Intimidation is something I continue to struggle with. Being quiet and reserved, I was always easily overwhelmed and intimidated by loud, pushy, and abrasive people. I had a hard time speaking up and was taken advantage of countless times. I didn’t know how to assert myself and I didn’t know how to change the way I was feeling.
I’ve come a long way since then. And I’ve gotten a lot of guidance from friends, family and online. I’d like to share a few things that continue to help me overcome intimidation. If you have any other ideas, or points of view, I’d love to hear them. Like everything else in life, its been a long journey and I’m still learning things to this day. Its my hope that someone can identify with these, and maybe learn things more quickly than it took me 🙂
1. It’s all in your head.
I don’t mean this in a “you’re imagining everything” way, but rather that we often create problems for ourselves because we over-think things. This is especially true for introverts. I was so focused on my own insecurities and fears that I saw myself as inferior to those around me. As a result, I was intimidated by those who were loud, outgoing, successful, popular, etc. And I’d avoid being around them because of how inadequate I felt in comparison. I was judging myself too harshly.
2. Everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect.
On the outside, the people around us can seem pretty perfect. But what we don’t always see is their struggles and insecurities. When I struggle with being over-stimulated (especially in a group setting) I like to remind myself that half the people in the room are probably feeling the same way. Similarly, when I remind myself that every person in the room has their own share of insecurities, I realize that what I’m feeling is pretty normal. It levels the playing field (in my mind) and makes me feel equal to everyone else there.
3. Respect yourself.
This is a hard thing to do and I’m definitely still working on this. Don’t let anyone walk all over you. You deserve the same respect as everyone else. You are awesome, unique, and interesting, and have something really special to share with the world. And if you don’t respect yourself, others won’t either.
4. Calm down.
When you start to feel intimidated, take deep breaths to calm yourself. Focus on the positive things that you can gain from the situation. And if something embarrassing happens, shrug it off. If you do this, chances are you’ll gain respect, rather than lose it.
A few years ago, I met up with a couple of people for coffee. I knew one of them, but not the other. As soon as I started to take a sip of my drink, I dumped part of it into my lap (don’t worry, it was iced coffee). It ended up breaking the ice because I laughed it off and didn’t get upset.
5. Don’t run away.
Avoiding intimidating situations will not help you to overcome them. Facing your weaknesses head-on is a sign of strength and character (just use wisdom when you do so). Will you always be successful? Of course not. But when you make progress, the confidence you gain will be worth it.
6. Reflect and meditate.
Think deeply about what triggers the feeling of being intimidated. Once you discover the triggers, you can devise ways to counteract them.
When I start feeling intimidated, I mentally step away from those feelings and analyze my thoughts. Why am I feeling intimidated? Is it their attitude, their tone of voice, or personality? Then I remind myself that they’re a person just like me. They have likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. This helps me to relate to them.
Also realize that people only have power over you if you give it to them. Think of it like that final confrontation between Sarah and the Goblin King if you’d like 😉 “You have no power over me.”
7. Think positively.
Try to approach people with a positive frame of mind. Even if they appear standoffish, give them the benefit of the doubt. There are a lot of interesting people out there, who may seem intimidating, but are actually kind, interesting, and unique. If things don’t go well, don’t blame yourself. And don’t let someone else’s negativity ruin your day.
These are just a few things that have helped me in overcoming intimidation. As always, if you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them 🙂