Ad­vice from the best in the UAE.

Ad­vice on self-con­fi­dence, nu­tri­tion, health and ed­u­ca­tion

Friday - - Contents -

I’M A TEENAGER AND VERY SHY

Q I’m a 16-year-old girl and lack the con­fi­dence to in­ter­act with oth­ers. In school, I never an­swer ques­tions even when I know the an­swers be­cause I’m afraid. I mum­ble and stam­mer if I’m asked to speak. Can you help?

Youare not alone in be­ing shy and wor­ry­ing about talk­ing in front of oth­ers. From CEOs to ac­tors, I’ve known peo­ple of all ages who be­come anx­ious when they feel they might be judged by oth­ers.

At 16, you are in one of life’s tran­si­tion phases. You are feel­ing your way to be­com­ing an adult and one of the most com­mon emo­tions many ado­les­cents have to grap­ple with is feel­ing self-con­scious. At your age, you can put pres­sure on your­self, be­cause you feel you fall short when you com­pare your­self to your peers, es­pe­cially when they seem much more con­fi­dent than you. It seems to me that the most im­por­tant thing you can do to help your­self grow that con­fi­dence is to re­ally fo­cus on the pos­i­tives.

What you need to de­velop is the re­silience to deal with life’s knock-backs. The only way you can do that is to take your­self out of your com­fort zone and set your­self a few chal­lenges.

Start small so that suc­cess can be ex­pe­ri­enced quickly; the feel­ing of achiev­ing some­thing you never thought you could boosts your con­fi­dence and spurs you on to go fur­ther. You men­tion you never an­swer ques­tions in class. Well, my first chal­lenge to you is to put your hand up and an­swer one. If you get it right, it will in­evitably make you feel re­ally pos­i­tive. How­ever, though you might not think it, there is al­ways some­thing pos­i­tive to take away from get­ting it wrong too – you will learn what that feels like and re­alise the thought of it is ac­tu­ally worse than the ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion, so put your­self out there and give it a try.

You would also ben­e­fit from join­ing some ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity where you will in­ter­act with oth­ers in a more re­laxed and so­cia­ble way.

When it comes to mum­bling, I want you to dig deep. Use a big­ger voice. Pre­tend you are a more con­fi­dent per­son, even as­sume a char­ac­ter and step into that per­son­al­ity. Do­ing this will al­low you to step out of your­self and you will find that your con­fi­dence grows.

Con­fi­dence isn’t go­ing to come knock­ing on your door – you must go out there and put your­self into sit­u­a­tions where you can learn to grow it.

RUS­SELL HEM­MINGS is a life coach, and clin­i­cal and cog­ni­tive be­havioural hyp­nother­a­pist

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