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Self-Confidence and The Illusion of Transparency

Self confidence and the illusion of transparency

Do you know that you can lose your self-confidence when you think in a destructive way?

I mean when you make negative (and false) assumptions about yourself and others, and believe them.

When you walk down a street and think that everybody is focused on you and is secretly judging you.

When you feel insecure about yourself and think that everybody is focused on the thing that you’re insecure about.

When you feel really nervous around people and think that they’re judging you negatively.

If I were to give you an advice, I would tell you that most of these things are just in your mind.

However, I want to give you real evidences for that, telling yourself that it’s just in your head sometimes doesn’t work, unless you have real evidences to back up your claim.

Before we get into it, let’s have a small chat about the false perceptions and beliefs.

False assumptions are when you assume that people hate you or that they’re judging you negatively, while the truth is anything but that.

And you lose your self-confidence as a result.

Those are wrong assumptions that are based on wrong beliefs and perceptions.

False beliefs don’t form because we have evidence to back them up, they exist first (as a result of an inferiority, bad past experiences, lack of self-confidence …etc) and then we look for evidences to prove them right.

And if your mind didn’t find evidences, it will start creating its own by twisting facts and imagining things.

And by providing evidences that prove your false beliefs wrong, like what we’re going to do in this article, we will destroy those false beliefs.

Making false assumptions and believing them will result in:

  • Losing your self-confidence.
  • Acting in a different way, and as a result proving the assumption right to yourself and to the people around you.

In this article we’re not only going to realize that it can all be in our mind sometimes, but we’re going to explore some research-based evidence to make things much clearer.

 Nobody Can Know What You’re Feeling, Unless You “Show” Them

In one study people were told to do a small presentation. After that they were asked to rate themselves and how anxious they were.

On the other hand, the audiences were told to rate the speakers and tell how anxious they were.

And guess what?

There was a big difference between how people judged themselves and how the audiences judged them.

In other words, not only people judged themselves harshly, but also the audiences couldn’t tell how really anxious the person was. The speakers overestimated people’s ability to read their mental state.

Sure enough this was given a name, it was called The Illusion of Transparency.

They didn’t stop there, they conducted another study where they divided people into 3 groups.

The first group was given no instructions or tips before their speech.

The second group was told that it’s normal to feel anxious and afraid during the speech.

The last and third group was told about the illusion of transparency, they were told that people can’t really read their minds and see how anxious and afraid they are.

As you can already guess, the last group did a great work, they were less anxious and less stressed, and people rated them more positively.

(The first group performed badly, and the second group did better than the first group but worse than the last one).

Because they, group #3,  know that people can’t really read minds, and that they tend to overestimate others ability to know their mental state.

As soon as they figured that out, they performed well.

And from my own experience, I’ve found that this is absolutely true.

Lately I’ve been working on my presentation skills, I’ve done some presentations and public speeches, and one of the things that I’ve noticed is: people can’t really tell how you’re feeling.

Seriously, almost in all of my presentations I was really afraid and anxious, especially before the performance, however when I control my body language most people can’t really tell how anxious I’m.

Sure after I engage the audience by asking questions or making them laugh I feel more comfortable and confident, but the thing is: they can’t really see how I’m feeling on the inside.

However, this is not only about public speaking, this applies to many social interactions as well.

When you actually feel weak, and you think that people are judging you because they, too, think that you’re weak. Relax! That doesn’t have to be true.

What Does This Mean?

We tend to overestimate other people’s ability to know how we’re feeling, just because you’re afraid, anxious, insecure and stressed out, it doesn’t mean that there’s a sign on your face telling people about those feelings.

Most people can’t tell.

So, remember this when you feel insecure or anxious around people, most people can’t know that, as long as you don’t go the extra mile and show them by acting in a weird way.

If you just can control your body language and stay calm, you’re good.

And this will help you to do better in social situations (or whatever), which in turns will help you develop your self-confidence, by proving to yourself that you can be good and calm in those “fearful” situations.

Unless you’re talking with a trained FBI agent, you can rest assure that most people can’t really tell how you’re feeling, of course as long as you don’t let that show through your body language.

In brief, people will only see what you show them through your body language, voice, and words.

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How The Illusion of Transparency Can Affect Your Self-Confidence (And How to Reverse its Effect)

As you can already guess, when you make false assumptions and when you run bad scenarios inside of your head, that will make you lose your self-confidence.

One of the top reasons people lose self-confidence, or not be able to build it at all, is because they have those wrong assumptions.

They think that people hate them, they think that people are judging them, and most of the time it’s not true at all.

The illusion of transparency tells you that people aren’t that good in knowing how you feel or think.

It tells you that even during the times when you think that you’re acting weird and embarrassing yourself, there’s a chance that you’re overestimating the reaction of the other people.

Even when you feel insecure or nervous, most people can’t really tell.

Even if you’re nervous, you can still do good whether in a presentation or in a random social situation.

Which will help you on the long-run to develop your self-confidence.

Because self-confidence comes when you convince your own mind that you’re good.

That’s good news if you want to improve your social skills and develop your self-confidence.

And also that’s good news if you’re building self-confidence, because you can rest assure that during the times you’re building your confidence, you don’t necessary sound like an insecure person, even if you feel like that on the inside.

Last but not least, remember that it’s not always what it seems, your mind can create negative scenarios that are far away from the truth, don’t buy into that.

Also Read:

The Peak: Overcome Fears, Urges and Negative Emotions

Character and Personality: Why (and How) to Develop Both

5 Studies (With Case-Study) that will help you become more social

Is It Bad To Enjoy Being Alone (More Than with People)?

How Doing Good Things Can Boost Self Esteem

How to Compare Yourself to Others

How Does the Process of Change Look Like

Crush Discomfort

10 Killer Tips For a Killer Self-confidence (Beautifully Illustrated)
Get your PDF. Because tips like "dress well" won't build your self-esteem in the long-run!
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