If you’re an introvert who grew up thinking there’s something wrong with you, you’re not alone. Many introverts spend years struggling with self-confidence. We focus on our supposed flaws, and even amplify them to the point of utter self-hatred. Not only that…
We often attach stories to each introvert trait:
“My need for space means I am anti-social and cold.”
“My quietness means I am boring and timid.”
“My hatred of small talk means I am rude.”
These kinds of beliefs about ourselves are dangerous, because our “I am” determines our self-image, and our self-image is the lynchpin of self-confidence and success.
The reason why our self-image is so important is because it influences the actions we take and the people we attract. As self-improvement author Maxwell Maltz put it, “A human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment.”
What a powerful statement! If we act and feel in accordance with our beliefs about ourselves, we’d best make sure those beliefs are constructive.
Improving your self-image to boost self-confidence
I’ve found that a key mindset shift for improving your self-image is to see your introvert traits and qualities as neutral, rather than good or bad.
For example, instead of thinking of your quietness as a bad thing, think of it as something that just is. It’s a quality that makes you who you are and it is only your view of it that makes it good or bad.
The words we say to ourselves matter greatly, especially if you’re an introvert who struggles with self-confidence. That’s why changing the language you use to describe yourself is key.
Instead of saying, “I’m a neat freak,” you might say, “I care a lot about my environment and I love when my space is beautiful and clean.”
Instead of saying, “I’m uptight,” say, “I’m a warm and thoughtful person who takes time to open up.”
Improving how others see you
You might wonder, what about what other people think?
If you find yourself caring too much about what others think, remember that other people’s view of you is largely determined by your view of yourself. What I’ve found is that improving your self-image immediately begins to draw people into your life who are more accepting. Meanwhile, those who don’t fully accept you tend to fall away.
The more you appreciate your qualities—even the difficult ones, the more others will appreciate them, too.
My journey towards more self-confidence
I have to confess that appreciating all of my qualities is an ongoing process. Strangely, many of the aspects of my personality that I’ve resisted really aren’t bad at all.
For example, for a few years now I’ve been doing stand-up comedy. So, I spend a lot of time with male comedians who…well…let’s just say they’re not the most elegant of men.
Being surrounded by dudes who are messy and rough around the edges made me feel like I was too “extra” and “uptight”, because I really love to take care of my home and myself and make things beautiful.
When I realized how backwards my self-image had become, I started to consciously appreciate these aspects of myself. I also told myself that there are plenty of men out there who appreciate how “extra” I am.
Sometimes I feel myself getting jealous of female friends who seem to always know the right thing to say. But then the other day I was talking with an old friend and what he shared gave me a lightbulb moment.
He admitted that, although he likes his best friend’s wife, he doesn’t feel fully comfortable around her. “It’s like she’s too perfect, and she always says the right thing, which make me feel like I can’t say anything negative or tease my friend.”
This made me realize that there’s no such thing as always saying the “right thing” or behaving in the “right way”, because it’s all subjective.
Each of us gets to choose what qualities we appreciate in ourselves and others. So, why not make life easier for yourself and choose to embrace everything that make you YOU.