Do you feel like you are a shy and introverted nature is hindering your confidence?
Well, you may be incorrectly associating your introverted nature as a lack of social skills and confidence.
Several famous personalities exhibit confidence effortlessly and the lead the world, showing that you don’t need to be ‘loud’ to be heard.
Don’t believe it?
Well, here is a list of famous introverts who’ve left a mark on history:
- Albert Einstein
- Rosa Parks
- Bill Gates
- Steven Spielberg
- Sir Isaac Newton
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Larry Page
If they can do it, so can you!
Before, we reveal the three realizations that that will enable you to believe that you can be confident even if you are an introvert, let’s first understand what it is to be an introvert and what is the notion of confidence.
What is it to be an introvert?
Introvert comes from Latin intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally.
Notice, that the definition in no way talks about lack of confidence or ability. Being an introvert is very common. You’d be surprised to know that, at least 45% of the US population is introverted.
Introversion and extroversion are temperaments – that is, a way that you prefer to interact with the world. Your genes largely determine this temperament.
Your confidence, however, has nothing to do with your temperament. Our life experiences shape us – as an introvert, if you were constantly bullied and told to “come out of your shell,” you may have developed social anxiety and feel less confident. However, note that being an introvert doesn’t necessarily make you less confident – this is one of the most misunderstood myths.
Here are 2 other myths about introversion that you must keep in mind:
- Introverts are socially awkward = Myth.
Social awkwardness has nothing to do with introversion. Many introverts are very charismatic.
- Introverts wish to be extroverts = Myth.
Being an introvert is part of a person’s innate personality. It is not something that needs to be “fixed.” Introversion and extraversion come with their respective advantages and disadvantages, not making anyone temperament better than the other.
So, what is confidence?
Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.
Here are 5 common self-confidence myths:
- “Some people were just born confident. I know I’ll never have that kind of confidence no matter how much I practice.”
- “My self-worth is directly associated with how I look and how much money I have.”
- “When I’m confident, I won’t feel afraid or nervous anymore.”
- “Confidence: You either have it, or you don’t.”
- “Very successful people have high self-esteem.”
Now that we understand what introversion and confidence are NOT, let us learn of a few realizations that will allow us to exhibit confidence even when as an introvert who is seemingly mistaken for not having confidence.
Realization 1: Confidence comes from within
“I just want to feel more confident” is a common wish of many introverts. They try many ways to feel so: ‘fake it till they make it,’ have some alcohol to get liquid courage, etc.
However, this pseudo-confidence and ‘fake it till you make it’ approach usually manifests itself as passive-aggressiveness, eating disorders and negative body image, and general anxiety. There’s a transparency to real confidence, making it harder to fake it.
What if you could genuinely feel confident, and not have to fake it?
Well, it’s possible. Here is one realization that will allow you to do so: Confidence comes from within
Confidence is not “they will like me.” Rather, confidence is “I will like myself, even if they don’t.” Confidence is not about ‘how others view you.’ Rather, confidence is about ‘how you view yourself.’ That is, confidence is inward. When you start respecting and valuing yourself, you will be able to exhibit confidence effortlessly.
Confidence is built through our dealings with the world. Since our situations, social networks and relationships are ever-changing, so is our spirit – it is fluid. It usually comes from our attitudes about ourselves and reactions to others. Therefore, we need to work on our inner self, thoughts, and mindsets continually. The way we relate to ourselves is what determines our anxiety and confidence.
The way we relate to ourselves is subject to external factors such as past and current family, peer, and romantic relationships or work environment, etc. Therefore, (leading to the second realization), the way we design our immediate surrounding is crucial.
Realization 2: You can design your immediate environment such that you feel confident
Toxic environments can lead to poisonous mindsets. If you’ve grown up in abusive households or are bullied at work and school, or have overly critical peers and family, or are in a negative relationship, your view of yourself may gradually start diminishing. It is only natural.
The people you surround yourself with is who you become. If you are always around people who are negative, insecure or critical, you will eventually be affected.
Therefore, design your surrounding with situations and people that bring out the best in you. Surround yourself with encouraging and appreciative people who genuinely like you for who you are, and you will instantly see your confidence boost up.
Realization 3: Confidence is alignment
When you are true to your values, dreams, and potential, your confidence is natural and not forced. That is, when your mind, body, and spirit are in complete alignment, the natural confidence you exhibit can be noticed by everyone.
This alignment extends to what you feel and what you do too. When you feel like doing X, but end up doing Y, the disparity can shake hamper confidence. On the contrary, when you align your values with your behavior, you are not only naturally good at what you are doing, but you are happier when doing the same – this unleashes a raw sense of confidence that is magnetic.
As an introvert, there is no reason for you to behave like you an extrovert. Staying true to your feelings of what you want to do, is the best approach to confidence.
Real confidence is being authentic, not arrogant.
Here are three realizations that will enable you to believe that you can be confident even if you are an introvert:
- Confidence comes from within
- You can design your immediate environment such that you feel confident
- Confidence is alignment
With the above three realizations, you will find that YOU have the agency to take charge of YOUR confidence and happiness.