Today we continue with a look at ways to boost confidence with directive #5. (HAT TIP: I found this list on the Twitter feed Health & Wellness.)

Teach others how to treat you by what you accept or allow

How often have you heard phrases like “if you let people walk all over you, they will”? When we enter a new association with someone, we don’t necessarily have to explain to that person, “this is what is acceptable to me.” The new associate will be able to figure that out by observing how you interact with people you have already established an association with.

Keep Your Head Up. A writer for a website called Riskology wrote how he trained his chihuahua to keep her tail up, rather than between her legs, so that other dogs wouldn’t attack her, which they did regularly. For dogs, the tail up signals confidence, while the tail between the legs signals weakness. To a degree, this works for humans as well. Those of us who are introverts usually have the head somewhat down as the default position. Fortunately, that can be corrected with a little effort. Once I launched my business, I attended several networking events, which for introverts is a lot like a mouse voluntarily walking into a house full of cats. Normally when I catch an Uber to get somewhere, I have my head buried in my phone, because I’m not a fan of (nor very good at) idle chit-chat. When going to these networking events, I deliberately put my phone away, kept my head up and chatted with the driver – my way of practicing for the event. It was a huge help. I still enter networking events feeling like a mouse in a room full of cats, but my “head up practice” has helped me not only survive these events, but made them enjoyable.

Kick Bad Habits. The same writer mentioned above wrote another article about correcting insecurity signals – things like pulling on your shirt collar, avoiding eye contact, things like that. This article lists more than 2 dozen insecurity signals and practical ways to correct them.

For me, eye contact is a major source of concern. My combo of white hair, no skin pigment and poor eyesight is a genetic package called albinism (not a disease, just a specific combination of genes). One of the quirks of this setup is that my eyeballs never sit still. They sort of dance back and forth a little. As a child, this really freaked other kids out. They noticed no one else in the entire school had this eye issue besides my brother and me, and we were also the only ones with the hair and skin we have. This led to some pretty rotten treatment. As we got older, we and the people around us were better-educated, and the interaction with other people steadily improved. But one thing that remained for me was the eye contact issue. I have a hard time avoiding the flashback to the younger days when my “wiggling eyeballs” would bring a negative reaction. Most mature adults either don’t notice or don’t say anything, especially at the first meeting. So I have to practice not only keeping my head up, but maintaining eye contact as well.

Provide a Model. If you want people to respect you and treat you well, show them that by how you treat others. Josephine Wiseheart, MS, a psychotherapist at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, says, “If you want others to listen to you, listen to them. Focus your full attention on the person, maintain eye contact, ask questions, validate their feelings and be empathetic.” This can greatly improve personal as well as business relationships.

In the next installment, you might get a little scared. But in a good way.

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