When I was 2 my parents immigrated to America from Ukraine (former USSR). Through out my childhood my parents always spoke Russian in the house and of course I picked up on it but I wasn’t that good at speaking. However, I never learned how to read or write.
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Is there lettuce in between my teeth? Is my mascara smeared? Am I too tall? Did people just hear my stomach growl? Everyone is a little self-conscious, but some people are just plain excessively self-conscious. If this sounds like you, here are some tips that can help.
Classes and Groups
Many people that are excessively self-conscious with speaking in front of large groups find that taking a public speaking class or joining a local chapter of Toastmasters can help ease their suffering. Others find that taking acting lessons or joining an improvisation club can help.
Improvisation forces you out of your skin and makes you listen to others and react quickly with confidence. Everyone involved is in the same boat, and the atmosphere is fun and safe for people to take risks. Once you’ve gotten to the point that you can make a fool of yourself in this improvisational atmosphere, preparing for a presentation at work won’t be so bad because you’ve had time to prepare. And if anything goes awry, you’ll be better equipped to roll with it.
Becoming an excellent listener is another way people get over self-consciousness with speaking. If you’re a great listener you’ll do less talking and have less to worry about with the attention focused on the speaker.
Change Your Scene
Is there someone who picks on you at work or at home and makes you feel self-conscious? Are you trying in vain to please someone in particular? If so, you can choose to spend less time with them or stand up for yourself and tell them how their actions make you feel.
Spending time with less critical people can make a big difference on your confidence. And speaking of which, many people who are self-conscious find that spending time with others who are in the same boat makes a big difference. Consider approaching the “wallflower” at the party, talk to the “nerds” in the back of the room – chances are they’re hanging back for the same reason you are. Once you let go of your fears or find you have a mutual interest, you can let your worries leave you.
For some people, self-consciousness isn’t an easy fix. You might find that you need to read about social anxiety and phobias. There are self-help books, websites and groups you can join for therapy. You might even find you’d benefit from therapy or even hypnotism to overcome these anxieties and phobias.
You’re Not Alone
Realize that you’re not the only one who feels so self-conscious. There’s a reason there’s a saying called “Fake it till you make it.” Those people at work, those people at the party are likely to all be feeling the same way you are. Consider reading embarrassing tales from celebrities. They’re not immune to embarrassment. Realizing that people who seem to be perfect also are self-conscious can be a big milestone in feeling comfortable yourself.
Keep in mind that nobody is perfect. Know that sometimes it’s good to just make a fool of yourself and relish it. Try to identify what it is you’re self-conscious about. If it’s something you can easily change, change it. If it’s something that makes you unique and interesting, remember that you are your own person, you can manage your reactions to other people and that at the end of the day, you are who you are. Love yourself and enjoy who you are. That will make you the confident person you were born to be.