this helps other readers out there as much as it helps me!

1. Be objective.

I’ve found that it helps if I talk to myself like I was someone else. That makes me sound crazy, right? Strangely enough, I actually give good advice to others when they’re facing insecurities or having problems. I just never follow my own advice. So when you’re facing your own insecurities, or can’t seem to get past a difficult speed bump in your life, step back and look at your situation objectively.

What advice would you give to a friend in your situation? If you’re scared of going to a party where you know no one, pep yourself up by saying you never know who you might meet; it’s great to talk to new people and learn about them. Don’t allow yourself any excuses, and push yourself to actually take the advice you come up with. Not allowing yourself a loophole to stay at home instead of go somewhere new will help you feel more secure and confident.

Advertising

2. Write down your fears.

Writing might seem like a passive action to take, but it’s a really helpful step! When you write things down, you’re getting them out of your head and looking at them in a different way. Instead of turning negative thoughts over and over in your mind, you have them down on paper so you can read over them.

Be honest when you read them and decide what is a logical fear, and what is irrational, like you being worried about what people think of you, or being considered a failure by your parents. Think about your fears and decide what you can let go, and what you can work to improve. Knowing your fears instead of being blind-sided by them in social or work situations will help you feel more secure in your daily life.

3. Celebrate your successes.

You’re written down your failures, but don’t forget your successes! You’ve gotten this far in life, so of course you’ve done some good. If you were a good student, remember your time in school and be proud of it. If you were just hired for your dream job, make sure you celebrate that instead of focusing on the fear of failing in the position. Celebrate even your smallest successes—sometimes checking a few things off of your To Do list is cause for celebration!

Advertising

If you start thinking negatively of your successes by saying it’s been too long since you’ve accomplished something, or anything along those lines, then make sure you turn around your way of thinking and make it positive again. Remembering past positive experiences will help you realize that there is much more good to come, and that you deserve it.

4. Change what you can.

Instead of hating certain things about yourself, try to change what you can. If you hate being short, you’re out of luck, but focus on things you can change. If you hate how you sit on the couch for hours after work, then push yourself to go to the gym and then cook dinner and be social after work. If you’re tired of worrying about every little thing, then start talking yourself out of those worries and making everything more positive.

Even if it takes a long time for you to change anything, just taking the action will motivate you enough to keep going. You’ll know you’re making progress because of the way you’re thinking, and taking control of your life and making change happen will push away those insecurities.

Advertising

5. Start saying yes.

When I was going through insecure times, I had a hard time saying yes to anything. It was too easy to say no to any social engagement, or to talking to a friend, or anything. I didn’t want to do anything because it was more secure for me to sit at home. I don’t even really know why I would say no. If I stopped to think about it, nothing horrible would have happened if I said yes.

Once I started questioning why I said no, I realized it was easier to say yes and try to put myself out there more. Just like in step 4, if you start saying yes, then you’re changing a bit of yourself. You’re taking charge of your situation by saying yes and facing new experiences instead of closing yourself off and living the same life day in and day out.

6. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others is the easiest way to cut down your self esteem. How insecure do you feel when you compare your outfit to someone else’s, or when you think their life is so much easier than yours? In truth, that person might not be that comfortable in their clothes, and they probably have more problems than you know.

Advertising

Though you may not realize it, thinking this way of others is actually a way of judging them. When you look at someone and judge them, you’re cutting them down to trying and raise yourself up—but does it really make you feel any better? You’re just being negative, and even if you judge them in a way that makes them look bad, you’re still comparing yourself to them.

Instead, raise other people up. Compliment them, smile, and see how much of that positivity you get back. You’ll feel better because you’re being more positive, and you’ll feel more secure because people will enjoy being around you more, and will smile and return compliments and goodwill to you.

7. Keep good company.

Have good friends. If someone in your social circle is negative and criticizes you and others for every little thing, you need to get away from them. No matter how good of a person you think you are, that type of behavior is infectious and will impact your own outlook. Be around people who are nurturing, who will compliment you when you deserve it and support you during both good and bad times. Make sure these are people you genuinely care about, so you won’t have to think twice about treating them the same way they treat you.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: anna gutermuth via flickr.com

More by this author

10 Incredible Benefits of Cuddling That Make You Want to Cuddle Now 16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed Why You Should Keep A Journal And How To Get Started 15 Differences Between the Boy you Date and the Man you Marry 10 Signs That You’re Ready For Marriage

Trending in Communication

1 10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It) 2 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 3 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 4 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 5 What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Advertising
How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

Advertising

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Advertising

Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

Advertising

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Advertising

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

Advertising

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

Read Next