Disfigurement: 10 Tips for Confidence as Advised by Changing Faces
1. Body language says a lot.
You can show confidence by maintaining eye contact, standing tall, remembering people’s names and keeping your shoulders down.
2. Eye contact always helps.
If you are finding it hard to make eye contact with someone with an unusual appearance after you have smiled at them and shaken their hand, look at the bridge of their nose instead until you feel more confident – it has the same effect as making eye contact.
3. How to react to the way that people respond to you.
If you have an unusual appearance, people are likely to ask you about it. How we feel changes from day to day so you might want to prepare some responses beforehand and then choose the one that matches your mood at the time.
4. Building confidence takes time.
Try to be patient, and reassure yourself if things seem to go wrong. Talk to friends or family about how you are feeling. It is worth persevering. The more positive social experiences you have, the more confident you will feel.
5. How to deal with people staring at you.
If someone is staring at you and making you feel uncomfortable, distract yourself. This could be a repetitive task, like counting, saying the alphabet backwards or reciting a poem. Or try to control your breathing (e.g. breathe in for a count of three – and out for a count of three). You could think about a recent holiday and visualise yourself being there. Or think about something or someone you like – something to make you feel happy or that makes you smile.
6. There are different ways to smile.
If you have a condition which means you are concerned that people cannot read your expression or your smile easily, or you find it more difficult to make eye contact, you may find showing them your whole face may help – and look them in the eye as best you can – this will still add meaning. And remember, we usually smile with our whole face and eyes, not just our mouth.
7. Speaking to others can be a challenge.
If you are speaking to someone in a language you are not confident in or have a condition that affects your speech, try to talk as slowly and clearly as possible. It may also help to say something like, ‘Please listen carefully as my speech is not very clear.’ Let people know you don’t mind repeating yourself. Also, writing things down may be useful too.
8. Our thoughts are important.
Often we are not aware of how we think – or how this affects the way we act. Worrying about how other people respond to you mean that, over time, you become pessimistic and expect things to go badly. This may mean you act in a negative way. Another person may not talk to you because you look like you do not want to talk to them! Once you recognise negative thinking, the thoughts may become less powerful and have less influence over you. To help you feel even stronger and more confident, try coming up with a positive thought instead, for example, “People are interested in me for who I am.” It will take practice, but when you think a negative thought, make an effort to replace it with a positive thought.
9. Starting a conversation is sometimes tricky.
When meeting someone new, many of us can’t think of anything to say. Try some small talk or asking the other person about their hobbies or where they live. It can be useful to think about a social situation before you go. Try making a list of possible subjects before you get there. But most importantly, remember that most people find talking to someone new quite difficult. Try not to assume that it is you that is getting in the way of a good conversation.
10. Getting the hang of flirting.
Smile-even if you don’t like your smile, we all respond well to a person who is enjoying themselves. If you’re unable to smile, you can show enjoyment by tipping your head to the side, being expressive in your hand gestures and laughing a lot. Make lots of eye contact and hold the other person’s gaze for a few seconds longer than usual. Turn your body towards the person you are interested in and lean in closer when they are talking to you. Be aware of having more ‘open’ body language, by unfolding your arms and either uncrossing your legs or pointing one foot in the direction of the person you like. If you notice that the person is flirting with you too, a gentle touch on the forearm or shoulder can feel personal and intimate.