In our life, we often feel intimidated by others. Many people make us nervous. This covers a whole gamut of personalities ranging from some rich and famous, higher ups at work, love interests, some highly qualified people, politicians, people we don’t know at parties, popular people from society, our professors, some renowned professionals and celebrities. It’s very natural to feel intimidated occasionally. It pushes us to become better person. It happens often due to our imaginative gap we see between people we look up to and self. Some such people can bring up feelings we harbor about ourselves that we are not good enough, striking enough, interesting enough, intelligent enough or many more deficiencies.
Have you ever thought that many people must be getting intimidated by you? Your behavior, your mannerism might be misunderstood by many. Shyness is misunderstood as aloofness all the time. Silence is misunderstood as snobbishness; similarly chattiness is misunderstood as gossiping, getting emotional everyone and then is misunderstood as drama queen/king. A very successful doctor – an acquaintance of mine who appears aloof confided in me in one of the parties over a drink that he somehow can’t liberate from his shyness and he thoroughly enjoys when people interact with him. When I told him that he comes across as an aloof person he was astonished as it is just the opposite of his intent; in fact he looks forward to chat and interact with people. Sometimes, if we make the first social move and say hello, we might be wiping out two people’s nerves.
I think everyone feels a little uneasy and off-balanced when they’re around that handful of people who just seem to have everything going for them. They may be really outgoing as well, which can add in all the problems from the point above. You will find their intimidating impression shrinks when you just have more experience with them. When you get used to them, start seeing them as normal people, you will learn firsthand that they too have flaws and quirks and insecurities like everyone else. And, this might improve your own confidence and social skills. You then see these people as closer to your level, rather than them being on a pedestal and your feeling you’re a walking example of lame, awkward unworthiness that’s lucky to even be talking to them.
I would add here a very well managed movie ‘English Vinglish’ which is the story of Shashi, a woman who doesn’t know English and is intimidated by her family and society at large. The film though light-hearted is about the touching and transformational journey of Shashi. Circumstances make her resolute to overcome this insecurity, master English language, teach the world a lesson on the way to becoming a self assured and confident woman.
And, don’t we all believe in stereotypes about looks, styles, mannerisms, eating, drinking, about certain subgroups positive as well as negative. Many times we group religion, races or individuals together and make a judgment about them without knowing them; this is a pattern of a stereotype. Racial remarks, sexual remarks, and gender remarks are the biggest stereotypes. A common stereotype about Asians is that they are good at math and that all Asians like to eat rice and drive slow. Another example is that Irish like to get drunk and they love eating potatoes. And commonest of all is that all boys and men mess up their surroundings and girls are not good at sports. Most stereotypes probably tend to convey a negative impression.
We all want to consider ourselves as liberal, progressive, open-minded citizens of the world while we sometimes subtly act on negative stereotypes about certain groups without giving much importance to it. At University, someone who comes from rural area may feel nervous around young stylish men and women speaking fluently and without any hesitation. Someone may feel a little hesitant to try to be friendly to the Chinese students, because of a negative stereotype going around campus that they’re all selfish and aloof and only associate with each other. I know many people who feel very insecure about their educational qualifications. It is either because their love of education and not having so many degrees.
When someone is intimidated by really outgoing people it’s that they’re worried about having to talk to them and feeling really besieged about feeling that they won’t be able to keep up or know what to say. Let me tell you the moment we think that we won’t be able to converse freely and we might fall short of words trust me that’s what happens. If we’re inhibited, we may assume everyone is constantly looking for a reason to review our flaws. Some people come across as snobby and judgmental without intending to as well.
I think we need to face our fear and just get more used to talking to people we feel intimidated by. We must try to analyze our intimidation. The first time might be tough, but once we get used to talking to them asking question, conversing with them freely the fear evaporates.
I have seen sometimes more of a problem for young adults when they’re still in high school, where all kinds of students are mixed together and they run into some very intelligent, dull, whacky, flamboyant, argumentative, foul mouthed, cheater, sober all sorts of students. It sometimes becomes difficult for peace loving and sober students to fit in a class of tough guys. Once someone has moved on to college or the work world they usually don’t run across as many tough guys. The fear in the work world is that these people are dangerous loose cannons who may kick your ass at any second. This world is more political and full of bias where you face sweet tongued people who say something and do something in contrast.
Some men don’t feel comfortable hanging out with other guys. They find them to be too macho, destructive, cutting in their humor, or impulsive. They may feel that way because they got picked on as a kid, or because they never really felt like they fit the male stereotype. Some women feel the same way and see other females as being too catty, girly, backstabbing, or dramatic, among other things. This is another area where some childhood experience can take the intimidating edge.
We all are product of our subconscious mind; we are what we think. If we think we are unsafe, we are going to remain unsafe till end. If we see someone as threat, the person will surely turn out be a threat. You can take back your power by just changing the way you see yourself. When you learn to see yourself perfectly, you will feel safe in any condition. Don’t care too much what others think of you. Other people can think you are a terrible, stupid, poor, ugly person. But, does this change what you actually are? You are born with a purpose; understand that purpose, there is no reason to feel threatened by anyone, because in reality they can’t hurt you. Occasionally spend time on yourself – deep down you are an amazing, complete, secured, beautiful and good enough. Off and on you might experience some storms they will come and go. You are matchless, one-of-a-kind soul on a journey of learning and growth. Your value cannot be questioned – your value is infinite and absolute.