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"How can I stop being so insecure about myself when I'm in public?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Oh man, oh man, oh man. This is a thing that I have gotten over SORT OF, but I still struggle with SORT OF… you know? I used to not eat a bag of chips in public bc I would be afraid everyone thought I was such a weirdo for walking around with a bag of chips… Now I’ll be in an airport stretching my hips and wondering if people are looking at me, but also still doing hip stretches because THEY NEED TO BE STRETCHED.

I think the key is to remember that everyone around you doesn’t give a shit about you. We’re all obsessed with ourselves and the person you’re afraid of looking dumb in front of!?!? They’re only thinking about looking dumb in front of you… It’s TRUE! I PROMISE.

We’re all walking around in the world, being in public, wondering WTF everyone else is thinking about. No one is paying attention to you. If they are, it’s because they’re terrified that you’ll pay attention to them. If they are paying attention to you because they want to be dickbags, then imagine the kind of people they’re talking to about you… Those kinds of people super don’t matter. It’s like that Dr. Suess rap, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.”

Hard to put into practice, sure, but the key word here is ‘practice.’ One day at a time, try to give less of a shit about the people around you. You’re the most important, you know?

Kristin Says:

Dr. Seuss is such a goddamn genius.

I agree with each and every one of Dannielle’s sentiments up there, and I think they are at the core of this matter. I also think that you might need a few stepping stones to help you get to that place Dannielle describes (and during the stepping on these stones, you will also need to access that patience-with-yourself of which she speaks), so here are a few additional thoughts. This is my new invention called Meditate, Reflect, Challenge, Repeat. Here we go:

Meditate. Okay, so, I just started to practice meditation and my entire life is changing. I cannot stress how powerful it is to pull apart the web of nonsense that clogs your brain, to sit with yourself in a quiet space, and to work on yourself — not for your own good, but for the good of, literally, everyone and everything. At first, perhaps, you will gain only a moment or two of peace… but over time, my prediction is that you will become more present in a reality that tells you that you are fucking perfect. P!nk wrote a song about that, actually.

Reflect. When you have experiences where you feel insecure, try to remember to reflect on them after the fact. Go back to the moment at the party where you first started thinking that you weren’t good enough. Did something happen? Did someone say something? Were there any positive moments in the experience that you missed after you were derailed into insecurity-land? Write down your thoughts, and use those reflections to help you debunk some of your fears.

Challenge. Our brains are little assholes. They tell us things about ourselves that are not true. You will be perfectly content and then all of a sudden the tiny asshole that is your brain will whisper, “No one cares about you. You’re so dumb.” I challenge you to challenge your asshole brain. Talk back to it. Say, “You say that no one cares about me but what about Seth and my sister and Ted and Amy and the guy at the deli who gives me free soda and my cat, Buddy, and MY GRANDPA. WHAT ABOUT THEM?!” Or, “You say I am dumb but remember how I got an A in English last week and how I had that idea about how my brother could organize his desk and how my temp job last summer told me they’d be psyched if I came back again?!” Your brain speaks lies when it speaks poorly about you — I give you permission to flip it off and move forward.

Repeat. Getting to a more confident place takes practice, and it takes commitment. It also has dips and curves, and won’t ever remain a constant. Continue to challenge negative thoughts, keep giving yourself positive reinforcements, remember to sit with yourself in quiet spaces where you can recognize that our realities are what we make of them, and always know that the people whose opinions matter most in this world are the people who give you the space to be whoever tf you want.

PS: For the time being, it’s also okay to where a shirt that says, “CURRENTLY WORKING ON SOCIAL CONFIDENCE. LET’S SHARE A CHEESE STICK AND TALK ABOUT IT,” to help break the ice.

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One thought on “How to be More Confident in Public

  1. I love the meditation advice, and also yoga. I have a hard time meditating but yoga can be like a moving meditation. I do a lot of restorative, gentle yoga, and it’s amazing where you’re mind will go. I tell everyone I think yoga helped me more than years of therapy.

    Also, in yoga, you have to do a lot of embarrassing poses. So, if you take classes with other people, you’ll eventually end up in something like Happy Baby, where you froggy your legs up in the air and essentially have your crotch wide open for the world to see. Your yoga teacher may come by and push your thighs done while she hovers over your open crotch, and you may wonder if you died and this is the seventh level of Embarrassment Hell.

    And then, you know what happens? You realize that you’re still alive, that the yoga teacher sees dozens of crotches a day, that everyone else in the room was crotch-out at the same time as you, and that no one was looking at you. You get over it. You come to enjoy it. You feel better and you eventually look forward to challenging, awkward new poses.

    Yoga also teaches you to breathe through discomfort. If you do it for a while, you’ll find yourself subconsciously breathing more slowly when you get self-conscious. You’ll become more confident and calm without even trying.

    In that same vein: try new things! It’ll change your life. Try what you’re scared of, start small. I hated working out in front of people, and when my friend asked me to go to yoga with her I almost said no. But, I decided to go BECAUSE I was uncomfortable. And now, I have a social life around doing yoga, I love it, and I’m more courageous with other things. Once you start confronting uncertainty and fear, your confidence in all things will improve. I’m now considering joining a running club, something that years ago would’ve made me want to puke.

    I took a job that requires a lot of public speaking last year, a job that I NEVER would have considered before. I used to be the Most Self-Conscious Ever. I found through yoga, life experience, and trying new things, I’m a completely different person when it comes to confidence and comfort in public.

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