We don’t pretend to have all the answers but there are a few fundamental things you may find useful as you try to navigate these waters.
First, it is imperative you understand that having a problem dealing with your self-confidence [or self-esteem] is not unusual for a young adult. It isn’t even unusual for an older adult!
Often young adults tend to believe what they do or say is somehow wrong. Sometimes it comes from being constantly criticized. Conversely, when they do something right praise is often in short supply. That can be difficult!
But give this a shot! First, think about your decision-making. Ask yourself if you are making good, informed decisions. Are the criticisms justified? Or, do you think you are being “picked on?” This is critical! Often, as we grow into adulthood, there is a learning curve that includes becoming mature and making good decisions using good judgment. Be sure you are taking that path! How do I make a decision you ask? Well, let’s take a quick look!
Making decisions is something you learn as you grow. And, there are all kinds of decisions from whether or not I buy a certain kind of candy bar to something more serious like what college should I go to. But many decisions are not “clear cut” meaning it is difficult to see the answer – and, sometimes, unfortunately we let our emotions come into play.
Of course, it is very important to have as much information as possible!
The best approach to making a decision often comes from within. That is very significant! Consider this: If the thought occurs to you that you should do something then most likely that is the best choice! On the other hand, if your first instinct is you should not do something, then that is probably the correct choice! It is your inner self helping you make the decision. For example, if you have an important exam the next day and you know you should be studying yet you decide to go to a movie, that is probably not the best decision. That suggests a “lack of maturity” and suggests less than ideal “judgment” on your part. Yet, if you are criticized for making such a decision it lowers your self-confidence.
You can avoid such criticism by making good, well-informed mature decisions!
Next, consider that many times a sense of “shyness” is due to a lack of self-confidence or low esteem. Get up in front of a group – no way, never happen! ”I can’t stand to have people looking at me” you say! Well, again, not unusual. Hey, most people don’t like to be “on display.” That’s pretty common; we all aren’t made to be television reporters or anchors. But, there are certain things you can do that will help you in building your self-confidence.
First, always make every effort to look and dress like you have “command” of yourself. That does not mean you have to “conform” to what everyone else is doing or wearing. How boring would that be! [Excluding such things as school uniforms and/or dress codes where necessary.] Just be certain you have your own sense of self-confidence in what you are wearing! And, hey, we don’t all possess the same skills. If you are uncertain about what “goes with what” then ask a friend who you know dresses well for their advice – or, if you are hesitant to do that, then just observe what they wear. For example, if a guy wears a navy blue shirt then the socks should also be navy blue – certainly not red! It’s simple, don’t make it complicated!
Also, it takes time to build your self-confidence; it doesn’t happen overnight for everyone. Sure, some seem to develop themselves faster than others but we’re all different. That’s what makes life so interesting!
In addition to what you wear you might want to consider your physical growth. You must be realistic in the sense that much is based on your genes. We all cannot become world class athletes despite our best efforts. However, you certainly can build yourself physically as well as mentally. We won’t go into the “how to” of doing that here but meaningful exercise and a good, solid diet are very important to achieving that goal.
Another thought, if you remain somewhat reserved, begin to speak to others simply by saying “hi” and calling people by their name. Everyone loves to hear their name. Just try it!
And finally, if something comes up where you know you will need to “stand up” in front of the class to speak on a certain subject – the most important thing you can do is develop as much knowledge as possible about that subject. The more you understand what is it you are to talk about the easier it will be – trust us!
Eventually it will all fall into place but the more you practice the foregoing ideas the faster it will happen!