Blog / Strategies for Building Confidence in Public

Strategies for Building Confidence in Public

09.05.2024 | Radha Kesavaram

Stepping out in public can be a daunting experience for many of us, but mainly for those struggling with social anxiety. Social anxiety is a mental health condition that affects nearly one in three people worldwide. It is characterized by a fear of judgment and self-doubt, which can hinder healthy social interactions and limit personal growth.  
 
This article will explore practical strategies that can help address social anxiety and gradually build confidence in public settings. 
 

Start small – Take that first step 

 
Embarking on a journey to overcome social anxiety requires taking gradual steps. Setting realistic goals is key to success, as aiming for tasks that may be too challenging initially can trigger overwhelming fears. Consider envisioning scenarios such as visiting a local supermarket or taking a stroll in a nearby park. Although these may seem like small and insignificant actions, they lay a solid foundation for significant progress in the future. Remember, every small step counts and brings you closer to your ultimate goals. 
 

 Plan for what can happen  

 
Preparing yourself to address distressing thoughts and feelings that may arise during social interactions is crucial. Visualize practical coping strategies, like rhythmic breathing or focusing on your breath to calm and ground yourself in the present moment. Developing personally meaningful positive affirmations, such as "I have already won this by stepping out and breaking the pattern," can help mitigate distress, empowering you to persevere and face social situations with increased confidence. 
 

Set realistic expectations 

 
Rather than setting rigid standards for your social experiences, reframe your expectations to acknowledge that discomfort may be present but doesn't invalidate your progress. Instead of striving for an idealized vision of being completely at ease in all social situations, embrace the idea that some discomfort is natural and part of the growth process. Aim for a more realistic goal that can look like, "I would like to go through the experience reasonably well while acknowledging and managing any uncomfortable feelings that may arise." This shift in mindset helps ensure a positive and rewarding journey towards overcoming social anxiety. 
 

Create a safe space within 

 
Rather than suppressing distressing thoughts and feelings, create a non-judgmental space within yourself to accept and acknowledge them. Envision cultivating an open mindset that allows you to process emotions, recognizing that they are temporary and integral to your personal growth. This safe space within you could embrace the coexistence of "happy" emotions, such as joy and a sense of achievement, with those that may cause discomfort, such as fear or anxiety. By allowing yourself to experience and process various emotions, you pave the way for personal growth and resilience, fostering a healthy relationship with yourself. 
 

Notice and address negative self-talk 

 
Being mindful of negative self-talk is vital when combating social anxiety. One such thought could be, "My experiences in the past are proof that I am born to fail." Recognize when harsh self-judgments and criticisms arise within you, as they often stem from internalized beliefs influenced by others. Challenge these limiting perceptions and replace them with healthier alternatives such as "I am a work-in-progress" or "There are areas that have scope for improvement." By actively addressing negative self-talk, you cultivate self-compassion and foster a more positive self-image, empowering yourself in social situations. 
 

Appreciate your progress 

 
Celebrating every step forward, no matter how small, is essential in overcoming social anxiety. Take time to recognize and acknowledge your feelings of empowerment and confidence as you venture outside your comfort zone. You can use visual reminders, such as attaching sticky notes on a vision board with messages like "I spoke up in the meeting today, even though it made me nervous" or "Attended a social event and engaged in conversations." By actively appreciating your progress, you cultivate a sense of accomplishment and bolster your confidence for future endeavours. 
Remember, overcoming social anxiety is a journey that starts with a single step. By implementing these strategies and envisioning yourself applying them in real-world scenarios, you can gradually expand your comfort zone, experience personal growth, and develop confidence in social settings. You can achieve your goals, and with time and persistence, you can conquer social anxiety and thrive in public spaces. 
  
This post represents the author’s personal views and experiences. iDare doesn’t endorse or take responsibility for the views expressed.  
 
If you or somebody you know is looking forward to improving their confidence, consider contacting our ‘Support’ and ‘Engage’ verticals for affordable and inclusive help! 
 
Image Credits: Pexels.com

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