How many times do you look at others and think, “why is it so easy for them?” Why do we always assume it is easier and that they are not struggling just like we are?
Self-confidence is a funny old thing, it can be high in one area of our lives and low in another, this conflict alone causes us to doubt ourselves. Very often I am out speaking in front of large audiences, although I get butterflies in my tummy, more of excitement than fear. I feel confident, competent and at ease, however in a social environment I am far from the centre of the party, nor am I the one with a lampshade on my head. My conservative side takes over and I am often found surveying the scene with a wall at my back. Maybe that has something to do with the areas I work in and a subconscious need to feel protected. I know I am not the easiest person to get to know socially, it is something I make an effort to work on.
So, how come there is so much difference in me, in two different places? Past experience, knowledge and preconceived ideas cause these platforms to build in our minds and beliefs over time. I see gregarious people flitting around like butterflies or honey bees, collecting nectar and conversation from here, there and everywhere, exchanging exaggerated hugs and kisses, which fills me with awe and trepidation in case they descend on me next.
I take my personal space very seriously and give that respect to others, I find it challenging when people do not respect mine. So, when I first went to live in Spain and everyone want to hug and kiss me, not once, but twice I felt very uncomfortable. Over time this declined and became the norm, in fact coming back to the UK, I was the one hugging and kissing on the cheeks and I could see the dismay on the faces of people.
Habits are formed over time, both good ones and bad ones, they good news is they can all be changed as well. None are etched in stone, only if we let me. Our comfort zones do give us a safety net, but sometimes they also keep up hemmed in. Widening them and easing into new situations is a great way to develop your comfort zones and your self-confidence, the more you do it; a bit like riding a bike – the easier it becomes.
Exposure therapy works on this theory too, putting yourself, exposing yourself to whatever causes you fear is a way to conquer it, that is not to say it is not scary and it does not take time to be successful, but the more you feel good in yourself the higher your self-confidence is.
Life is short and we only get one, no dress rehearsals – so why not make the most of it? There are many experiences, places, and people to meet, so why hold yourself back to just what you know now?
Be kind to yourself, until the next time.