We all know when somebody around us is being fake. Why can’t they just be real? It usually drives me CRAZY. What about you? Society dictates I should respond to their external personality, even though I KNOW that isn’t the whole story. Blurg 🙂
On the other hand, we can also tell when someone is “being real.” It means they are being their true self around others. Telling their truth, like it is – and holding nothing back. Sometimes it can be a bit much to handle – like they’re shining too brightly compared to everyone else’s current state.
I think of “being real” and “being fake” as two polar opposites on a spectrum. At any given time, each one of us falls somewhere on the scale.
But is it always the RIGHT TIME to be 100% real? Probably not. For example, it may not always be appropriate, or kind, or relevant. Hard as it is for me to admit, putting on a fake persona may be the right way to go (sometimes).
Or is it?
Learning to Be Real: A Little Story
Recently I spoke on a panel. I was very excited and wanted to do my best.During the event, a touchy subject came up – people reporting mental health struggles. I could JUST TELL that the person running the panel wanted us to skip the topic. Because it wasn’t pleasant, and therefore not appropriate. At that moment, I was faced with a choice: Move along or plunge into a sticky subject.KNOWING ME, CAN YOU GUESS WHAT I DID?I took the plunge.I said aloud that YES that is an actual real issue. Not only is it real, but there were real resources on how to deal with it, and I shared those resources with the audience.As soon as I stopped talking, all of my doubt and guilty feelings started to roll in. I started wondering whether that was the right thing to do. Should I have kept my mouth shut? Did I do the wrong thing? Was the whole world going to explode now? At the end of the panel, I found out.Afterward, I chatted with a few people who said “thank you for speaking!” They had learned a lot from me. That felt great to me. And you know what? ABSOLUTELY NO ONE SAID I WAS OUT OF LINE. Or that I had brought up an inappropriate topic. Not even the panel coordinator. In fact, it seemed a completely natural part of the discussion.Sooo… something I thought might lead to planetary explosion had no negative impact at all? Yep. That’s right. In fact, the judgment I felt from the panel coordinator was probably all in my head…. whoa.
People resonate with the real you
Nobody is convinced that everything is perfect. When you are real, and talk about real life as you see it, people resonate with that.I’m not talking about the standard exchange we all know so well: “How are you?” “Fine and you?” “Good!” exchange you have with your grocery clerk. (Would things really be so weird if you said, “I’m craving sweet potatoes tonight, isn’t that funny?” Hmm.. I wonder what they would say back? Why don’t you try it and see how it goes?)But even more, I’m talking about the deeper interactions we have with those around us. My speaking experience really opened my eyes to how positively people respond to honesty. Kind honesty about your own personal experience. And that is pretty powerful. 🙂
The right time to be real is…
All of the time! Around your bffs, at the grocery store, in front of a panel, and in your pajamas. All good, legit times to be real.Give it a try! “Being real” might help you remove the burden of portraying a perfectly fake version of yourself, which is a big burden indeed. And it also creates an example for others of how awesome it is to be yourself. You never know who else is watching, struggling with whether they should be real too.
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So.. it is time for you to talk. As in, speak. Like a regular person. Amongst a group of your fellow humans! But you can’t! Your confidence has abandoned you.
Has this ever been you? Because this has been me legitimately 1,000 times.
Basically, I would turn into a puddle around random groups of people. Although I might have been JUST FINE 5 minutes ago, I get thrust into an unexpected conversation and start freaking out. I wouldn’t even be sure what I was saying! The world swirled around me. So, I blurted something out… then ran away!
I’d leave wondering, “What on earth did I just say?” (Hmm… I wonder why?)
From a psychological perspective, here’s what I think is going on, and how to cure it.
In my opinion, the problem is inhibition overload. Inhibition is a type of activity in your nervous system that tells your body to stop, don’t act, hold back, and wait. It is actually great to have this ability. It allows you do things like NOT walk out in traffic.
But… Sometimes this system gets a bit too uppity. Perhaps it thinks it is protecting me against unknown threats! But actually, it is “protecting” me from me having any confidence whatsoever. (Great, thanks so much nervous system! I’ll just sit here in fear…)
THE PROBLEM WITH TOO MUCH INHIBITION
The real problem with this situation is that I’m awesome!
I’m actually cool. I have interesting things to say. I have original thoughts and a baller personality. One day I decided that it was totally wrong to keep my awesome self locked up in some overwrought nervous system battle. So, I decided to figure out how to calm this beast down. And I did. 🙂 I found some fixes for all of this INNER WEIRDNESS. And I’m going to share them with you!
THE KEY: The key boils down to this – override your inhibition.
How? Use some activation. Action. Movement. Breath. Activity. Even a tiny bit helps! Do small things that send signals to your body that EXTREME INHIBITION IS NOT NECESSARY. It is actually safe to talk (and even have coherent thoughts – amazing!).
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10 HACKS FOR HIGH CONFIDENCE AROUND OTHERS
My biggest tip is to breathe DELIBERATELY. If you’re freaking out, take an actual deep breath. Let it out slowly. This always helps me stabilize and climb out of fight-or-flight mode. (And you know I want to flee!)
If you’re making a long talking point, take normal breaths rather than speaking non-stop. NOBODY NOTICES YOU BREATHING. You might think, “I have to keep talking or people will lose interest!” Actually, people don’t even notice and just breathe with you. You’re creating a natural break point in the information stream for them to process what you just said. And that makes you even more effective at communicating. 🙂
PSYCHOLOGY JEDI MASTER TRICK: Sometimes people are just trying to “win” a conversation. Ugh. You know – when a conversation seems out of control and you cannot get a word in? Here’s what to do – Start breathing a bit loudly at a slower rate than the conversation. You’ll influence the vibe on a subconscious level. Then when you take your chance to chime in, keep your voice on that more positive, slow vibe. You’ll successfully share what you have to say in a non-competitive way. And may even change the tone of the whole convo from competition to collaboration. Yoda will be proud.
Unleash the power of your arms and gesture baby! Use your hands and arms to communicate. You can gesture to jump into a conversation or simply add some flavor to what you say. The point is, gestures are natural. And gestures are a real source of linguistic information. We all have gestures that are unique to us. By using them, you’ll help yourself loosen up, convey more of who you really are, and SAY MORE than non-gesturers. What a nice triple-benefit. 🙂
As an antidote to overthinking what you’re about to say, how you look, etc. try deep listening. Deep listening is simply when you pay close, careful attention to someone while they’re talking. Really let the meaning sink in that they’re TRYING to convey, rather than their exact words. This is a great way to read people. Is this person trying to say they’re afraid? Confused? Enthusiastic? Angry? Bored? Broke? Amused? Nervous?
Then follow up with people’s comments by asking them a question that gets them to clarify or expand. This takes the focus off you and helps you actually connect with another person. Imagine a time when someone truly listened to you. How good did that feel? You can do this for someone else. 🙂
4. MAKE EYE CONTACT
Make meaningful eye contact with others as you speak and listen. I mean, it is not like you’re talking with your eyes closed! Are you? Or is your gaze doing something else? So carefully remove your eyes from your shoes, the distant background, or anywhere else that might feel comfortable to look (but actually just makes you look distracted). and look into the eyes of the people around you. You’ll automatically feel more confident by doing this. Why? Because it is actually brave.
EYEBROW HACK: Hahahaha. Okay so I’m laughing because SO MANY TIMES I’ve avoided eye contact because it just FEELS TOO INTIMATE. Like ahhhh. Some people’s eyes are so too pretty, and I get lost! (Now you can see why I’m laughing.) Sooo… Try looking at people’s eyebrows instead. Hey it works! It is less soul-examining than direct eye contact. But it still makes people feel special that you’re paying attention to them. And if they catch you, you can blame me and send them this article (loooooks like you slipped into the DMs of that beautiful person!). 😉
5. OCCUPY SPACE
To increase your confidence, allow yourself to take up space around you a bit more. You know the guy on the train who sits with his arms spread out, taking up 2 extra seats, his backpack in one seat, coat in another, looking like he’s lounging in his living room? CHANNEL THAT GUY. Move around. Put your hands on your hips. Take the conversation for a walk. Just by allowing your body to EXIST in the space it is in you’ll unlock some major confidence.
6. STAND UP STRAIGHT
Your mother was right. Please see her for further information.
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7. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO CONVEY
You know when you see a super confident person talking? And you just are so amazed by their self-possession and clarity? Me too! The most confident thing I ever see others do is to have one point, make it, and stand behind it. It makes people just seem so POWERFUL, so self sure, and I feel inspired. So I’ve copied them.
Figure out just one thing that you want to say and stick to making that point. Hey, its what confident people do!
The best part? You don’t have to stand by that point forever. Consider the time-honored tradition of debate. The goal is to learn something greater by taking strong stances and exploring them. The re-examining. So give this age-old tradition a try and stand for just one thing, if only for awhile.
Accept yourself first and others will too. Rather than letting your fears take over, try assuming that everyone is going to understand you. And accept you. Try assuming that everyone will think you’ve made a great point. Assume that when they respond with some random tangent, they’re really saying, “Great point! I’d like to add to that by mentioning..”
Just adopting this perspective, I suddenly lose so many worries. I no longer worry about being understood, accepted, attacked, or the million other things my inhibition brain comes up with. Instead, I can allow others to make their points. I know I can always come back to mine. By adopting a spirit of collaboration, you gain confidence that comes from within. 🙂 The best kind!
Got something to say? See if you can say it in 8 words or fewer. Boom! This is powerful. As your friendly cognitive scientist, let me tell you that by your 18th rambling sentence, people have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about anymore. Or they 100% get it and they’re just waiting for you to stop talking.
By having the gumption to say what you mean succinctly, you’ll automatically increase your own confidence in yourself. And from a nervous system standpoint, A few words is just a small thing, compared to a monologue. So blurting out a short thing is a great way to break the inhibition cycle and get comfortable existing around other humans.
10. USE DOWNSPEAK (AVOID UPSPEAK)
Ah! This is some high-level ish! Upspeak is the sound you naturally make when asking a question. When you say, “Did you get almond milk?” your voice goes up at the end. Yet we might do this at the end of non-question sentences. Like this: “Yeah, it was on sale?” But you meant, “Yeah, it was on sale.”
Upspeak can make us feel unsure. Why? Because the tone, or prosodic information, mismatches the word meaning.
If you ever catch yourself doing this – just purposely try ending some statements with a lower tone. Or downspeak. They key here is SOME. You don’t have to eliminate all upspeak!Actually, that might be a characteristic of your voice. And that’s a cool, good thing. So if your confidence is wavering, I say throw a few low tones into the ends of your sentences, and see how it feels. 🙂
GO FORTH AND EXUDE CONFIDENCE!
You are a very worthwhile human being and have every right to unearth your natural confidence. So allow your awesome self to shine. I’m so proud of you.
Sincerely, Erienne Dr. Erienne Weine
Alright bb. Now that you know my tricks, I want to know yours! Connect with me on social media and share your own hacks. ♥
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Judging by the name, I thought, “it sure sounds mystical!”
Apparently, I’m not the only one who thought that…
The first time I heard of the Law of Attraction
The first time I heard of the Law of Attraction, it was from someone I just met. I told them I was a Cognitive Psychology Professor, and we started talking about mental stuff. Then suddenly my new friend interjected, “I don’t believe in the Law of Attraction, tho!” Almost as if they wanted to assure me they didn’t believe in something wrong. Something not scientifically supported. Something mumbo-jumbo.
So I looked into it.
And you know what I think?
I think the Law of Attraction is awesome! I think it does a very good job of explaining some key aspects of being human.
But here’s the thing. This is TOTALLY not studied in academic psychology. It is not a scientific law. And I can certainly see why people might want to detangle themselves from it if they want to be taken seriously as a scientific-believing individual.
On the other hand, the Law of Attraction is a pretty popular topic. Tons of peeps find it a good way to understand their reality, and even more people are curious about it. I think we’re going to hear about it a lot more.
Well as your friendly fresh philosopher, I’d like to offer my insight!
Here I provide my own theory. A non-mystical psychological explanation of this popular idea. Turns out the Law of Attraction is a great way to understand yourself, whether you believe in the spiritual or not. Let’s dive in.
The Law of Attraction: What is it?
The Law of Attraction is the idea that your vibe, or the energy you put out, will be heard by the Universe. And the Universe will respond by sending that vibe right back to you!
What you “feel” creates vibes. Those vibes go out into the world. They bounce around. And they come back to you. They come back in the form of situations that generate more of your original vibe. Thus your feelings are validated.
You “attract” your own vibe.
The Law of Attraction is about feelings.
Do you feel beautiful? Then you’ll attract situations and people that make you feel more beautiful.
Do you feel like a loser? Then you’ll attract situations and people that remind you-you’re a loser.
Well, I had been thinking about getting one. So I commented, asking a question about the product. I asked, “Was it expensive?” The response I got was NOT VERY NICE.
They told me, being unhealthy was more expensive than the cost of the product.
OMG rude! I was so offended. All I did was just ask about buying something which I WANTED to buy, and I get someone telling me I’m unhealthy if I don’t live his exact lifestyle.
So as you can imagine, I spent about half a day stewing about this. I felt very offended and judged and mad. And I thought about posting, but did not actually post, something like this:
Yeah, I guess I’m super unhealthy and I’m going to die unless I live exactly like you. Except oh wait didn’t you just literally buy this? So you’ve been unhealthy all your life. Best of luck to you with all that you do, ridiculous hypocrite!*
Definitely some negative vibes (*btw I did not actually post that).
Well my friends, this was a perfect example of the law of attraction, as I soon came to realize.
A Perfect Example of the Law of Attraction
When this guy called me unhealthy, he created a template of judgment, dislike, and hate. And I filled it (or I really wanted to). If I had responded to him, I would have sent to him exactly the negative vibe he sent to me. It is only human.
Because of the negativity he put out, all I wanted to do was respond with more negativity.
That is the Law of Attraction: Psychologically.
What you provide as possible ways of interacting with you, because of your mood, tenor, or general vibe, forms the only slots others can reasonably fill when they interact with you.
As others come to you, with their own energy, they automatically warp it to fit the shape of your energy on that day. I prefer to think of this as the psychological template that you’re using to interpret the world. And also the pathways by which the world is able to interact with you.
So far, this sounds like a story of how someone was a jerk to me. Well, I came to realize, I had a part to play in this attraction business too.
Actually, I Attracted the Negativity to Me
I’ve been meaning to get a water filter. But also I hate to admit that my water is “poisonous.” Hasn’t it been fine all these years? Might I actually benefit from adding a layer of protection to something I trusted? Well, that would mean admitting I was wrong! I’d really rather not.
When I asked about the water filter, I could have used any phrase. Instead of saying, “Was it expensive?” I could have said, “How much was it?” Or, “Wherever did you get it?” But I didn’t. I chose these words instead.
Why? Maybe because if this item were a bit pricey, that would actually be great for my self-esteem. I would be wonderful to have a reason not to get a filter (other than my own stubbornness).
Well, you know what, this dude totally called me out on it. He said, “Being unhealthy is more expensive.” Which is true. He made me face my inner BS.
My Psychological Explanation of The Law of Attraction
Why did I attract this to myself? And how did I do it?
I made my inner struggle an outer struggle. This is something I can see in my words and my decision to write a comment.
In doing so, I attracted, or created, a psychological niche for our conversation. And it just so happened that our conversation filled that niche with the exact same vibe I put out.
This guy wasn’t negative. He was only a mirror of my own negativity.
Or, more realistically, I interpreted his words as negative. But I didn’t have to.
I put out inner blockages and calling things expensive. He put out inner blockages and calling things expensive. What I emitted came back.
On a deeper level, our mental concepts and the ideas we use to communicate tell us something subtler about ourselves. They tell us about our inner world.
We can use many different words, phrases, gestures, body language, emotions, and vibes to communicate. And the ones we choose are often the easiest ones to grab. The ones that are active in our psychological subconscious. Shiny. Easy to use. At the top of the mind.
Sometimes our consciousness picks up on things in our subconscious which we’d prefer not to hear. Things leak out.
And when they do, they get out into the world.
Actually, I’m pretty grateful that I had this exchange with someone I don’t even know. It showed me something about myself. It was hard to look at it, but there it was.
Personally, I want to know. I want to know about myself. Because I always want to improve myself. Keep exploring who I am.
And from now on, I’m just going to pay attention to the words and feelings that come out of me.
I’m going to pay attention to what I attract.
PS – New to the Law of Attraction? Here’s the famous bookthat put it on the map!
Hello, I'm Dr. Erienne Weine. I am the creator of Fresh Philosopher. Here I share how to expand your mindset, cultivate mental wellness, and live a high-vibe life! Welcome.
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