How to be Confident if you’re Not Normal

There’s tons of advice on self-confidence out there, most of it is pretty useless, but here’s a line that I thought was interesting:

Confidence comes from giving yourself permission to be not what you want yourself to be, but what you are.

I read it in an Instagram Story of Jacob Collier – he’s a British musical genius (if you love music and chords, you should follow him).

Let me rephrase what he said: Confidence means learning to accept who you are RIGHT NOW (i.e. your looks, your job, your status and everything else). We tend to think we need to be different and aren’t “good enough” yet, but that’s a mistake, it’s the opposite of confidence.

The Jordan Peterson types will dislike this advice, they’re all about working hard on yourself, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and taking on as much responsibility as possible.. but what if I don’t want all that?

I also don’t think accepting myself with all my flaws means I’ll have no motivation to improve anymore. The problem is rather (and this is the problem with all “self-help advice”): Accepting oneself can seem like an unachievable feat, like climbing Mount Everest alone. It’s one thing to get it on an intellectual level, but it’s much harder to live it.

Having low self-confidence is something very deeply ingrained into us, possibly on a DNA level – it’s not something we can just shake off like a cold. It might be due to childhood trauma, maybe being raised by narcissists who never gave us the feeling we’re ok the way we are.

What prevents me from being self-confident is toxic shame.
I’m not sure if that’s a scientific term, but what I mean is a latent feeling that something isn’t ok with me, that I can’t just be comfortable around others. I’m always on my toes, because I’m afraid they’ll find out something about me that they’ll hate me for.

I’m not sure if there’s any real cure for that “condition” (people will suggest therapy or drugs). But here’s what I’ve started doing and it’s been pretty good for me: If I’m in a social situation where I feel the discomfort in my chest arising, because I feel I should be putting on a mask to be well liked: I don’t do it. And I try to make the situation enjoyable for me.

If I don’t feel like talking, I don’t talk. Maybe for half an hour. Will they think I’m weird and quiet? Probably.
If somebody makes insensitive remarks (e.g. on someone’s appearance), I like to call them out on it.
And if the conversation is endlessly boring to me and I start to get dizzy, I politely ask to change the topic and I’ll add something like “I’m sorry my mind disengages when talking about this topic. Can we talk about something else – or else I’ll lie on the couch for a while if that’s ok for you”

I’m trying to not make it personal and remain polite. I don’t enjoy making others uncomfortable.
But here’s the essence: I’m spending my precious time here in this social setting, so I want to enjoy myself.
Yes, I’m a human being and I’m allowed to have needs and preferences and express them (this is super hard for me because I’ve learned to suppress this for all of my life).

Basically it’s going from:
I’m not normal – I hope nobody finds out, to:
I’m not normal – deal with it, it’s not my problem if this makes you uncomfortable.

This is probably not good advice for people who have no filter and who are very vocal about what they want. But I’m the opposite, so I have to learn it.
I know this sounds a bit obnoxious and edgy – but this type of honesty feels good, it’s freeing, and a lot of people will actually like it.
Or they won’t, so they’ll avoid me next time – it’s a win-win for me!

­čś┤ What might help you find calm

Intentional ASMR Picks:

  • This was great: A relaxing oil treatment by itsblitzzz (I thought the different oil flasks looked nice)
  • Matty’s recent video with gaming controller sounds (he even has some old school ones) was great
  • I don’t know much about Russian ASMR but this channel KittyKlaw has almost 2 million subscribers – and the quality is excellent! (like these “green triggers“)
  • Love these pretty basic haircut videos by YoungPrince ASMR, and he recently made a new one┬á

Unintentional ASMR Picks:

  • A beautiful and relaxing video on a 3 day bushcraft trip on the channel Nagualero came out just yesterday – recommended!
  • This Origami channel (Jo Nakashima) is very popular, and for a good reason – and the paper and crinkling sounds are great! Check out this Origami Rose tutorial, for instance (see picture above)
  • I played some online casino again (mostly lost money), but these Baccarat dealers had amazing mumbly voices!
  • I loved the old school smartphone reviews on this channel (especially the voice and mouth sounds), so I made a compilation which I think you’ll like!┬á