How Introverts Can Quiet the Biggest Confidence Killers
Confidence makes the world go ‘round. Those who exude confidence tend to be more successful in the corporate world, as entrepreneurs, and in relationships.
For many, confidence is perceived as the loudest voice in the room: the most likeable, outgoing person who is naturally the center of attention.
But that’s not what confidence is. Inc Magazine defines it perfectly: “Confidence is quiet. Confidence is a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.” It starts as an internal quality that naturally radiates outward.
Introverts have such a uniquely beautiful way of showing up in the world, and our confidence is quiet.
We don’t demand attention, as we typically prefer to stay out of the limelight. We rarely fight to be heard in a group setting, and when we do speak, our words tend to be measured and thoughtful.
But because we spend so much time in our heads, we can be particularly hard on ourselves, quickly killing our own confidence.
Here are four strategies for overcoming some of the biggest confidence killers for introverts.
Criticism tends to be an immediate confidence killer for everyone, but particularly for introverts.
We’ve all been there—we have our annual review at work and automatically discard all of the positive comments to dwell on the one “area of improvement”. Or we have a fun night out with friends and then can’t stop thinking about the slightly critical comment one of them made.
In every scenario that contains criticism, you are the only one having that reaction. Think about that.
We hear criticism through our own unique lens, and fill in the blanks for what wasn’t said to create a cohesive story. Because we’re subconsciously building this story based on our past experiences, it tends to be more fiction than fact and cause a ton of trouble.
Looking for the lesson can keep us objective and focused on what we’re supposed to learn in that situation. We have the power to decide what everything we hear means to us. Why not reframe criticism simply as information that can help us improve in that particular area?
Quiet Your Inner Critic
The stories we all make up also invite our inner critic to come out in full force, as it tries to protect us from getting hurt even more. So we shrink, caving into that feeling of not being good enough until that is all we see.
Ask these five questions to break this cycle, and patiently sit with each one until you hear the answer:
- What is the story I’m telling yourself?
- What am I making this mean?
- What is causing me to react so strongly? (look deep within to answer this one!)
- What is my inner critic trying to protect me from?
- What is actually true—and what am I supposed to learn from this?
This process will pull you out of strong emotion so you can be a little more objective about what’s actually happening beneath the surface.
Believe in Your Strengths More Than Your Fears
I love this quote from Athena Singh: “Never trust your fears. They don’t know your strengths.”
The way we perceive ourselves shapes our reality. If we don’t believe we can do something, there’s a good chance we will prove that thought to be true.
Our fears can be the most damaging thing that gets in our own way, holding us back and making sure we don’t even try. What we focus on determines how we feel, and a dramatic shift takes place when we change that focus from our fears to our strengths.
This can be difficult when you’re at an all-time low, so start small:
- Take the first thing you can think of that you do well. Keep this general, and not related to your current situation.
- Now reflect on the last time you used that strength to create success. Again, keep this general.
- Finally, identify one of your strengths that you can use in the situation you’re in, and visualize the outcome until you believe that you can create it.
Combat Comparison with Gratitude
Comparison is one of the biggest confidence killers for both introverts and extroverts alike, and social media has taken this to new levels. Paying attention to your mindset and perspective is essential as you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, and gratitude can be a game-changer.
When you feel even the slightest hint of jealousy or FOMO, practice gratitude. Be grateful that your friend or acquaintance (or the person you don’t even know) had the opportunity to have that experience, dine at that restaurant, get engaged, travel—you get the idea.
Gratitude has a chemical impact on your brain, and it’s literally impossible to be grateful and jealous at the same time.
Then, use the post that made you pause to truly evaluate your response. Is this something you want to experience as well? If not, mentally log the fact that you’re likely feeling FOMO for a surprising number of things you really don’t care about.
If your answer is yes, create an action plan to make this happen! Identify the first step you can take, and go do it.
Bring Your Quiet Confidence Into the World
Strategies have no value without action. I encourage you to choose one of the four methods above to begin practicing daily. This will build your confidence so you can bring more of your unique gifts into the world.
Read this blog to learn more about how you can understand and transform your inner critic’s message.