Ever feel as though you are lesser? Like you would rather be alone then get dinner in a large group? Like you want to tell a story or joke but can’t due to the risk of embarrassment? To most people, it probably seems like a lame roast to call these symptoms. However, to many anxious teens and young adults, this is the revelation of low self esteem or even social anxiety, which can take over a person’s mind and fill it with depressing thoughts and notions of self-degradation. As a prominent carrier of low self esteem, the benefits of past reflective writing at Canisius High School encouraged me to pick up a pen and attempt each day to articulate what was going on in my head. This theoretical analysis details my strategy for overcoming this and as well includes the same wording that pulled me out of my imaginary social prison cell.
By beginning to engage in daily self assessment and reflection, I broadened the depth of my thoughts and have pieced together many different concepts and courses of action conducive to life improvement. My most recent theory breaks down the one skill that evades at least the 74% of the population who fear public speaking, Confidence (see statistic). Ah yes, the immeasurable and elusive character trait that makes everything work out in life. Still widely presumed to be God given or natural talent, confidence is coveted by those aware enough to realize they lack in that department. Now see, what I bring to the table is a logical approach to conquering the, “confidence barrier,” as I just now have named it. Confidence is probably not genetic, my view upholds the claim that it is learned, just not like any other skill. My definition of confidence as a skill draws on the opportunity to gain total control over one’s confidence level. When put under a microscope, this particular skill is incredibly different then all others. It manifests itself as a sort of summary of ones current state of being. Confidence cannot be directly manipulated or faked and must reflect one’s reality. Still, I think with practice, it can be mastered like any simple game or sport by improving on everything except confidence itself.
Based on my own observations, It seems young adults who are fully confident already, either grew up around people that act similarly, or learned to be happy with themselves through achievement. But how do some people behave confidently their entire lives? To explain that we need to explain skill. Skill in any sport, activity, or profession is often respected and valued over many relevant assets such as mental resilience or basic intelligence. Each new hobby or job requires many unique skills that must be learned. In essence, I believe that although genetics lay the framework for who we are, humans are not born with certain skills. We may be genetically inclined toward said dexterity, however, exposure to new experiences during childhood most likely will influence a kid’s will to learn and practice certain things. This is based off of the theory that kids learn quicker then adults and are obviously quite a bit more impressionable. Seeker posted an article here describing how children’s brains form connections for each new thing they experience. As the brain develops toward adulthood its goes back and severs connections that are barely used. Its as if the brain is clearing its hard drive to increase efficiency like a computer. This is most likely means young children can retain behavior patterns accidentally through even limited exposure. Henceforth, should a child experience an abundance of interactions with suave and maybe egotistical adults, particularly parents, siblings, or, relatives, they will likely attempt to emulate that behavior resulting in lifelong confidence building beginning at a young age. I believe truly that this is the advantage that most “naturally” confident young adults were graced with.
With a greater comprehension of how confidence is ignited, I began looking into how to produce and control it. The easiest way to explain how confidence exists and forms is by relating it to the one thing I practice all too much, videogames. Take Madden NFL for example, players have many specific attributes that combine to create an overall skill rating. Pretend that the individual attributes are facets of your life and the overall rating is your confidence. As you focus on working to increase your attributes, the confidence rating will go up without you even noticing. Also similar to the game, you cannot directly manipulate your own confidence level, it has to be done skill by skill. According to my theory and observation, confidence is not a simple skill but rather a reflection of the many skills and accomplishments that you have acquired in life as well as an involuntarily formed opinion of yourself. That personal assessment can be warped and bent but never changed directly.
My thought process for the solution is as follows: if all sections and entities that make up a human beings’ life are as good as possible, then he/she would have nothing to feel ashamed about. This is key to the metaphorical chemical equation that produces confidence. Confidence is directly opposed by self-conscious thoughts and self-doubt. By working on progressing all aspects of one’s life and tossing confidence aside to focus on improving oneself in other ways, all self-doubt and insecurity can be blanketed by success, euphoria and eventually can evaporate totally. After all, the definition of confidence paraphrased describes a feeling of self appreciation rooted in one’s own accomplishment and ability. Just as money is a byproduct of happiness, confidence is a side effect of progression and success in life. This method of instilling confidence may seem like common knowledge, but personally I have put my socially anxious mind to bed by focusing on employing this information.
Previously, I would consciously stress about being placed in social situations. In the process, I determined that I had a fear of being lesser in comparison to people and a phobia of what people think of me. Looking back, I realize this spouted from a core belief that I was not good enough. Then however, by ignoring my level of confidence and the fullness of my ego in situations and focusing on positivity, proactivity and productivity instead, I managed to reach a couple goals that surprise even me. I am a much more confident and outgoing person now ,and looking back, it seems as though self respect was the mandatory precursor to self-confidence all along. Many souls skip self respect and expect it from others or attempt to be cool and confident without the proper foundation of self worth; but this is simply a dead end. People cannot fake confidence for the same reason you don’t build a house right on dirt, because eventually… the façade will collapse.
Author’s Comments: This topic has peaked my curiosity for years now. This is being posted because I feel like my thought process may actually be able to help anyone going through, “introvert issues,” like those that used to afflict me. The topic seems relevant enough with regards to reflection through writing. Also, If there’s a chance somebody is influenced, then this is still more valuable then a blog about my favorite things in college that’s stuffed with fluff. So I hope people dealing with any sort of social anxiety or insecurities find this somewhat helpful. I encourage everyone, not just the socially impoverished, to reflect more and positively change their character. The difference in theoretical awareness and self analysis I noticed was awe-inspiring. I was able to overcome a lot by setting goals, achieving them, and basking in the glory while reflecting. In summary, to have a fulfilling social life and never second guess yourself, you need to better your own person by working hard to succeed in your endeavors. The swagger, confidence, and extrovert personality will follow suit. If after you this, you really don’t like the way you are still, then you have the great opportunity to become something different that you might not even know exists yet. In fact, count yourself lucky because there’s people who stick with the first job (ect.) they try and then miss out on hundreds of new experiences. Nothing is impossible for human beings as long as we strive to have an unparalleled work ethic and commit fully to our goals, and although I have limited evidence, I stand behind this statement as fact.