How you interact matters, as much as and sometimes more than, the words that you say. Imagine someone asking for a raise. One person does so with a smile and straightforward gaze, while another says the same words with a frown and stares at her shoes and hangs her head.
Your body language and style not only affect the outcome, but also the way you feel. Sometimes we interact in ways that wear at our own self-confidence.
It’s vital to our own sense of self-worth to interact in a way that makes you feel effective, rather than helpless. Interestingly, you don’t have to be confident to act confident. In the case of communication, actions often precede feelings. Act confident and you just might find that you’re feeling better about yourself, as well.
Signs of Confidence:
- A Stable and clear voice tone. You my need to practice, but speaking in a clear voice without whispers or stammering conveys self-assurance.
- Making eye contact. No staring at the floor or looking out the window. Confident eye contact isn’t a persistent stare, but it is a meeting of the eyes as you speak and make your point.
- Listening to others. Listening to others is a way of expanding your view of the world, bridging the differences between you and someone else and demonstrating that your belief in yourself is strong enough to take in other points-of-view.
- Not attacking or threatening. Self-confidence isn’t aggressive. A self-assured person can hear what someone is saying, respond to them and maintain their own point-of-view or make compromises to solve the real problems that are presented.
- Speaking from the heart. Try connecting to your inner sense of well-being and your inner convictions when you talk to others and assert yourself. You might appear passionate, but passion can exude a sense of sureness.
- Looking for win-win solutions. When you’re confident, you know that getting your own way doesn’t have to come at someone else’s expense. Approach a situation with the attitude that it is possible that both perspectives are valid and that two or more people can gain from an interaction.
- Using humor. When something is vital to us, it’s sometimes hard to discuss it in a light-hearted way. But humor can ease tension and shows you’re comfortable with yourself.
- Expressing Gratitude. Confidence is very different from arrogance. Someone who is confident is able to express appreciation and gratitude to someone else. An added bonus is that expressing gratitude happens to be one of the most effective ways to strengthen relationships.
- Apologizing when in the wrong, but not for being alive or having legitimate human needs.
- Acknowledging others, giving and receiving compliments, recognizing other people’s difficulties.
Acting confident doesn’t mean that you’ll always get your way. Sometimes the world is more powerful than us and we don’t have the ability to change a situation. However, behaving with poise, refusing to sell out everything to get approval and giving respect have the added benefit of making you feel more respected and more self-confident.
You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and here for podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.