What makes you feel awkward?
Is it when you knock something over?
Or stumble over your words?
Or just don’t feel like you fit in with the crowd?
(Hint: it’s not actually any of these things)
When most of us are around other people that we don’t have a long-term intimate relationship with, our brains get very concerned with whether they like us or not. As a social species, survival requires fitting in with the group. For this reason, it makes complete sense that we care about what other people think about us.
But, because of our amazing capacity to complicate things, this very desire for acceptance actually ends up getting in the way of achieving it.
We can get hyper-concerned about what we say and do around others. Our brains worry that we’re doing something wrong and that people won’t like us because of that.
You might think:
- I shouldn’t have said that
- I can’t say that, they might think….
- I can’t believe I just said/did that
- I’m such ______ for saying/doing that
And those thoughts, my friend, are where awkwardness actually comes from.
There is nothing inherent in what you say or do that is awkward. It’s only your judgement of yourself that creates the awkwardness.
And when you’re judging yourself, you’re making the social interaction all about YOU.
It becomes self-focused & self-centered even if you’re trying to “be a good friend”… you’re doing it from a place of trying to get the person to like you.
This can make you say things that you normally wouldn’t choose to say.
It can make you say “yes” when you’d rather say “no”.
It can make you do things that you wouldn’t choose for yourself.
Just to be a “good friend”…. by not being yourself.
And when you’re not yourself, isn’t that awkward?
But what if stumbling words and dropping things only meant that you were focused on something else?
What if what another person says, does or feels has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them?
What if the best way to have true relationships is for you to be your authentic, imperfect self?
What if you are perfect as you are (in your imperfection)?
By accepting yourself as you are (quiet, stumbling, distracted, whatever), you can then break the habit of looking to other people to make you feel accepted.
This changes how you act. And it changes how you feel – from awkward to self-assured.
To integrate self-assurance into your life, you must practice it.
Here are a few things to try the next time you’re in a social situation:
- Listen deeply to the other person. Take your focus away from you and onto them (from a place of love).
- Ask yourself “what do their words/feelings/actions reveal about them?” so that you can gain a deeper understanding of them
- Repeat “I accept myself 100% and that’s all that matters” anytime you feel your brain falling back into the “do they like me” pattern
Be aware of your thoughts and direct them as best you can. In time, as you grow your self-acceptance, it will get easier and you’ll feel more comfortable.
Wishing you profound success,
For more practical coaching and inspiration that will help you develop self-confidence, join my email community.