Sometime in life, other people often make us nervous, they make us feel inferior. This covers the spectrum from higher ups at work, love interests, people we don’t know at parties, popular people from school or the office, even celebrities.
It is natural to feel intimidated sometimes. Often people we look up to (or those who we just don’t know who seem cool) can bring up feelings we harbor about ourselves that we are not good enough, smart enough or interesting enough. The good news is, you are. We are all equal, my friends – the same way there is no superior animal, ocean or star in the sky. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, we know that we all came from the same source. We are also beautifully different from one another, too – which means all of us have some unique value and flavor to add to a conversation or social setting. Now, if only we really knew and believed this!
Here are some things to remember when those feelings that make us feel inferior rear their ugly head:
1. It’s you, not them.
The fear of others is generated within us, not by the person in question. Realizing this helps us release it.
2. We all have faults, fears and insecurities.
Jordan Belfort, the infamous Wolf of Wall Street, said in his memoir, “I’m insecure and humble, and I embarrass easily… But I refuse to show it. If I had to choose between embarrassment and death, I’d choose death. So, yeah, I’m a weak, imperfect person.” Even wolves get scared!
3. People are just people.
I really found this to be true on three particular, separate occasions. Two were in New York City. One was when I met Kelsey Grammar. As a fan, something took over me and I introduced myself to him with little more than a smile, my name and some words of appreciation for his work. He was such a gentleman! Kelsey stood up, asked me about myself, introduced me to his wife and thanked me sincerely from stopping by. His wife was nice, too.
The other was at a party where I met Rachael Ray. Similarly, I introduced myself and asked a bit about her and her work. She was very warm and chatty and shared her story with me as to how she got started in the culinary business. It was fascinating and very natural. Most people — including famous people — are cool!
The third occasion was when I volunteered my number to a cute stranger at a concert in Sydney in 2007. He is now my husband!
4. Other people are nervous, too.
You might be intimidating. Ever thought of that? Shyness is misunderstood as aloofness all the time. A friend of a friend of mine who appears standoffish confided in me one night at drinks he is shy and loves it when people interact with him. When I shared that he does come across as a little aloof he was surprised as it is the opposite of his intention. Sometimes, if you make the first social move and say hello, you might be eradicating two people’s nerves.
5. You are giving power to your ego when you worry/overthink.
Intimidation/nerves is your lower self talking. Or as Arianna Huffington calls it, the “obnoxious roommate in your head… give them an eviction notice!”
6. What is the worst that can happen?
Someone might brush you. So what? ‘So what’ is one of the greatest things you can ask yourself in this world. In my decade long sales career I went to countless pitches and networking events and I have been blown off more times than I can recall. Hundreds of times in fact. As far as I am aware, I am still alive and well (and certainly more successful as a result of still going for it anyway).
7. What is the best that can happen?
Ah, one of my most awesome questions we can ask ourselves! The possibilities are endless. You might make a new friend, a new career connection or even get a date! The opportunities are abundant when you stop allowing fear to get the better of you.
Nothing made the need for this article more clear to me than when last year someone told me that before they met me, they thought I was intimidating. Wait, me? Super friendly, petite, always smiling, girl from a small town, me? Like our values, the qualities that intimidate vary for everyone. Well here is one universal truth, well put by Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And I don’t need to meet you to know that there is nothing inferior about you, my friend.
I’m so blessed to have you as part of my community! Tell me, has someone ever made you feel inferior? Or better yet, how do you combat these feelings?