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Old 05-21-2006, 08:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
Crazy
 
How to overcome shyness and low self esteem?

Hey all,
I've had a problem all my life and it's that i'm too shy and get tongue tied in front of a group of people even if I know them a long time.
It's very psychological...For some people, i'm more open and not fearful of tlaking, but for others, I get tongue tied.
You could see me talking so much to someone and then see me tongue tied with someone else.
I'm also terrified of public speaking.
I have terrible self esteem and always feel inferior to everyone.
Whenever i'm in a group discussion, i barely say a word.
This has been bugging me all my life.
Please dont say anything that would hurt my feelings b/c I'm really senaitive over this issue.
Wheever i apply ofr a job and do not hear back form them, i feel like they resued me because I'm no good.
I feel like I will not be a good candidate for any type of job. I'm afraid of getting a job and being a total failure since I'm not a people operson and all jobs require good communication skills.
How do I overcome all tihs and be a better person?
Thank you for any help
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Old 05-21-2006, 10:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've found mentally acting things out helps me. If I look at something from a 3rd person perspective I find that I can generally speak more openly and clearly. Not speaking in a 3rd person tone, just looking at it objectively as if it were some one else's problem. I guess it's a way of disocciating yourself from the situation. It works for me, though.

Also practice speaking. When you're alone read everything outloud. Teach yourself to speak clearly and well. Think out loud when you're alone so that you'll eventually learn to be less tongue tied since you're practiced in speaking.

The self-esteem and inferiority, understandable. I used to have the same problem. Still do in some situations. When it comes to public speaking, though, know what you're speaking about. Know it backwards and forwards. If you go up on stage un-rehearsed and un-prepared of course you'll be scared, but if you go into it knowing what you need to know and ready to dazzle you'll feel more confident.
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Old 05-21-2006, 11:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Bay Area, California
Lifting weights did it for me. Got me in better shape, boosted my self esteem (the first time I benched 225 was a life changing event for me), and got my testosterone flowing.

I used to be 275 lbs bottom of the bucket, NO self esteem, piece of crap. In high school I had 2 friends, and both constantly made fun of me.

Now I'm 230 lbs (went up from being my all time low of 205) and since then my confidence is up, girls pay more attention to me, and guys respect me. I went from being bottom of the bucket scum to lower level "Alpha male" (If you believe in it).

I don't really have to approach anyone anymore, and am able to confidently start conversations and do things without the help of a wingman.

Still intimidated by public speaking, but not scared shitless like I used to be... as for the group work thing I'm the same but it's because I'm an introvert (or so the Myers-Briggs test told me so). You may be the same way.

I used to feel the same way about being rejected from jobs. Iíd beat myself up. Why didnít I say this, why didnít I say that, etc. Now I just say fuck Ďem, they thought I was too good for them anyway. But donít let this go to your head. ALWAYS, always in moderation.

If I can help, let me know bro. Iíve been there, I remember. It sucked and I was always bummed, depressed even.

Hope this helped!

Jason
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Old 05-21-2006, 11:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah, Jason makes a good point that it helps to figure out what's causing you to be so self-concious and fix it. Working out has done it for me as it has for Jason.

While that may not be the specific fix for you, if there's a fixable problem that's making you nervous, you should work on that and then go from there.
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I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."
Emo Philips
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Old 05-22-2006, 12:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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old roomate of mine had an issue where he would studder when public speaking due to nerves.. So he saw a speach therapist, where they practed public speaking among other things. I'm not exactly sure what they did.. but it worked for him and he got alot of a self confidence boost out of that.

and as much as i'd hate to say it.. Being in good physical shape is likely the best thing you can do for yourself, and your selfesteam. Hit the gym, lift some weights, and perhaps take up a martial art. Both do wonders for the mind and body. That's what helped me..
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Old 05-22-2006, 02:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Fake it. Actions become habits. You are your habits.
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"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers." (M. Scott Peck)
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Old 05-22-2006, 04:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Fake it. Actions become habits. You are your habits.
Hey Hundove. I totally understand and feel really sad because that's how you've come across. For people that are really outgoing it's hard for them to understand that it's a real problem. But I have to agree with Toaster. I'm sort of in the middle. I hate public speaking, break out in sweats and feel physically sick. Hence, I don't do much or try and get out of anything of the sort. I do however, have to go and be social at networking functions, and I find it really, really hard. One on one, I don't have a problem, although initial meetings I still find a little daunting. I know I have a problem with this, but I really do have to push myself to do these functions because I know it's good for me. For me, I think it's stemmed from just enjoying being on my own. Unfortunately, this stunted my social skills and I have to remind myself to get out there.

What don't you like about yourself? You need to identify what it is you're not happy with and work towards fixing it. Share it with us and we'll try and help you Hundove. hugs!
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Old 05-22-2006, 04:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I have/had the same problem. I even think I know where it came from. Back when I was 12 years old I was hanging with a bunch of friends and my buddyís buddy told me to shut up cause I sounded stupid. I just got in the habit of being quite after that, and that is what I believe it is, habit. After high school I joined the Navy, and that didnít help my problem at all. Told to do this and that, and not ask questions or I felt that I could not stick up for myself when dealing with people that out ranked me. Cause I was so shy, I too was terrified of public speaking. I had no problems when talking in front of a small group of people that I knew, but throw someone in there I didnít know and I would stumble over my words and sound like a big goof, and the more I messed up the more I didnít want to do it.

The thing that broke me of this, well I wouldnít say that I am broke but helped improve the situation 200% was college. At the school that I went to, it seem like we had to give two power point presentations for every class. I was awful, my first year. The butterflies were so bad I thought that I was either going to puke or pass out. Every year it got a little better. By the time I was in my last year, I had no problems at all. Well little problems.

My worked help too, after a while my boss had me attend project meetings. Where I was forced to interact with people on a professional and social level. There is no easy way out. You just have to convince yourself that this is what you are going to do, and keep on practicing, and when you fall flat on your face, you have to pick yourself up and keep on it.
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Old 05-22-2006, 05:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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two things:

Act As If....

While I'm not a fan of Ben Affleck, his speech in Boiler Room is a good motivator.

Quote:
There's an important phrase that we use here, and think it's time that you all learned it. Act as if. You understand what that means? Act as if you are the fucking President of this firm. Act as if you got a 9" cock. Okay? Act as if.
Second, you want to have higher self esteem? Do esteemable actions. What does that mean. It means doing more than what you've been doing. If you've been sitting on the sofa, it means going out into the real world. It means doing service to your fellow human being. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, read to some people in an old folks home. Spend time outside of your own head and in the presence of someone else's.
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Old 05-22-2006, 02:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I would say try new things. Talk to people in a group... even if you are fearful. Just to see how you react. If you get tongue tied, think it through and try to speak clearly. Start doing things with people, invite a couple of friends over for a party or a get together and see how you react then. If you're comfortable with that then you could go out and chat with people then.

I use to be the same way. I was scared of talking people, especially if there was more than one. But I figured that if I just stayed silent then no one would really know who I am. I would just be a person on the outside looking in. I tried new things and I grew. And the same will happen to you.

Slowly push your boundaries and see where that leads. If something new feels totally uncomfortable then stop and just push yourself to the point of almost crossing the line... then just keep going back to that line until you're comfortable with it. From there you'll do well.
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Old 05-22-2006, 02:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Aww, thanks all!
You really make me feel better.
Oh, and about weight lifting, I really dont want muscles. (I'm a gal,hehe) But great idea for the guys.
You've got some great ideas...I'll have to be more daring and try them.
Keep them coming!
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Old 05-22-2006, 03:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Some great advice in this thread

Another important thing to note is that you are who you hang out with. Make friends with people who reflect your goals. This is vital. You have to surround yourself with outgoing, possitive, people in order to grow.

Wish you the best.
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Old 05-22-2006, 05:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Colorado
Quote:
Originally Posted by hundove
Oh, and about weight lifting, I really dont want muscles. (I'm a gal,hehe) But great idea for the guys.
Not all lifting has to be for muscle. You can do it just for tone. I'm sure there some ladies around who can give you pointers if you want.

Confidence and habits are where it's at.
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Old 05-22-2006, 11:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: Bay Area, California
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgoilear
Not all lifting has to be for muscle. You can do it just for tone.
What he said. Okay so you don't really have any testesterone to feel good on, but there's still the endorphins.

Running, weight lifting, biking, whatever will get them running.

If you go the weight lifting way, go LIGHT with high repetitions. Maybe 5 sets of 15. That'll help "tone" your muscles.

Personally I dig women that lift weights. Not those overly muscled fitness competitors that compete at the professional level, but women that know how to lift.

In fact, the other day I saw an average looking girl. Normally I wouldn't go out of my way to talk to her, but I had to comment on how nice her calves looked.

Anyway, let me know how it works out! I'd love to hear!
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:10 AM   #15 (permalink)
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you just have to practice. I used to be scared to death with talking in public, but by the end of my senior year of college (graduated this month! hoorah!), I was having to talk in front of 100 people or more because I was the president of my club. also, having a good knowledge of what you are talking about helps TREMENDOUSLY. don't talk just to talk, actually have something to say. then it comes out a lot easier.
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:46 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Heh. You sound just like me, especially the me of a couple of years ago... At one point my esteem was so bad, I didn't even leave the house during the day, because I felt like I was so fucking ugly people were staring at me down their noses. I knew that wasn't true, but I felt like it anyway...

I still have some esteem issues and stuff, but I've gone through a major change in this regard. All thanks to the fact that I got a job that I am good at and can do. I may hate it (the job, not the work), but it has brought me out to talk to people, as I have had to communicate with dozens of people on a daily basis, and so on.
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:57 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: LI,NY
There is alot of good advice here and if you search, I think there are other threads relating to this topic that might have more advice.

When I first came to TFP, I was shy. I am sure there are people here who can vouch for that. Over the past year, I have learned so much about myself, what I like and what I don't like. Once you figure out what it is you don't like about yourself, do something to change it. I rejoined weight watchers, started some small exercises, became determined to clean up my house and myself. I did all of this for ME, no one else. It has changed me a great deal. A year ago, I would not have answered this thread. and here I am now. A year ago I would have never drove to meet someone I only knew online, last Sunday I did. A year ago, I would not hold my head up high as I walked down the hall, now I look at people face to face and smile.

I am not sure I am helping you at all, but know that you are not alone and shyness can be overcome.
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Old 05-25-2006, 02:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Thanks all for the wonderful help!
VERy great ideas and i'm sure they'll work! I just need the encouragement, that stern push to do them.

The problem is that i'm terrified of working..TERRIFIED!! I feel like i'm going to make a fool of myself and make evryone laugh at me..I feel like I'm gonna be the one everyone picks on and will be a disgrace to the boss or something.
Some people told me to go to companies straight and see if they have work and I'm not the type that can do that. I tried doing it and really made a fool of myaself..I felt so small as if i'm a beggar.
I have low self esteem so I'm not sure of any good quality, even my good qualities turn against me...I'm too nice, I like helping, so if i'm asked for help, I go out of the way just to help, even if it means that it will be losses for me. I've found that peope take advantage of me.
As for being fit, i really dont like the fact of being seen as nice by how much I weigh and so I really won't want to be fit just to feel better of myself, b/c right now...even going to a gym means that i'll need to have a job first.

I even find it easier to write someone an email than calling them...I've tried talking with groups, but I go so tongue tied I didn't even complete what i was saying and they just started saying other stuff...I meabn, sometimes this makes people not even hear me...I even sometimes feel that my presence is not even made known that even when I do talk no one pays attention.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Communication is sooooooooooooooo hard!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Location: Iceland
Quote:
Originally Posted by hundove
Oh, and about weight lifting, I really dont want muscles. (I'm a gal,hehe)
Don't be too quick to dismiss the physical improvement. I'm a gal, too, and you wouldn't believe how much it helps my self-esteem to lift weights on a regular basis... I love seeing and feeling my muscles get stronger.

I've never been too shy, but I am an introvert. Since I've been working out (both cardio and lifting), though, I feel more confident and assertive in general. I walk down the street and feel like I could kick anyone's ass, a feeling which extends into other areas of my life.

So I encourage you to not be intimidated by getting "muscles." You already have them... they are just waiting to be put into action. Making them stronger can do nothing but improve your self-image and kick-assness.

Oh, and you don't need a gym to start getting in shape. Nor do you have to use your weight as a motivating factor to get in shape. You can get in shape by walking around your neighborhood and doing push-ups, sit-ups, etc at home... and not to lose/gain weight, but simply to feel good about yourself.

/just a thought.
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:21 PM   #20 (permalink)
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You don't need money to exercise. Walking around the mall for an hour works. Lifting one gallon jugs of water would be a start. You can do push-ups, sit-ups, and lunges(sp?) without paying for a gym membership.

I had the same problem with job interviews 2 years ago. I went to a therapist and she helped me with overcoming my fear of them and some other things. It helps if you can come up with answers to the most common interview questions and be able to prepare ahead of time. Then you won't have to work so hard to come up with stuff on-the-fly. And the hardest part for me, and something I still have to think about doing, is looking people in the eye when talking to them.

When you are in a group situation, try to either ask questions or know enough about something to give your opinion. Try watching a white house briefing to see how journalists ask questions and then follow-up. Analyze conversations that take place on TV shows (Not the sitcoms, the ones with real people)

I'm not sure what kind of job you are looking for, but if you can prove that you can do the job, and can present examples of it, that will help your confidence level quite a bit.
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Old 05-26-2006, 02:17 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hundove
Thanks all for the wonderful help!
VERy great ideas and i'm sure they'll work! I just need the encouragement, that stern push to do them.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

It will never happen if you just continue to talk about it. You're going to have to actually take an action to get the process started.
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:17 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Thanks, abaya, ASU2003 , and Cynthetiq.
And great tips!
I like walking so I do that sometimes but it hasn't helped me in having a higher self esteem

And I really hate exercising and weight lifting...

I try to talk in group setting but I always end up saying things that I really dont mean, or aren't true, or just dumb things that shouldn't of been said..making me more embarrassed and mouthshut during the rest of the time.
Even with interviews, I say things that shouldn't of been said and will only make me a bad candidate.
I was once asked to teach in an elementary school and I unconsciously blurbed out that i'm not a good teacher...well, after that..whenever I go for an interview as a teacher, i never get the job,lol.
I'm looking more into office work (b/c I'd rather use a comp than just meet new people ) and maybe afterwards as I gather enough courage and self-esteem I can look into better jobs.
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:25 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Have somebody do practice interviews with you...

Or do it yourself - get a book of interview questions and ask them to yourself and answer them out loud... It also helps if you tape yourself when you are doing this so you can go back later and hear what you sounded like... When answering a question... Don't blurt... Think about the question.. .Formulate your answer... then answer the question... It's OK to wait a second or two before answering the question... Sounds like you suffer from blurt-itis... PAUSE... Count to three...then answer...

What are your positive qualities - all you've done is talk about what you're doing wrong... What are you doing write? You've graduated from college and are raising a child... surely there's something you've done right in your life.. .focus on those things...

Negativity doesn't get you anywhere but more negativity...

You need to get a job... What are the steps you are going to take to get the job you want. You've spent a lot of time in various threads talking about what you can't do... Screw that... It's not getting you anywhere is it? Focus on what you can do... and JUST DO IT!!!
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Old 05-26-2006, 04:12 PM   #24 (permalink)
Extreme moderation
 
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Location: Kansas City, yo.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hundove
Even with interviews, I say things that shouldn't of been said and will only make me a bad candidate.
I was once asked to teach in an elementary school and I unconsciously blurbed out that i'm not a good teacher...well, after that..whenever I go for an interview as a teacher, i never get the job,lol.
Well, don't do that, silly. *spank* Sabatoging yourself isn't going to make you happy, and that's the goal, right?
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:55 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Perhaps you are an introvert. There's a pretty good book out called the Introvert Advantage. Might help you see things a little differently - yourself and others. It sure helped my wife who sounded like you at one time...and now she teaches Yoga classes of 40-50 people. Based on that, I'd say she came to terms with life and now lives it!
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Old 05-30-2006, 01:43 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason762
Okay so you don't really have any testesterone to feel good on
Women do have testosterone and it fluctuates just like in men. It controls sexual response for one thing. But I digress.

I agree with the whole exercise thing. I don't like exercising either, but it does significantly help with mood. Mood has a lot to do with self-esteem. If you're depressed a lot, then chances are your self-esteem is low. And I don't mean only clinical depression. Even if you just have the "doldrums" your self-esteem will suffer.

So don't be afraid to exercise ... you don't have to jog or lift-weights or any traditional method of exercise. Go to a park with a couple of friends and swing (you know what I mean, , on the swing sets) ... play on the monkey bars.

Shyness on the other hand is something that you have to get control of. I got over my shyness and inability to talk in front of people (or even one-on-one in some situations) by nude modelling for life-drawing classes for one semester. I was shaking uncontrollably before I dropped my robe and climbed up onto the "stage."

It worked to some extent ... I used to have terrible stage fright before that, despite being in bands and orchestras on stage. Playing an instrument and singing is one thing ... talking to people is another. I still have some trouble talking in groups, but I can do it with no visible distress.

I'm not saying that you should do nude modelling ... but you definitely need to put yourself in a situation where you can practice being in front of people. Practice. A lot ...

There is no overnight miracle cure as I'm sure you're aware.
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Old 06-02-2006, 05:16 PM   #27 (permalink)
Tilted
 
It seems like there has already been a fairly complete set of answers, but I'll toss in my 2 cents anyways.

I used to be very shy and was always tongue-tied when talking, especially to strangers. But I realize now that it was because I was worried of what other people thought of me, and I was afraid that they would judge me negatively because of anything I said. Identifying the problem really helped me, because I changed my mindset (not overnight, of course) to "Hey, this is what I have to say; if you don't like, too bad". It's more of a "I don't care" attitude.

But that's not to say that I don't care at all - theres a balance of acknowledging other people's feelings and helping your own self-esteem. The fact is, people weren't judging me based on every little thing I said; it was the general feeling I gave to them over a long period of time. I'm certainly not 100% cured but I think I've definitely gotten on the right track.

Hope that helps some
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Old 06-03-2006, 06:26 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantus
Some great advice in this thread

Another important thing to note is that you are who you hang out with. Make friends with people who reflect your goals. This is vital. You have to surround yourself with outgoing, possitive, people in order to grow.

Wish you the best.
You totally sound like me, who I am now. I'm even shy to speak up in this online community, strange huh. But what I'm discovering in my own journey to overcome shyness is kind of in-line to what Mantus said. To surround yourself with people who will foster your growth. For me it's spending more time with people who are adventurous and try new things, instead of my friends who just party all the time. Not that that's bad, but not conducive to what I want to accomplish.

Another thing that I'm eager to try is to take an acting class. In my mind that would help immensely to get over my shyness. One because you are exposed to a stage and an audience. And two, the best aspect, you get to practice and practice and practice. I would recommend a community college level as it's more geared to experimentation and not "acting" classes.

Thanx for sharing this entry, as I was too shy to share my experience, though I really wanted to. And I have a feeling that this group of people here are pretty darn cool and this community is a great place to help overcome shyness.

Take care and keep us in touch. =)
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Old 06-14-2006, 02:12 PM   #29 (permalink)
Tilted
 
Hundove, all through highschool, and for the first couple years after, I was the exact same way. Everyone's situation is different, but I just worked my hardest on identifying what made me shy in the first place (as others have said).

What I found out is the reason I was so shy was that I overthought EVERYTHING. I would want to plan out exactly what I wanted to say so I said it perfectly, only to find that by the time I figured it all out, the moment for me to say it, was long past. So I was stuck saying nothing.

To fix it I just started diving in there and saying the first thing that came to my mind. Granted, when I did this I made sure it was when I was in a group of friends or people I knew I was safe with and who wouldn't insult me... but it's the baby steps. Toaster said "Fake it. Actions become Habits, You are your Habits"... for me that wasn't quite it. I could never fake it. But the Actions become Habits thing is a lot closer to my situation. The more you DO it, the more comfortable you get WHILE doing it. I found that the more I spoke up, even if I made a fool of myself, that I would learn to say the right thing the first time without having to overthink it.
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Old 06-14-2006, 08:21 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Hundove, I'm in the same boat as you. Introverted, shy, social phobias that cause me to become overly self-consciousl in most social situations. I don't have much of a problem speaking in public [I'm a college professor], but all of the rest of what you describe could be me.

I don't have any advice to add that's any better than what the others have said here, but I did want to encourage you and tell you that you've at least identified the problem and sought help, which is at least a good first step.

Good luck, and I hope things improve for you.

Gilda
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