In today’s episode, I wanted to talk a bit about confidence, extroversion, authenticity. And feeling comfortable in your own skin.
This is a topic that is quite close to my heart because I have been working on my self-confidence for many, many years now. Since I was a teenager.
And even today, when I wake up on some days. I don’t feel like my best version. I don’t feel as confident as I would on my best days.
And this is something that I have to still actively work upon to make sure that I’m showing up as my 100% best self.
I’ve seen so many people struggle with this, and that was the prime driver for me to create Workday Physique. Because I believe that every person deserves to experience what it feels like to be truly confident.
To be truly 100% comfortable being the person they are.
And it is an experience that’s within reach for every single person. Provided they’re willing to put in the work for it. And there’s nothing like working on your body, working on your mind, to realize that vision for yourself.
In today’s episode. I just want to share a bit of my experience, my thought process behind this. And I hope you find it useful in some way.
When it comes to things like confidence, a lot of people seem to have the opinion that some are just born that way.
It is just an innate ability. Some people are just more charismatic, more assertive.
These are just character traits. That is what a lot of people like to believe, but it’s not the case.
Personally. I have a very high interest in learning about human psychology. It’s a subject that fascinates me. Because humans are such diverse creatures.
But still at the very fundamental level, we have certain common frameworks that we use to function in this world.
And things like confidence, feeling great about yourself. Being able to assert your own opinion. These are just skills. These are not character traits.
Some people are naturally more confident because of things like— attractive faces and attractive bodies. And from childhood itself, they have a lot of social validation.
When that happens. Growing up with that positive feedback from the environment. That is what leads to them being more confident. But that doesn’t necessarily always translate to a positive self-image of themselves.
So you’d see a lot of very attractive models and superstars have body image issues. That’s why they’re always spending money trying to improve their appearance while most people consider them to already have perfect faces and perfectly shaped bodies.
And this need not only be restricted to superstars and celebrities. Even people around us who would be considered physically perfect by others may have body image issues.
So it is not just about the environmental conditioning. But that is a very significant factor. If you grew up in a social environment where you were constantly exposed to positive feedback from the external world, you’d grow up to be confident.
But on the other hand, if you did not grow up with those kind of positive experiences. Or if you just had average experiences like most.
Then you would not necessarily have developed that skill— the skill of being confident. And you would have to work on if it is something that you actually value.
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For me personally, I was not as comfortable being myself when I was younger.
And this has taken work to resolve.
I would say even as recently as the past year, when I started this brand and I had to start doing social media. Which is something that I’ve never done. I’m not a social media person at all.
But I had to do this because I wanted Workday Physique to be established. I wanted to make this happen. So this was extremely uncomfortable for me.
But today when I look back, I think I’ve made some great progress in terms of being able to show up as myself without any hesitation.
One year back, I would not have been able to do this.
But because I put in the work, I’ve developed this skill. And it goes for any kind of situation where you need that kind of confidence in life. You have to be willing to put in the work and it helps when you have an attractive face or an attractive body to go with it.
It helps because humans are social creatures and everyone is always making judgments about us based on our appearances. And this is me not just making speculations.
This is stuff that is backed by research.
People associate values like trustworthiness, honesty, credibility with attractive people.
So if you have a very attractive face. You have a very attractive body. People consider you as someone attractive. They also tend to consider you as someone who is honest; someone who is trustworthy and someone who is more reliable in general.
Think of it in this way. If you had to trust someone to take care of a family member. Would you trust someone who was dressed very well? Who spoke really well? Who seemed like they knew their stuff?
Would you trust someone like that?
Or would you trust someone who was wearing ragged clothes, did not look well kempt? They looked like they lived on the streets.
It is these kind of judgments that people make subconsciously. When they say things like:
“I would not trust that person to look after my child.”
“I would not trust that person with my wallet.”
So when you’re making these subconscious decisions. It’s based on a lot of these non-verbal cues.
The same thing is happening to us 24/7 as well. When people are looking at us. When people are talking with us. It helps when you leverage that and work on your body; work on your grooming.
So that when you meet someone for the first time, or when you put yourself out there. You create a very impactful first impression.
And this makes a huge difference. Because when other people around you reflect this back at you. That they treat you in a manner where they see you as this authority figure or someone who is very confident. Someone who’s attractive.
Their behaviour towards you is different from what it would be if they were interacting with someone average.
And you see this happen all the time. I don’t have to tell you. When you go outside, see how people speak to very attractive individuals. Observe how their behaviour changes. It is evident.
You must have seen this yourself. I’m sure. So you need to be able to leverage that in your favour.
And that is why I think it is so important for you to put in the work, to stay in shape. To lose extra body fat. To make an effort to bring yourself into that state of body, state of mind.
Where you become this person who exudes confidence just by virtue of being in shape. By feeling good in your body.
That is just one aspect of it. Confidence is something which I struggled with during my earlier days.
But I knew this was a skill I wanted to develop. I wanted to really work upon it. I wanted it bad. That is how I’ll put it.
So I read stuff. I read about human psychology. Learnt what actually works.
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Why do some people feel more confident?
Most of it comes from feeling great about yourself. Feeling good in your skin, being in great shape. That is a key component of it.
Taking care of yourself is a must if you want to feel that way. So I put the work into my body, into my appearance, into my grooming.
So that I could become that person. And this was not something that came easy. I had to do this over years.
And if you want to feel the same way you too have to do that.
The second thing that I had to realize was that I was not perfect and neither is anyone else. When you try to portray an image of yourself, which is not you; which is not the perfect self that you think you should be.
That is when problems start to arise. Because you’re always trying to portray yourself as someone you are not.
This is where the concept of authenticity comes into the picture. This has become a buzzword I feel, in 2022. When everyone is talking about how you should be authentic.
“You should be authentic.”
I keep hearing this all the time. But no one seems to know what the hell authenticity is. Because I see a lot of people preaching authenticity but these people are clearly not comfortable in their own skin.
You can see that.
Authenticity is not some weird notion of how you should be sharing all your sob stories with everyone. How you should display all your skeletons in the closet.
That is not what it is. But I feel like that is what a lot of people seem to think it is.
That’s not doing anything except making a lot of other people feel uncomfortable because they don’t want to see your deep dark secrets.
What authenticity is, I’m going to just read a quote from Brene Brown. She says:
“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice— a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It is about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
If you reflect upon this statement, it is not about telling your secrets to the world. It is not about showing how you’re crying every day and recording that and putting it on an Instagram reel.
It is being the person that you are in your body and mind internally. And being able to express it outwards without filtering it.
So the way I am speaking to you right now, that is how I speak to anyone else. That is how I am in real life.
That is how I portray myself on social media. What you hear, what you see, is what you get.
There are no multiple versions of me, and this is how I talk to myself in my head as well. When I’m thinking, it’s not a different individual.
What I think I try to project that. And I feel like that has made a tremendous difference in the way I approach unknown situations and the way I think about presenting myself.
Because earlier on I had this notion of being able to portray myself in some sort of ideal way. To make a great impression. Which I don’t think is a bad thing. Because we all have flaws. We all have lack of skills that we need to work upon over time.
But that doesn’t mean you have to hide your flaws to show yourself as someone you are not.
So if I’m someone who does not know something, I don’t have to portray myself as someone who does know that. I don’t have to fake it in front of people to show that I am good at something when I’m actually not.
If I don’t know a certain language, I don’t have to pretend like I do.
If I don’t know a certain skill, I don’t have to pretend like I do.
If I don’t like something, I don’t have to pretend to like it.
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This has been a skill that I’ve acquired only very recently.
Because the insecurities that I would feel about myself; about showing up as my real self. Would prevent me from doing things that other people who did not share those insecurities would do very easily.
And especially in social media, this is so difficult for a lot of people. To do things like making video content. People hesitate to show up on camera because they have this idea of what they should look like. What they should appear like to others.
So this ideal image that they have of themselves is different from what their real self is. And they hesitate to be their real self and put it out there because they hesitate about being judged by other people. Which is perfectly fine because that is how most of us feel. That is our default state.
As humans, we are social animals. We want to be accepted by the tribe, by the people around us. So we are always trying to project what we think the tribe, the people around us, will find to be acceptable.
But this creates a lot of pressure on us to be someone who we are not.
I’m here to tell you this. If you want this pressure to be completely gone, you have to let yourself be authentic.
And that is to understand that you will never be perfect. You will have your flaws. You will have your insecurities and you have to be okay with that.
And let those insecurities and flaws be a part of your self.
That’s what it means to be authentic and other people value that. And I don’t think this is something I have perfected.
Because like I said, some days I wake up. I don’t feel 100% like myself and I have to put an effort to tell myself that it’s okay to feel that way.
That it’s okay to not be 100% on some days and to reiterate these same thoughts to myself. That I don’t have to show up as someone who I’m not. And it’s totally fine.
I also wanted to touch a bit upon the subject of extroversion.
Many people seem to think that being an extrovert is being someone who is very good with people. People who like to talk a lot, are very loud. It’s a very stereotypical view.
And introverts are just socially awkward. Those who stay by themselves. Which is not entirely incorrect. Those are traits, which a lot of extroverts do have. And many introverts do have.
But extroversion means you like being around people. You derive energy from being surrounded by people.
Introverts are people who derive energy from being by themselves.
But putting labels like that on ourselves is a big hindrance when it comes to being able to express our true self.
Because if you label yourself as an introvert and you say:
“You know what, this is why I cannot do video.”
“This is why I cannot go and talk to other people. Because I’m an introvert.”
No, it is because you have not worked on those skills.
It’s not because you’re an introvert.
I’m an introvert. I’m comfortable on video. But I have not always been comfortable on video. This is a skill I had to work on. I think, 70 to 80% of the video skills that I have built have been over the past couple of months alone.
Because initially, Workday Physique was just a podcast. There was not supposed to be any kind of video content.
I had to adapt because I had to make content for social media. To create awareness for the brand. And that is just something that I had to learn. This is not something that comes naturally to me.
And if I had just told myself:
“You know what, I’m an introvert. I cannot do this.”
I would have never done it. You have to understand that creating labels like this for yourself. That is what’s holding you back.
So try not to do that because these are all the skills. These are mutually exclusive things.
You being an introvert. That means you enjoy your alone time. Very good.
But you can also build up the skill to speak in public or to make a video. These are separate things.
Similarly, like being authentic. It’s separate from all of these. Being authentic is understanding that you are not perfect and you’re okay with that in every environment that you show up.
So you cannot be some other person inside and have the pressure to portray yourself as someone else externally. That is what most people try to do. And that is fatiguing.
So if you have an idea of authenticity in your head. That you have to share all your deepest, darkest secrets with everyone. You don’t.
You don’t have to cry on camera, which is frankly, very weird. I’ve seen people do that on camera on social media.
If that is part of your real self, then go ahead. But a lot of the times, antics like these appear inauthentic. So you don’t have to do any of that.
All you have to do is show up as yourself.
You don’t have to fake anything. Nothing.
If you’re someone who doesn’t share their personal life with people around you in the real physical world. You don’t have to do that on social media in order to appear authentic.
Being your real self is what authenticity is.
Extroversion has nothing to do with that, or with confidence. These are separate things.
And the last thing that I just wanted to touch a bit upon is being comfortable in your own skin. Now body image issues are so common and I don’t want to get into the nitty gritties of this. Because that is not my area of expertise.
If you are someone who is suffering from body image issues, you need to consult a professional and get help. Get counselling or therapy. Whatever they recommend. Go to someone qualified.
Don’t go to people in the fitness industry looking for solutions for your body image issues. Because you won’t find solutions from these people.
A lot of the people in the bodybuilding community, the fitness community themselves have chronic body image issues.
You should see the kind of memes that float around in the bodybuilding community making jokes about things like body dysmorphia.
It’s just very ridiculous.
So being comfortable in your own skin. I want to share my own experience here. Personally, I do link a lot of my confidence to being in shape.
I like my outfits to fit me. I like when I fall into the ‘attractive bodies category’ in a room. I like to have that feeling.
And I think that has a carryover effect to the way I present myself. The way I carry myself. And so I would not deny that being in shape is important for my confidence.
And anyone who has lost a significant amount of bodyfat, has put on some muscle, has transformed themselves physically. Would agree with this.
It does a huge deal for your confidence. So this is something that I truly encourage.
I don’t like when people say it is all about feeling great about yourself. It is about that, but it is also about taking care of yourself.
If you don’t take care of yourself. The way your body would feel. You’d have to force yourself to feel positive about it.
A lot of people preach that you should be grateful.
You should be grateful. It is good for your wellbeing.
But there is also something known as forced gratitude. Which is when you’re in situations, which are clearly negative, clearly doing you harm.
But instead of going and asking for what you need as a remedy. For example, you have a toxic boss who is making life miserable for you. But instead of making a complaint, you are feeling grateful that you have a job.
That is forced gratitude. And this can lead to gratitude traps. The author is a clinical psychologist from what I remember. So she’s not just some random person on the internet making these things up.
If you don’t take care of yourself. You don’t feel good about yourself. Your health doesn’t feel right. You’re always sick.
How do you force yourself to feel comfortable in your own skin? So you have to take action.
You have to understand what the situation is; what the reality is.
And instead of trying to imagine scenarios. Being aware of what the reality is and taking steps to fix it. That would be the quickest way to get you from low confidence to high confidence.
Instead of forcing yourself to believe that you are comfortable in your own skin.
You don’t have to tell yourself every morning that “I feel great in my own body”. Because you will wake up feeling great in your own body.
The trouble usually arises with body image issues when people expose themselves a lot to manipulated pictures on social media. Manipulated imagery of celebrities and fitness influencers. And they feel like they’re not adequate enough.
But that is a different issue altogether.
If that is something that you are dealing with then one tip that I found very useful was to just remove those kinds of images from your social media feed.
Unfollow those people. Try to curate your feed with a variety of body types. And that would make a huge difference for you.
Also understand that if you work on your body. You will get to a place where you will have lesser body fat. You will have more muscle mass. And you will look better if you put in the work.
That is going to happen.
At the same time. When you accept that right now, you are not in that place. You’re not in the body that you’d considered ideal. But you’re okay with that. Because you’re putting in the work.
And being aware of our imperfections and being okay with that. That is what we are trying to achieve.
And at the same time striving to become better.
I’m not saying that you have to do this. But this is something that I try to do.
Because like I said, some days I wake up, I still don’t feel like I’m 100%. It’s a work in progress. But I show up as my current self without needing to portray myself as someone else.
Or without trying to project myself as something that I’m not.
I think all of us can do that. Understand that we are not perfect in our current bodies, in our current state of life.
And we can still keep on working towards where we want to be. While at the same time being authentic and not being afraid to just be our real selves.
I think that these things are so related.
Being comfortable in your own skin is not trying to falsify your body image as something it is not. For example, if you know you’re out of shape and you’re trying to tell yourself that: “I am in shape. I’m in shape.”
That is not being comfortable in your own skin. When you understand that you are out of shape, you’re taking care of your body and you accept the reality as it is.
I feel that is what we should be striving towards. Because that takes off so much pressure. You don’t have to wake up every morning and repeat affirmations like:
“I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m comfortable in my own skin.”
Because you understand that there is some degree of discomfort because you’re out of shape. But you’re working towards it.
That will have a carryover effect to your confidence. That will make you come across as more authentic.
I feel like everything is so interconnected here. So that is it really. That is all that I wanted to talk about.
And this is just a topic that is close to my heart because I want other people to experience what I have experienced through my transformation. Through the past many years that I have been working on myself.
Because it opens up a whole different world of possibilities. Not in the physical world. But in your brain.
You would not understand this until you decide to make the change. Because the things that you limit yourself from doing. The things that you hold yourself back from. It’s not because you don’t have the opportunities in the real world.
It’s because of the limitations that are there in your head; in your mind.
And the day you realize this and you take active steps to work on it. It’s only a matter of time before those limitations are lifted and you will see everything with a whole different lens.
And that is really my vision.
To let you experience what is actually possible.