I can’t remember who told me this, but a long time ago someone mentioned that they thought the secret to confidence was faking it. This thought ran through my head today as I was thinking about the start of another school year and, more importantly, the start of my last year of college.
I was thinking about all of the opportunities that have been given to me for this new year. I’ll be one of the writers for the yearbook, one of my classes will be going to see a live performance (we’re voting on what to go to, but I’m hoping it’s Wicked), and in December I’ll be taking a trip to England with some other English majors. I’m beyond excited, but at the same time I’m petrified. I get anxious because all of these amazing experiences deal with other people that I don’t know well. I’m not one who can walk up to a group of people and start making friends. I can barely walk up to one person and start talking. Part of it is the fact that I’m naturally shy and a bit of an introvert, but the other part is that I lack confidence.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you have difficulty making friends. It means that you find solitude comforting and you become exhausted after social events. This is defintily me, but I actually do have trouble making friends because I can never work up a conversation. I never know what to say to people and I often worry that I’m not interesting enough for them. I have no fun stories or exciting hobbies. I’m kind of a dull person to be honest. I’m comfortable with who I am, but I still can’t seem to find that confidence when I’m around other people. This year I don’t want to be that girl who finds the loneliest desk in the library and hides. I want to be able to make new friends and get to know the people on the yearbook staff and the people I’ll be taking my trip with. It’s just not as easy as it sounds.
This is where this advice comes in. I believe that everyone has insecurities and no matter what, we’ll always lack a little bit of confidence. That’s normal. After all, everyone has their flaws and that’s fine. We just can’t let those flaws get the better of us. Confidence, sadly, isn’t something that drops out of the sky or something you can go to a store and buy. It’s also not something you can spend your whole life searching for because you may never find it. The best thing to do is just fake it.
If you need to talk to someone or you want to make friends then just for a moment forget all of your anxieties and act like a confident person. This doesn’t mean to act like you’re full of your self, it simply means not to be afraid. You have to trick yourself into thinking that you’re not scared for just one moment and the rest will fall into place. You have to fake that confidence to yourself or else you’ll always be running in place and never moving forward.
To be honest, I feel like confidence is more of an illusion than anything else. If you put on a nice shirt you usually feel a bit more confident even though all you did was change clothes. It’s all in the mind which is why you have to pretend. If you’re like me and you need that extra confidence boost, don’t wait for it to come to you because if it’s an illusion then it can’t. Just remember that you’re an awesome person and that you’re more capable of great things than you think. If you’re scared then pretend you’re brave and fake that confidence for a bit to get you were you need to be. You’re not lying to yourself, you’re simply pretending not to be afraid. After you do what you wanted to do then the real fear will start to fade and soon you won’t need to pretend anymore.
If it helps, just think of it as standing on a diving board. You’re freaking out because you’re afraid of heights, but if you don’t jump then you’ll always be standing there. You’ll always be on that diving board filled with your anxieties. Courage isn’t going to fall from the sky and magically empower you. You have to empower yourself so take a deep breath, pretend that you’re the bravest person in the world, and take that dive. Once you hit the water, you’ll realize that it wasn’t so bad as you’re filled with the water’s calming effect. The more times you take that jump the more natural it will become and soon you’ll no longer have to pretend.