How To Gain Confidence By Being Yourself
What stops us from just showing up and being ourselves around people? How can we be more honest, real, and genuine in our social lives?
Join Dr. Aziz in this fascinating discussion with honest expert Dr. Susan Campbell where you will discover what stops us from being fully ourselves and how you can increase your confidence by just relaxing and being genuine with others.
Click below to hear this episode!
Click here to learn more about Dr. Susan Campbell’s outstanding work on honesty and confidence. She is the author of numerous books, including Getting Real and Truth In Dating.
The Importance Of Being Yourself
Hey welcome to the show. Today we’re going to be looking at something that will naturally start happening for you as you become more confident. As you listen to these episodes and apply what you learn and start to overcome some of those social fears and anxieties, you’re going to want to start to discover how to be my real self with others. When I’m not doing things because I think I should or other people would like this and you just really want to express yourself, move the way that you want to move, talk the way that you want to talk, do the kinds of things that you want to do in the world. This episode is really going to help you step into that and I’m very excited about our guest today who has been studying this stuff for decades and teaches it with just incredible wit and perceptive mental intelligence and clarity and at the same time, she’s just got this very warm loving energy as well that makes you just kind of feel so much more relaxed in yourself.
So, we’re going to get to her in just one minute. If you want to be connected in the conversation by all means call the show hotline (206) 338-3176. You can also go to shrinkfortheshyguy.com and just send me a message. I love listening to those and hearing those and reading those and of course, go to Facebook.com/shrinkfortheshyguy or Twitter @shyguyshrink. These are all ways to stay connected because I love hearing from you and hearing how the show is impacting you. So, without further ado, let’s jump into our awesome conversation with Dr. Susan Campbell.
Dr. Aziz: Today guest is someone I’m incredibly excited to talk to, Dr. Susan Campbell and I knew her first as an author. I picked up a book called Getting Real and I don’t even know how I came across it. In fact, I don’t even remember if Amazon recommended it to me or whatever it was, what stood out to me was the title Getting Real and there’s something about that that was just speaking to what I needed to do in my life.
And so, I tore through that book and probably highlighted like every other sentence and we went on to read another book of hers called Truth in Dating and she has written a number of books, nine books. She teaches seminars and workshops in different places. She works with individuals and couples. She has also worked in the corporate world with Fortune 500 companies and done so many different things in her life and it’s all about this message of living your life fully out loud and being real and honest and direct and it’s something that I think I and so many people yearn for and she really is skillful in teaching how to do it, how to have the courage to do it and the skill to do it in a way that really brings results in your life. So, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Dr. Susan: It’s a pleasure.
Dr. Aziz: So, I think one of the things that I love to start with is that advocating honesty is different than I think how – certainly when I was shy and anxious I was the opposite of that. I would hold so much inside all of the time. And my biggest fear of speaking up was A. something really bad is going to happen like people are really going to judge me or B. I’m really going to crush and hurt people by saying the truth and I’m sure these are objections that you hear probably daily in your work. And what are your thoughts on those two fears?
Dr. Susan: Well, those are pretty much the most common fears that people report about being honest and let me point out to you and to our listeners here that the thing that creates inhibition around saying what you really feel and think is something bad is going to happen like to me or to the other person. Like I’m going to get hurt or the other person is going to get hurt. So, that’s what we need to start with is that fear of an unwanted outcome. So, if any change is going to happen, we need to start with self-awareness like an honest look at ourselves and so, we need to be honest and go, “Okay. There’s some outcome that I fear” and typically I fear hearing no or I fear getting this blank stare from somebody when I ask them a question to start a conversation. You listeners you know that awful gut-wrenching feeling of “Oh, I did something wrong.”
So, it’s really important to study ourselves and know ourselves because if we can’t know and accept ourselves, we’re not going to be able to be ourselves and it’s not that easy to accept ourselves with those fears and those inhibitions. But that is the very first step to having any kind of a relationship with another person is to have a relationship with oneself. So, that means asking yourself “Okay, what is it that I’m afraid would happen? Okay, she gave me that blank stare. All right, let me fill into that feared outcome. Has that actually happened to me? Oh, yes. Oh, yes it has. It happened when I was 14 and the head cheerleader blah, blah, blah…” you know you go into a memory and how did I handle that? And often we have past memories that haunt us about situations that we didn’t handle very well and it kind of proves that “Okay, I never want this to happen again.” however, that kind of emotional pain.
Here’s the core thing that I want to get to with everyone. The emotional pain associated with those feared outcomes is the target of our attention. Like what if I do feel that emotional pain? What’s wrong with emotional pain? There will be. There will be some emotional pain, some disappointments, some letdowns, mind shatters that I’m not good enough. We want to get curious about the whole inner landscape of our fears because this is the way to healing ourselves. I’ll go into – you know, I don’t want to do too long of a monologue here, Aziz, but it is a bit of a long answer to your question.
Dr. Aziz: Sure.
Dr. Susan: So, I’ll try to complete here. If that fear of emotional pain is what’s inhibiting you from being honest, from being your fully expressed confident, delightful self which is true of men and women, young and old, it’s there in all of us, the place to put our attention is on that tender part of us that experience that pain when we were 14 or maybe if I remember even longer. It might be when I was two years old and reached out for something and got pushed back, pushed away. You hear a lot of nos when you’re a child and no is not a friendly word to most children because it’s interrupting our forward expression. So, if we can tune in to the pain associated with the no or with that blank look and bring some tenderness to ourselves, you see what happens when we were children and this happens to almost everyone is when we were upset and this is when we were really little, when we were upset, when we weren’t happy, our parents really cared about us so much being in most cases that, that made them uncomfortable too or even if they didn’t care about us, they cared about their own piece of mind and if we’re yelling and screaming for something, it’s inconvenient for the big people.
So, all of us has programming inside of us that our expression of needs and particularly if we’re unhappy and frustrated and anything painful that that somehow not okay and we’re taught to feel shame when we feel hurt or pain. And if you’re a boy, it’s even worse because you get to a certain age and boys aren’t supposed to cry and that is so debilitating to our self-esteem and our self-confidence. So, the way out of that is finding that hurt part, that vulnerable part, that even just fears that that hurt is going to repeat itself and holding that with the attitude of a loving parent that says, “You know it’s okay to hurt.” Because I want to tell you that I’ve seen many, many videos of parents feeling – parents where they didn’t know they were being videoed or they didn’t know this particular part was being videoed and they deal with their crying child and there’s often some very rejecting energy in there.
What if your parent had picked you up and held you? And that did happen for some of us and that did happen some of the time for many of us but if it had been a little more consistent for most of us, picked me up, held me, let me cry it out, cry out your tears, you would not have felt this fear of emotional pain today. You would have known how to process your own pain and get back to feeling pretty good pretty quick. So, we now have to do something for ourselves that most of our parents never did for us. I know it sounds kind of psychological but that’s where our fear comes from. They come from our psychology and we have the power to nurture ourselves back to full self-confidence and self-expression.
Dr. Aziz: Yes. And I love so much of what you said there and resonate with a lot of it and I found that it’s absolutely necessary to sort of re-condition my nervous system and heart to respond differently to my emotional state and I found that it’s sort of like two-sided job like I need to be able to tend to myself in a different way and turn towards myself with more compassion and acceptance and that’s where I started my journey. But then I also realize that part of the healing is sharing those things with other people and realizing that the responses that I get are not terrible or negative. And that’s really a calming in a deep way. We’re going to pause for just one moment and then jump back into our conversation with honesty expert Dr. Susan Campbell.
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Dr. Susan: Beautiful. Absolutely. You know I have a quote in my book Getting Real or maybe it’s Truth in Dating, you are most lovable when you’re in most transparent and that also means when you’re coming from a more emotionally vulnerable place and this is new information that’s coming out now in the dating scene. It’s still not main stream but you’re a pioneer, I’m a pioneer and people are realizing that just saying to yourself buck up, you got to do it. You got to hear a lot of nos before you hear a yes. That’s not a bad thing to do to take risks and push yourself a little. But if you don’t do this deeper work of taking a risk and saying, “When you said that I just felt like I want to curl up into a little ball. You know, what if you said that to somebody?” Remember whenever you say how you’re reacting to what somebody has done or said, you make sure you stay on your own side of the net, that’s very important.
You say, I, this is what happened inside me and I know that a lot of our listeners go, “Oh, my god most of the women I know would just walk away with that” and I want to say to you try it, you’ll have to experiment with it to see where it’s coming from in you because and some of our listeners, it will be coming from a manipulative place. You know you’re trying to get something. As long as you’re trying to manipulate the outcome of the interaction in any way like get the person to do something different or get the person to not reject you, to not say no for example, whenever you’re focused so much on the outcome, what you do is you lose touch with your actual present experience that you’re having in yourself in the now. So, you’re not as a powerful a person in that moment. But if you share that vulnerable sensation of not my stomach feel like I just want to curl up into a ball, you share that from a self-accepting place and just a self-revealing place.
Now try to manipulate the person over there, your outcomes are going to get better and better because you’re going to be more present and presence, I like to say Aziz, presence is the new sexy. It’s like there’s a movement now, you know the Power of Now book by Eckhart Tolle and ever since the ‘60s, we’ve been hearing the phrase be here now that comes from more the Eastern philosophy. So, this is beginning to creep in now by 2014. It’s beginning to creep into the mainstream is that, that idea of being present with your own feelings and sensations and just as I’m saying that I’m asking you to kind of ground yourself, you feel your feet on the floor, you feel your body, you feel the heart throbbing, you feel the anxiety, you feel your palm sweating, whatever, you are present to yourself and that is a very powerful magnet to other people when you can just be on your side of the net, speak what’s going on inside of you and feel yourself to become a magnet. You become a magnet. You really do.
Dr. Aziz: I absolutely agree with that and that’s something that when I started to apply – because I spent and this is something I want to get a little more in-depth with you about kind of the what we call the pick-up artist approach which is what is often taught to men if you go to the internet to look like how to get more comfortable and more confident meeting women, that’s mostly what you’ll find and that’s what I first came across. And at some point, I broke from that and was much more drawn to Truth in Dating and the stuff that you teach and I found that when I was able to really – there’s a difference between sharing it and owning it versus like sharing it and kind of wrapping it up in all of my shame and because I think when we’re coming from a place of like you’re going to reject me for saying this. We say it in a way that brings a negative reaction towards us or we just interpret whatever they do as the fear of reaction whether or not that’s happening but the result is like it’s so different and you begin to say “Wow, I notice my right hand is shaking a little bit. I do that when I’m nervous. I guess I’m nervous talking to you.”
Dr. Susan: Yeah.
Dr. Aziz: And you just be and put it out there. It has such a different affect than if you’re trying to hide it and you’re ashamed of it and “Oh, God you’re going to reject me for this.” There’s so much power that comes from it and you can just be present to it.
Dr. Susan: That’s so true. I love the example you gave and that just sharing it the way you did, some of our listeners may think “Yeah, well I could never even think to do that and what I want to say or maybe or how do I know if I’m doing it right?” What I want to say to those of you who go “yes but” is you will have some trial and error on this path to being more honest in dating and revealing yourself more. When I say trial and error, I mean you won’t always do it the best way. You always do it like Aziz just did it or like I was just demonstrating. It won’t always come out the way you want and your self-expression won’t come out the way you want.
Dr. Aziz: It’s going to be messy.
Dr. Susan: How you’re going to learn if you don’t. Just get on that bicycle and try riding it. I mean how did we learn anything? There was some trial and error involved. So, it’s definitely worth the few errors that you’re going to experience on the path if you take on this path.
Dr. Aziz: Absolutely and you know I really resonate with what you’re saying about the underlying – what we’re really scared of underneath it all is just that emotional pain and I was actually working with a client just this week and he was trying the push through method. Like okay, I – he’s gotten to a point where he can interact with women but he will exit before there’s an opportunity for a conversation to start to grow and even if there are signals that she’s inviting him to keep talking, he’ll kind of pull away and seemingly do so out of habit or instinct without really consciously choosing it and he’s like “I need to break through this plateau. I need to push through.” From my perspective, it was like well, he’s been trying to push through for a while and that’s not working and let’s find out what’s underneath and it turns out that not too long ago, maybe a year ago, he’d started relationship with a woman very brief, maybe just three or four dates and it turns out she was moving out to a different state and so, just because of the timing, it wasn’t going to work out but they were really starting to get into each other and then he tried to be more honest on their last date and she kind of pushed him away like well, it’s too late. You should have told me earlier. Anyway, it got a little – it didn’t go the way he wanted to.
Dr. Susan: Yeah.
Dr. Aziz: And it really, really hurt and there’s just so much pain there and then so some part of him is linked up. Okay, connecting with a woman equals emotional pain so…
Dr. Susan: Yeah. And being vulnerable means it doesn’t work.
Dr. Aziz: Yeah.
Dr. Susan: I did it and she moved away anyway.
Dr. Aziz: Yeah. And I think there’s just something so powerful about what you were saying about okay, being able to identify that and tend to that part of myself with compassion and patience. So, we were doing some parts work and I was having him, “Okay. We have that part of speak and I shared all of this stuff.”
Dr. Susan: Yeah.
Dr. Aziz: And then I was like, “Okay, why don’t you sit over here?” And how would you respond to that part? And he did what I think a lot of people do which is he gave that part a pep talk like –
Dr. Susan: Oh, yeah.
Dr. Aziz: – “Okay, come on. You got to get out there and you got to try again and duh…” and it just doesn’t work as well as being compassionate. Do you have any tips for how people can relate to that part of themselves that fundamental human part that’s just scared of loss, scared of the flipside of connection that we’re going to get hurt or lose people that we love?
Dr. Susan: Yeah. Well, if you do experience that kind of hurt and you want to talk to yourself, the pep talk approach is too shallow. It doesn’t go deep enough. What your scared part generally needs is think about when you were a teenager and you were, you took a risk and it didn’t go well. What would you have needed? Maybe it’s hard to know because maybe a lot of teenage boys are completely out of touch with their softer needs but one thing you would need is somebody to appreciate that you took the risk. That’s what you like if you didn’t do well in a game, do you want your father to criticize you or do you want your father to say “Wow, you got in there. You were scrappy.”
So, you appreciate what you did do, you emphasize, I mean this is what a good parent does and all of us like have a good dad and whatever gender we are, we have a good dad archetype inside of us, that’s one of our parts and a good mom archetype and it’s just like part of the whole inner human family and we need dad to say “Good job, you tried.” And mom to say or this could be dad saying it too, your inner coach, I sometimes call it your inner coach, your inner wise person to say, “I’m here for you. I’m witnessing you doing this. I’m by your side like the whole wingman concept in the pick-up world. I’m your wingman.” But it’s a wingman that is supportive and there for you when you fall down and could say, “Yeah, that did hurt.” That’s all you say, you know you just give empathy. Yeah, that was horrible that she tells – now she tells you. No, let’s say now, I don’t think it’s exactly this way in here instance but now she tells you that she tells you that she’s moving away. You get vulnerable –
Dr. Aziz: Yeah.
Dr. Susan: – and the she leaves. And you just give empathy to that part of yourself.
Dr. Aziz: I think that’s (crosstalks)
Dr. Susan: And some of us haven’t had a lot of good training in empathy but that’s the essence of empathy is going put yourself in the shoe of the hurt part and go “Yeah, that hurt.” And that is enough because you’re accepting of the pain and we need a lot of reconditioning. We got conditioned to act like things don’t both us too much and not act weak and needy and all that.
Dr. Aziz: Oh, man that would suck.
Dr. Susan: We do need to recondition ourselves.
Dr. Aziz: Oh, it’s so deep.
Dr. Susan: Yeah. And that happens to both men and women by the way, not just men.
Dr. Aziz: Absolutely so deep in there. You know I just actually was having more insight about this, I was having conversation with my wife this morning and we have a six-month-old baby now and I talked about lots of opportunities to increase honesty and getting real and one thing I’ve noticed, we’ve had two conversations about it. This is the second one is it is really difficult for me to say this to her. I really want your attention right now.
Dr. Susan: Oh, yeah.
Dr. Aziz: Because she’s giving attention to our son.
Dr. Susan: At the baby.
Dr. Aziz: And then I get home from work and I’m either helping take care of him where she needs to feed him and I’m cleaning the kitchen and there’s some part of me that’s like “I want…” I call up big brother Aziz, it’s like “I want your attention now mom.” But because of this training, this conditioning as like a man to ask that is even all the vulnerability work and stuff I done, I just realize there are layers of wow this is – it makes me look just – I just can’t ask for that it’s weak. But what I end up doing then is trying to get it indirectly and then being upset that I didn’t get it and then so, it gets a lot messier rather than just finding that underlying need and having the courage to just say it and when I do, I mean she just melt. She’s like oh. It’s very powerful communication.
Dr. Susan: Yeah, yeah. And I want to put in the note here that when you see yourself doing something like in a dating or relationship encounter where a few minutes later, you start to cringe and you go “Oh, boy that was wrong.” You do that. I mean that didn’t come out right. It was manipulative or I was covering something or like you try to get something without actually being straightforward about it like the hidden agenda thing. People can feel when you have that hidden agenda and they pull it off and you may sense it later. You may sense it an hour later, 15 minutes later. You can go back and redo the conversation with anybody or most. I mean, let’s say you’re at a cocktail party and you say something stupid or you know you think it looks stupid. I hope when you call yourself stupid that you have an effect towards yourself because I do when I say that to myself.
So, you can still say, “Oh, that was dumb” and feel effectuation. It’s coming from that widest place then you can say, “Okay, what was my more authentic?” You know take a moment. Check in. What was my more authentic response be? It sounds like you did this with your wife Aziz without even maybe going through this process and if I was more from my feelings, from my heart, what would I have said and if I was willing to really say what I wanted, willing to take a bigger risk, what would I have said, okay, and then you can go through a little exercise what I’m afraid would happen and when do that happen before and give yourself a little tender loving care around the pain that’s buried in there around asking for what you wanted.
Because many, many of us have a lot of old buried emotional pain about asking for what we want and having it frustrated. Who didn’t have a lot of that as a kid? As an infant for sure, we don’t remember it but it’s part of the human experience. So, we’re all bit inhibited about asking for what we want even if we’re very bold about it, we’re probably doing it a little bit over the top. So, let’s say you do something that’s over the top or under, under stated and you want to go back and revise. Go ahead and say to yourself, “If I had to do over and if I was being more authentic, here’s what I would have said” and kind of fill into what that would be and then ask yourself and this can all happen in less than a minute of the time, right at the cocktail party or wherever you are. Okay, would it be appropriate to go and say that to the person and would I have the courage to do that?
And certainly with your wife, you know it’s appropriate. Some people it might not be. Maybe they’re in the arms of some other men. So, like maybe forget that until she’s alone again. But you can go back and redo these things and that’s one of the greatest practices. That’s a chapter in the book Getting Real. It’s called revising. It’s one of the 10 truth skills and it’s probably the most often used truth skill by people that I coach in my seminars. They learn that you can’t always do it your best the first time but you can go back and try again.
Dr. Aziz: That’s so good. And it’s one of my favorite questions to ask. So, when I’m working with is, okay in that situation – you know where they tell me this sort of the story that involves inhibiting or doing all these things that are indirect and it’s like if you were totally honest in that situation, what do you think it would have gone like? And it’s just really fun to hear them and I love the idea of asking yourself that question as close to the moment that you realize and then going back and take another shot and what a great way to build a skill. I want to switch to something that I think is going to be so important because this is an area of a lot of frustration when it comes to dating on the men side of things and I think you can offer some really interesting perspective on what’s happening here. That is the extent of the time that we have for today’s interview.
We’re going to take just one more minute here to do an action step because we always got to end with an action step and then we’re going to conclude today’s show and you can hear the rest of the interview in next week’s show where she’s going to get into all about how to take this authenticity stuff and direct it towards dating. When I read her book Truth in Dating it literally changed everything I was doing and help me break free of so many stories that I learn from pick-up artist and other things about how you’re supposed to be to get the woman. So, you definitely want to check out the show next week where I conclude my interview with Dr. Susan Campbell but for today’s action step.
Time For Action
I want you to just apply one thing that you learn from the conversation from the interview so I’m leaving it pretty vague on purpose because everyone is going to get something different out of that conversation that I’m having with Dr. Campbell and I want you to find the thing that just spoke to you and then take action on it. It could be something really small. It could be the way that you greet someone. It could be putting a bid in for connection that she was talking about. It could be chatting to someone in a line or maybe it’s just having a deeper conversation with a co-worker or with a friend. But find a way to apply this stuff because intellectual understanding is only going to get you so far, you got to get into the game, into action, into the field and just take the risk. That’s what I encourage you to do today for your action step. Until we speak again next week in the show hopefully, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know that you’re awesome.
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