If you want to become a confident person who takes on any challenge or jumps at opportunities rather than saying if only I had done… then you need to tackle your anxieties.
How do you get ride of your anxieties? You gain confidence of course.
Bit of a catch-22 right. That’s because they’re two sides of the same coin.
When your not confident in your capabilities to do something it makes you anxious and this anxiety can be paralyzing. In order to become a more confident person I’ve found it best to start by finding a small bit of confidence from somewhere and use that to make a small dent in the anxiety that eats away at you and build from there.
I’ve got a plethora of anxieties that have gotten me down and stopped me from doing things over the years. I’ve suffered from panic attacks and had countless occasions of avoiding situations because just the thought of doing that thing makes me anxious. Something as simple as picking up the phone to book an appointment takes a lot of mental preparation because making phone calls to strangers is very stressful to me.
I’ve battled through many of these now and have built up to a point where I actually feel confident in who I am but something more than that is I really am confident that I will become a more confident person in the future. Now that I’m writing this and thinking about it one of the funniest anxieties that I have is that I don’t appear confident in front of certain people.
Before we go further into how we become more confident and less anxious;
What are anxiety and confidence? How do they work?
From my experience anxiety is fear of not knowing what the outcome will be or thinking we know what it will be and not liking what we think we know. Anxiety comes from bad past experiences because the things we know or at least think we know come from past experiences. Confidence is knowing you can handle a situation because you’ve done it countless times already. You have a strategy to deal with multiple outcomes and can quickly adapt.
An example of a fairly big anxiety is social anxiety. This can occur due to a variety of different factors. One type of social anxiety is caused by a fear of crowds. This is a fear of not knowing what the people around you are going to do, they may decide to start pushing and shoving, or they may do nothing at all but being in the middle and not knowing causes someone with social anxiety to start predicting an outcome where they think they may be in danger.
Another type of social anxiety is stage fright. This, from personal experience, can be caused for many reasons. I have a big problem with reading to an audience but I have no problem stand up in front of people and speaking from the heart about something I know about (or at least think I know about).
Here is an example of how confidence can be built slowly and used as a weapon to overcome anxiety.
When I have to read something to a public audience and am not allowed a retake, I get extremely anxious. Especially if its something that someone else has prepared. I don’t like not using my own words and I have a massive fear of making a mistake and either letting someone down or being laughed at and ridiculed. But if I have to stand up and give a non-scripted presentation about something I know in detail I have no problem. Talking in public isn’t the problem reading is (or rather was).
The way I’ve been battling this anxiety was to develop my reading skills first, which I’ve become much more confident with so that I won’t make as many mistakes in my reading. Next is to read stuff to a small group of trusted friends or family. Starting with reading a fact or meme or news headline that you read off social media, rather than just passing across your phone for them to read it. Then work on reading out an interesting article rather than tagging them in it. Now I’m at the stage where I can read a script and not end up stuttering and stammering the whole way through it.
This tactic for tackling an anxiety is affective for a lot more than reading a speech. As long as you start in private and work continuously and push your comfort zone to within a threshold that doesn’t overwhelm you, you can tackle any anxiety that affects you. (in private doesn’t just mean alone, if you need help you can trust a friend or a therapist, but if you need help to get started on the right path it is out there, JUST ASK!!!)
So to summarize. Anxiety comes from fear of not knowing the outcome of a situation. Confidence is the knowledge that you can quickly adapt and handle the situation no matter what happens and with no serious repercussions. Or in another way confidence comes from having a strategy to affectively deal with the risks associated with the unknown. To build up the confidences start with small improvements and push your comfort zone. Fears never really go away but we can become braver and better able to deal with them.