Improving your confidence

Someone on a forum asked for advice on how to improve their confidence and to overcome their negative thoughts and opinions of themselves:

I am not a very good looking male and very insecure about what other people think of me. I always have this opinion that no one ever likes me when they meet me for the first time and only after seeing me for couple of times, they get adjusted to my face and start having normal conversations. I routinely say no to people who go out because I am afraid I’ll be left alone. This is also partly due to my high school years where my classmates used to tease me for looking like a old school villain. After this point, I never really got close to anybody. I have friends who I regularly meet but no one who I can share my problems with

I read these anecdotes on reddit where some guy gets enough courage to ask a girl for her phone number and turns out that its not so bad and she agrees. For me that scenario is so outlandish I rule it out as a fantasy. I am constantly striving to not give a fuck but somewhere in the back of my mind the feeling always lingers. I look at people around me and all of them are better looking and I sometimes feel like it is a requirement to exist in this world and achieve success. I frankly don’t know how to overcome this self doubt in me. I imagine I cannot be that unique in this world that somehow this entire universe is conspiring to fuck me over, so this must be something in my head. What should I be doing so I don’t worry about what other people think of me?

I thought that my response would be useful for a wider audience:

When I was a teenager, I used to feel very similar to you at times. I wasn’t popular at school and didn’t get invited out to many things, and never really had a girlfriend and wasn’t very confident.

The first thing to realise is that people’s opinion of you will be hugely affected by your own opinion of yourself. This means that if you see yourself negatively, they will pick up on this and it will cloud their judgement of you. Never ever put yourself down in front of people, or be self-deprecating. You might think that you should avoid being seen as arrogant or narcissistic, but negativity is far worse for you. Arrogance is often mistaken for confidence and that’s what you want to develop. Confidence is just people faking it; they have the same insecurities that you do. It can be draining, but put on a positive public front.

Stop saying no. Seriously, start saying yes more. If you keep saying no, eventually people will just stop asking you and then you can’t say yes or no. Is being left alone in a bar or club really any worse than being left alone sitting at home?
Are you worried about not being interesting? Become more interesting. Start new hobbies. Go out and do things. Join clubs. This will have several advantages:

  • You’ll meet new people
  • You’ll have things to talk about
  • You’ll be active and have less time to have negative thoughts.

You can find free community events on sites like meetup.com. Go along and start talking to people. It’ll be hard at first, but they’ll be welcoming of new members and you won’t be the only new person there, and remember every single person going was new at some point.

If you’re concerned about your appearance, it’s amazing the affect a new haircut can have on your appearance. Find yourself a decent hair salon and get yourself an appointment with a stylist. It’ll be expensive compared to your average haircut, but you only need to go once to get your new style, but it will pay dividends. You may want to spend a little more on future haircuts, but you don’t need to pay much more. For example, I used to pay around £8-9 for a hair cut every six to eight weeks and now pay £13 every month, but the improvement in my appearance is definitely worth it.

The other thing you can do is to improve your fashion. There are a few subreddits here that will teach you how to dress for your body shape and to look more stylish. Basically, if you look like you take care in your appearance, people will respond to you better.

If you’re overweight, make small changes to your diet and go to the gym and start lifting weights. If you’re scrawny, go to the gym and start lifting weights. In fact, just go to the gym and start lifting weights. Can’t afford to go to a gym, buy a set of adjustable dumbbells and start from there.

The universe isn’t conspiring to fuck you over; you are fucking yourself over. Put more effort into your mental well-being and your confidence will improve and everything else will follow.

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