it's obvious when I'm not confident

by Melanie

Hi, I'm new here and hoping for some feedback on a tough problem of mine. First, a bit of background...

I'm Mel, 37YO female. I'm a very easily intimidated person, especially when other people get very angry, upset, or passionate in a discussion. The general advice for people in my situation seems to be along the lines of, "Don't let 'em see ya sweat", "be calm, take a breath", etc. That's great advice, but it doesn't work for me, because when I'm feeling nervous/intimidated/emotional, it is VERY visible to everyone around. My face turns beet red, my hands start to shake and my voice cracks.

This is very embarrassing to me (which in turns makes things worse!) and then the person I'm speaking with assumes I'm not knowledgeable about the subject because I don't seem confident, or I'm not credible, or I'm lying, etc. I get accused of being "too emotional" (when I'm trying my best to stay calm) and at times I have been laughed at for taking a subject "too seriously" ("Lighten up Mel!" is what I'm told, usually by someone who just a moment ago was incredibly passionate about whatever we were discussing).

This doesn't just happen in debates/arguments either. It can be a situation in which someone innocently brings up a subject (or does it on purpose, hoping to "push my buttons") and my discomfort shows, much to my chagrin. I find some subjects uncomfortable or inappropriate to talk about (or it's just none of so-and so's business), and some people, once they see my discomfort, relish the chance to keep digging in. As a child I was encouraged not to let these types of bullies see how it bothered me--if they thought I wasn't bothered, they'd give up. But my blushing and shaking betray me every time!

Is there a way for me appear to be confident and not intimidated in these situations? Or, if there isn't (it's really hard to control blushing!), what can I do when it happens?

Comments for it's obvious when I'm not confident

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Aug 20, 2008
by: Catherine,

Hi Mel,

I can totally relate to what you're saying. I used to have the same thing happen to me. My blushing was so bad. Sometimes, I would even start blushing when I was just standing in a line and not even thinking about anything. Then, it would get much worse when I'd start thinking about how everyone must be thinking that I'm thinking "bad" thoughts and that I'm an idiot for going so red.

One of the things that helped me the most was to not focus on myself when I started to blush. I'd try to almost ignore that it was happening. I found if I resisted it by being embarrassed by it or wishing it would go away or imagining what everyone was thinking about me, it would get much worse. If I just let it happen and focus more on what I want to say then it doesn't last that long. The first couple of times it's hard not to think about what everyone is thinking about you, but after that, you start not to care. Just let yourself be red for a few minutes and it goes away much, much faster than focusing on it.

I also found that people didn't notice it nearly as much as I thought they did. Plus, when you think about it, if you saw someone blushing, you wouldn't think less of them. We just think people think less of us when it happens but they really don't.

A book you might be interested in reading is Blushing Free by Gary Ambrosh. He has some good ideas in his book about how to stop blushing. He even feels that some foods contribute to making blushing worse.

Part of it too may be that you just need to keep working on believing in yourself and your ideas. Once you keep working on your confidence, you'll probably find that it happens less as well as you start to feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and ideas with others.

Maybe also have a few things already prepared in your head that you can say in the situations like when someone starts asking you questions you find inappropriate. Something like just telling them, "Let's talk about something more interesting instead." Then, you won't feel flustered when it happens and you can remain calm.

You may be focusing too much on not letting people see you "bothered" by their comments. Sometimes, the more we focus on what we don't want (you don't want them to see you bothered) then that's exactly what happens. So, be okay with the fact that they might see you bothered once in awhile. It's okay. Work on knowing that you can handle whatever they dish out at you. Focus on how strong you are and how confident you are. Keep those thoughts in your head and you'll soon start behaving that way when it happens.


Aug 26, 2008
Thank You
by: Melanie


Thank you so much for that very considerate reply. I will difinitely be getting that book as well as taking your advice to heart. I know the root of it all is that I have very low confidence in my social skills, and part of what I will be doing to help bolster my confidence is reading the articles on this site.

Part of my problem has been that there are certain people in my life who make a very big issue out of my discomfort in social situations. I've been thinking about this lately and I think what I have been doing is making the assumption that all people are the same as the few social bullies whom I've dealt with in my life. One thing you said is that people don't notice it as much as I'd think, and when they do, they don't think less of me. I have been assuming that everyone notices and thinks less of me, but that's probably only because of the "bad apples" I've had to deal with! I think I need to keep reminding myself that not everyone is like that!

Nov 02, 2008
Same problem
by: Anonymous

Hi there! I do have the same problem but i don't blush. My hands shake if somebody is watching me doing any work, think what i am doing is right or wrong? Also i am learning to how just turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Keep meditating and when you are free just keep focus on your goals. That's what i can say because i am completely like in your situation. My hand shaking problem is not solved yet. But i will solve it. Just have faith in yourself, If somebody asks you a question. Think for a second and answer, don't think i have answered it right or wrong. No matter what other think. Do they think about you> Then why you should be.

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