Today, I’m going to discuss how to be confident in social situations. That is, confident in friendships, confident in dating, life and romance, and confident with people at work. But before I get into that, I’d like to explain my own journey.
You see, throughout my life I have been riddled with social anxiety and shyness. When I was a teenager, I was so shy I literally couldn’t talk to anybody at all. I remember the first time I asked a girl out. I practically threw up. It was such a mess. Honestly, it was just terrible.
So yes, I suffered from shyness and social anxiety [READ: Meditation for Anxiety]. I remember when I would go out by myself to a bar or club and just be by myself. And even when somebody else approached me to talk to me, I didn’t feel confident talking to them.
I tried all the different stuff that they tell you to do in self-help books and things like that. I tried thinking about myself in a very positive light, and that’s one of the main things that they tell us to do when we feel underconfident, is to think about how amazing you are. For me, that didn’t work. I was always aware of the fact that I was kind of trying to force this idea of myself as an amazing person who was better than everybody else. And it didn’t work. Nor should it have worked, because nobody is better than anybody else. We are all equal.
It took me a very long time to learn how to build self-confidence. One thing I learned is that the whole idea of building confidence by thinking that you’re the best thing ever is rubbish. I’m going to strongly recommend that you don’t ever do that. Instead, I’m going to give you a few tips and I’m going to lead you on a meditation.
So, this meditation is based on a few principles.
Firstly, it’s built on the principle that we feel more confident when we stop putting other people on a pedestal. Do you do that? Do you put other people on a pedestal compared to yourself? Do you always think other people are better than you? I did for more than 15 years. And it made me feel inferior when I was talking to other people. And so, one part of the meditation that we’re going to go through is all about recognizing that other people are just human and, like you and me, they’re imperfect. We shouldn’t put them on a pedestal. We should recognize that, yeah, they have some strengths, maybe they’re very good looking or very intelligent or just really popular, but they also have weaknesses. And so when we consider other people, we have to be aware of both their strengths and their weaknesses, you know. Otherwise, we’ll view them as higher than ourselves and we’ll never feel comfortable around them.
So that’s the first thing.
Point two. If you are anything like me, your mind will automatically think of times when people have judged you and rejected you more than the times that people have accepted you and shown you love. That’s kind of a negativity bias. You know, we remember times in our lives when we were pained, whether that’s socially or otherwise. And so, we remember the emotional pain of being rejected by people or being made to feel inferior, and so on. And contrastingly, we tend to forget all those times when people showed us love and acknowledged us, you know. And so that’s another part of the meditation that I’m going to go through, which is to simply recall the times in our lives when we have felt very accepted, very loved.
And then we are also going to visualize being confident around other people, but in a very realistic way. And so those are the three core tenets of this meditation that we’re going to do. We’re going to recognize the humanity of other people. That is that the fact that yes, they have strengths, but they also have weaknesses and the reason we’re going to do that is because it’s going to give us a more balanced perspective on other people and a more balanced perspective on ourselves, such that we stop putting other people on a pedestal and instead we view them as equal to us.
We’re also going to remember times when we felt socially accepted and loved, because that’s going to reduce the negativity bias and balance out the fact that we naturally remember times when we rejected and forget times when we were accepted. And then finally, we’re also going to visualize being confident, but in a very in a kind of natural, organic, realistic way. And I promise you, I promise you that when you do this meditation technique it is gonna make you so much more confident with other people.
The Meditation for Socal Confidence
OK, so to begin with, of course we’re going to sit with good posture. I’m going to use Lotus mudra, with the little pinky fingers touching, thumbs touching and the remaining fingers just kind of reached outwards.
And then just go ahead and close your eyes. And we’re going to spend just a few minutes just sitting.\
I’m breathing. And to begin with, I am simply focusing on the sensation of my breath as it moves through the space just beneath the middle of my nose. So I’m simply observing the breath here.
Continue to meditate on your breath for just a few minutes until you feel nice and peaceful and calm and relaxed.
Once you begin to feel calm or once your mind clears, then we will carry on to the next step. Again, feel free to pause if you would like to continue breathing meditation for a few moments to relax your mind before you continue.
Now for the next step what I would like you to do is to bring to mind one person whom you wish you felt confidently around. Now this could be somebody you would like to be friends with. It could be somebody you would like to go on a date with. Somebody at work. It can be anybody whom you wish you felt more confident and more comfortable with. Simply bring this person to mind.
Now as you look at this person and see them smiling at you say to them, “I acknowledge both your strengths and your weaknesses”. And you might find it helpful to label to yourself or to note to yourself some weaknesses that these that this person might face. For instance, perhaps they’re very good looking, but perhaps they have a financial problem or a health problem. And so you’re seeing this person smiling, being aware of their strengths, but also, very importantly, being aware of their weaknesses and of the challenges that they face in their life.
And now say to this person, “I acknowledge both the strengths and the weaknesses that you have”.
And now as you see this person smiling at you. Imagine them saying back to you, “I acknowledge both your strengths and your weaknesses”.
Now for a moment, just imagine a positive kind of connection with this person. You see this person smiling at you. And you feel a warm positive connection with them.
And now we shall move on to the next person. Again, you may choose somebody whom you would like to be friends with someone you’d like to date, someone you’d like to get along with at work… See this person smiling at you. And now say to yourself, “I accept both your strengths and your weaknesses”. And again, you might find it helpful to label or to note some of the weaknesses that this person might face, some of the challenges in their life”. And as you do that, you become aware that they, like yourself, are just a regular person, subject to the same strengths and the same weaknesses, the same challenges that you are. And now as you see this person smiling back at you, imagine them saying to you, “I accept both your strengths and your weaknesses”.
Repeat the previous step as many times as you like.
The next step is simply to bring to mind times in your life when you have felt accepted and loved. Recall the times when you felt accepted and when you fought loved. Allow those moments to come to life in your mind. Again, all that we are doing is remembering times when we felt accepted and when we felt loved. And feel free to carry on doing that for as long as you like.
Finish by taking a few mindful breaths.
All in all, this meditation should take around 20 minutes and I guarantee you if you do it, it’s really going to change your perspective on yourself and other people. And if you have shyness, it is really going to help you to feel a lot more confident around other people.
Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison