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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everybody! When I see pictures of myself or watch myself on video I'm like "OMG! That's not me!" I always look so weird and submissive or pessimistic and negative when I really was not feeling that on the inside. I know a lot of this has to do with facial expressions and body language and tone of voice. I try to be conscious of these things and try to change them but a lot of times I forget and I automatically act this way. Does anyone have any tips on improving body language and reducing "submissive" gestures?
 

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What has worked for me is to feel like I am better than the rest (the majority of the time I am thanks to isolation.. been busy analysing... I am not afraid to provide statistics either. well, at least better at predicting the future... at least a year a head) but then I am told that is wrong to do and I am back to myself. (submissive)

So I believe it all starts on how one feels inside (which is true but i suck at giving advice... i'm use to not asking for advice because i got it). I am a little more on the masculine side of things though.

if you feel like you are a queen, you are no matter what everyone else says. Again :) I have macho tendencies that are frown upon here :tiptoe

My two cents.
 

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Never really cared for body language, lol.
 

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I try to keep my spine straight 'cause otherwise I get creases on my belly. ewwww

I keep my arms and legs crossed a lot, but the legs part is expected. So when I cross my arms I try to look like I don't give a fawk. Like Mr. T... or something like that. I probably look paranoid. lol

It usually helps to feel relaxed. If you're relaxed, you don't feel defensive or afraid. Naturally you'll look less nervous.

Some people definitely train themselves to hold themselves a certain way, like those people in beauty pageants. You can try looking at yourself in the mirror and practicing more positive body language. You'll have to keep reminding yourself to do this or do that until it becomes a habit.
 

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Looking down. Smiling when it is unnecessary. Not taking up a lot of space. Crossing my arms in front of me. Nervous habits like twirling my hair or making weird faces.
I do this a lot. I found myself crossing my arms a lot lately. I also find it pretty frightening trying to make eye contact with strangers. I know it's good to build confidence, but I feel so weak when I have to turn away.
 

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Looking down. Smiling when it is unnecessary. Not taking up a lot of space. Crossing my arms in front of me. Nervous habits like twirling my hair or making weird faces.
I'm trying to work on this exact same issue as well.

I always feel like I need to scrunch myself down to take us a little space as possible, I never look people in the eyes (especially men :\), I always move out of someones way (but not in a polite way, sometimes in a totally embarrassing unnecessary way), and I know exactly what you mean about hands etc. I'm always fidgeting with them, and always in my lap or in front of me when standing. (even though my grandma always told me to stand with them behind my back :\).

While in class I'm embarrassed to take notes in case I end up getting in the way of my fellow classmates; this leads me to never placing more than my wrists on the table while writing notes etc (painful in a two hour lecture).

I've also been told by quite a few people I have a really bad (and apparently uncomfortable for them) apology problem. I'm known to apologize for things like having an opinion (I usually say sorry after answering a question in class as well), even to the extent that I've lately been apologizing every time I speak up to someone (except my family and partner). I'm also quick to assume responsibility if confronted with a confrontation; I can never stand up for myself, so I usually end up getting walked all over :\. I always seem to be 'cut' in lines at stores, the university dining hall, etc. I guess my demeanor says, "she won't mind" etc.

I have the nervous habits as well; the ends of my hair are breaking off because I play with the end of my pony tail so often (I really need to quell this habit before I loose any length). I hope this is what you were asking about.

lol...I think being given Miss Manners as a child, and forced to learn and apply this all the way up to late teens, has ruined me :p That book creates submissive women like no other; although, I'm in no way condoning not having manners, many good lessons in that book :p
 

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I know I need to work on my neutral facial expressions as I tend to frown and scowl and look angry when I'm not. Also, I feel awkward and don't know what to do with my hands half the time, so I often fold my arms in front of me, looking closed-off, or place them on my hips, which adds to the angry look. Sometimes I clasp my hands behind my back, which may be better. And I slouch when sitting. "sigh"

Tips: Smile, look forward (but not up 'cause people think your nose is in the air...my head has a tendency to tilt up a bit and I've been told I look snobbish), loose stance with one leg in front of the other slightly for balance and loose shoulders so as to look relaxed...I dunno. :b
 

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I have to do training presentations at work, and we record them for people who are absent, new hires, etc. I hate the idea of being on video, but I've watched myself and I was actually pleasantly surprised. I'm not going to put Tony Robbins out of business, but I was more animated than I would have thought.

Since seeing myself on video I've been a little less apprehensive about doing these things, and I've gotten to the point where I can (privately, all alone) watch and critique myself and do the thing a bit better the next time.

I'm also a little less concerned about ordinary interactions with people, because I know I come off similarly in informal situations. Again, not wowing people but not the buzzkill I imagine myself to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm trying to work on this exact same issue as well.

I always feel like I need to scrunch myself down to take us a little space as possible, I never look people in the eyes (especially men :\), I always move out of someones way (but not in a polite way, sometimes in a totally embarrassing unnecessary way), and I know exactly what you mean about hands etc. I'm always fidgeting with them, and always in my lap or in front of me when standing. (even though my grandma always told me to stand with them behind my back :\).

While in class I'm embarrassed to take notes in case I end up getting in the way of my fellow classmates; this leads me to never placing more than my wrists on the table while writing notes etc (painful in a two hour lecture).

I've also been told by quite a few people I have a really bad (and apparently uncomfortable for them) apology problem. I'm known to apologize for things like having an opinion (I usually say sorry after answering a question in class as well), even to the extent that I've lately been apologizing every time I speak up to someone (except my family and partner). I'm also quick to assume responsibility if confronted with a confrontation; I can never stand up for myself, so I usually end up getting walked all over :\. I always seem to be 'cut' in lines at stores, the university dining hall, etc. I guess my demeanor says, "she won't mind" etc.

I have the nervous habits as well; the ends of my hair are breaking off because I play with the end of my pony tail so often (I really need to quell this habit before I loose any length). I hope this is what you were asking about.

lol...I think being given Miss Manners as a child, and forced to learn and apply this all the way up to late teens, has ruined me :p That book creates submissive women like no other; although, I'm in no way condoning not having manners, many good lessons in that book :p
We are so alike! Scary! Did you get this from how you were socialized as a child too? My parents are the picture of submission when it comes to superficial social settings so there is no question where I got it from. I feel shame when I stand up for myself (but I also give myself credit for it too). I know the shame is due to my parents. I have to consciously tell myself in social situations to be assertive and express my opinion without apology. It's so tough because the submission is automatic. Thanks for your reply!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well I'm not convinced that changing body language will automatically change anything, it comes hand in hand as your confidence grows.
I don't know anyone who is completely confident and comfy all the time (or even most of the time to be honest with you). Some are just better at rationalizing their behavior to themselves and others. There is a certain level of thinking I've noticed in so-called confidant people and it's basically "I do no wrong." Lots of excuses, justifications and rationalizations to keep the ego intact. Not a lot of second guessing or questioning of anything. But is that that the bolder way to be? Not exactly.

I think less self criticism and less perfectionism is needed. Also, in some situations, less empathy. I find myself thinking of others' feelings more than my own a lot of times and I tend to make them feel better at my own expense. This definitely goes along with altering your body language to appear as the more submissive one (to show you are not a threat). I know I went a bit off topic but I find the "confidence" thing to be quite vague.
 

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I find myself thinking of others' feelings more than my own a lot of times and I tend to make them feel better at my own expense.
I do this all the time! It's awful, really.

To respond to your question; Yes, I do feel this was brought on by the way I was raised. My parents were middle-upper class, and I attended private schools for most of my early education. These drilled into us girls to be submissive, empathetic (to the extent that you have described), and to accept life as a "supportive role" to a husband (or wife in my case). They had etiquette class, and for us girls it was a daily class (the boys had this course once a week). Needless to say I never really had an opportunity to be a child as I was forced to "entertain" family friends/my parents work partners at formal events. To be a woman from ten years old.

I've been trying to shake these habits for years, but I also do not wish to become callous or unsympathetic to people. I enjoy being mannerly, and I need to be for my partners profession (she attends quite a few conferences/dinners); but, I guess I need to find a middle ground where I can be myself, express my own opinions, and not feel repressed while also maintaining a certain level of "class." Not sure if I'm expressing myself properly.

What have you tried to curb this? I honestly do not even know where to start; we should create a group lol...SAS for Controlled Callousness! :p Anyway, I really hope you can find some advice (pass it along this way if you happen across it, and I'll do the same :p). Nice to have someone to relate too. Most people I know (especially men) see this type of behavior as favorable, and therefore never agree it's a problem. This reinforcement, I feel, is also responsible for not getting over this; everyone seems to reward and encourage this type of behavior.
 

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Hey everybody! When I see pictures of myself or watch myself on video I'm like "OMG! That's not me!" I always look so weird and submissive or pessimistic and negative when I really was not feeling that on the inside. I know a lot of this has to do with facial expressions and body language and tone of voice. I try to be conscious of these things and try to change them but a lot of times I forget and I automatically act this way. Does anyone have any tips on improving body language and reducing "submissive" gestures?
Practice all the time. Eventually it will change.
 
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