Let’s talk about how I stopped caring about what others thought of me and how you can apply this in your life.
For me, it started a late night out, now many years ago.
I was just beginning my journey of self-development. I was especially concerned about my lack of experience with girls: I had never even kissed a girl.
I always felt like that was something I had to hide and make sure nobody knew about. I worried a lot what others would think of me if they knew.
But this night was different.
I had been out clubbing with my friends and had to grab something to eat at a local hamburger joint. There was no table available, so I sat down by a middle-aged woman.
We started talking.
I don’t know exactly why, but that night I felt like I just didn’t want to care anymore. I think I was tired of always trying to hide my big shame; my inexperience with girls. So I told her everything about it.
It was as if the shackles weighing me down finally shattered. It’s still one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done.
(By the way, she didn’t really believe me, because how could I seem so confident about it?)
I felt like I was unstoppable. All of that shame and self-consciousness just washed away.
After that night I realized something…
I had been totally honest with who I am to a total stranger, and the world didn’t come crashing down because of it. Quite the opposite – she was one of the first people in my life who’d seen me as confident. Why was I so concerned about hiding it for everyone else?
Here’s what I realized: First when we are okay with others knowing about our insecurities, can we become truly confident with who we are.
This didn’t mean I started telling everyone about my fears and insecurities. (That would just be weird.) But I stopped feeling afraid of being exposed.
If anyone would ask me about my experience with women, it wouldn’t throw me off balance. I knew I could just tell them like it is.
And sure enough, with my newfound confidence, meeting girls soon wasn’t a big issue in my life anymore. Today I have a wonderful girlfriend as of 5 years.
Here’s me and my girlfriend on a recent trip to Thessaloniki, Greece.
How to deal with fear and insecurities
That burger joint experience taught me something fundamental about fear:
Fear feeds on itself. When we avoid it, it becomes stronger. The funny thing is that when we stop running away from our fears, they eventually stop being scary.
When I finally admitted something I thought would destroy me if it came out, I realized that nothing had changed. I was still me. People still liked me, maybe even a bit more because I became more relaxed and authentic.
The first step to stop caring what others think and become more authentic
To become truly confident and stop caring so much about what others think of us, we need to face and deal with our insecurities. As long as we walk around in life afraid of being “exposed”, we can never fully be ourselves: we can never be relaxed and confident in ourselves.
That’s why the first step towards getting an unbreakable confidence is to admit to ourselves what we are insecure about.
We don’t HAVE to let the world know about it, but we need to accept that it’s okay IF the world knows about it.
What’s the worst thing that will happen if your insecurities come true?
That’s not a rhetorical question. I want you to actually try to visualize a worst-case scenario.
It’s healthy to think about because we often realize that even the worst scenarios are quite benign.
Perhaps someone laughs at us. Perhaps people who aren’t our real friends don’t want to hang out. But the world keeps turning, and no one can poke a hole in your surface as your confidence is solid.
This idea is confirmed by the research behind the psychological principle of self-acceptance. Studies have shown that accepting ourselves like this leads to many benefits that boost our confidence.
Here’s a short list of traits shown in studies to improve with self-acceptance:
- Less fear of failure
- An increase in self-worth
- An increase in independence
- An increase in self-esteem
- Less desire to win the approval of others
- Less self-critique and more self-kindness when mistakes occur
- More desire to live life for one’s self (and not others)
- The ability to take more risks without worrying about the consequences
- Feeling freer in life to do what we truly want
Your first mission: Write down something you are afraid or insecure about. By doing that, you are taking the first step towards facing it and becoming more confident in yourself. By writing it down, you also make sure that your fear stops growing and becomes too much to handle.
Bonus mission: After doing the first mission, think about how you can challenge and face your fear. Here are some examples:
Telling someone about something you feel insecure about: It could be applying for a new job, introducing yourself to someone, going to a party, calling a friend/date.
Write it down below in the comments (anonymously is OK) and take your first step. Too often, we think we are alone in our insecurities. If you see someone that shares your fear, reply and let them know they’re not alone.