How To Be Yourself


What Kind of Clam Are You?

I used to clam up around people all the time. So obviously I wasn’t being myself, and that made me unhappy. Nowadays, I don’t clam up very much, though I still keep to myself a lot, but at least I don’t clam up, and that makes me a lot happier. The reason I don’t clam up much is because I’m just not as self-conscious as I used to be.

To be happy as a clam, however, one needs to be able to fully express oneself around others.

How To Be More Chatty

Sometimes being “too quiet” can itself make us feel more uncomfortable in social situations. Although “being yourself” doesn’t necessarily mean being talkative, it’s likely that if you’re being yourself, then you’ll be more talkative.

When one is in a social situation where it would be appropriate or beneficial to engage with other people yet one isn’t socially engaged, this is probably because one is too engaged in one’s own head and having a busy internal monologue.

Sean Cooper, the Shyness and Social Anxiety Guy, says, “Outgoing people talk to other people. Shy people talk to themselves.”

Having a long silent soliloquy with oneself automatically makes one less talkative. (After all, it’s difficult to carry on two conversations at the same time!) Thus, in order to be less quiet (and more talkative) on the outside, one needs to be more quiet on the inside.

So how do you stop all this yakety-yak inside the mind? “Realize when you are talking to yourself,” Sean Cooper explains. “It may take some time before you are able to consistently ‘catch yourself’ doing it….Often just realizing that you are talking to yourself will quiet that internal voice in your head. It’ll go away as soon as you realize it’s there.”

Once the “trash” is emptied from the head, then one can pay attention to what’s really going on. By focusing outwardly, one feels more connected to the environment as well as other people and it’s then easier to “be yourself.”

Time Limit For Speaking Up

Similar to how having general conversations with oneself inside the head can get in the way of having conversations with others, overthinking what one is considering saying also gets in the way of “being yourself.” Overthinking is what causes hesitation.

“Maybe you think of something to say, wait too long, and then talk yourself out of saying it. Or maybe someone else says it before you,” says Sean Cooper. This has happened to me before many times. Although this probably occurs with many people occasionally, for people with social anxiety, it may be a habitual occurrence.

Rather than consider saying something and turning it over and over in the head, pondering how to say it so it comes out “right” and worrying how the other person might respond, it’s important to speak up on the spot. Otherwise, stop thinking about it, period.

How to just say it (or else stop thinking about saying it)? Have a deadline. Sean Cooper suggests using the “2 Second Rule.” He explains: “You will say something within 2 seconds of it popping into your head. This will increase your spontaneity dramatically. If you don’t say it within 2 seconds, then forget about it and keep your focus on the conversation and quit talking to yourself about it.”

To put it another way, if you get an idea to say something to someone that is seeking expression, JUST DO IT OR DITCH IT.

4 Replies to “How To Be Yourself

  1. Great content, I particularly love the tip on ‘you’re probably too engaged in your own head’. Although I am regarded an outgoing person, on occasions when I’m not feeling as social as usual, I totally agree with you – keeping your internal monologue quiet – really helps and enables you to focus and be present with the people you are with and speaking too or listening too.

    1. Thanks, Fleur Allen. Yes, I think that’s why introverts are predisposed to be socially uncomfortable as opposed to extroverts who are more naturally interested in the world outside their heads. However, introverts have an advantage in that there’s also more of a predisposition to be introspective and therefore gain in-sight into what’s going on in their heads, all the yakety-yak, and put a stop to it.

  2. This is a great article for introverts like me. I work as a salesman and sometimes have trouble figuring out how to start a conversation to get the guest to feel comfortable with me. It would be nice if that part didn’t matter so much but unfortunately it’s a major reason for why people buy. Thanks for breaking everything down in such detail and you did a great job of giving an action plan to such a general phrase.

    1. Hi Amazon LaShaun, yes, I think these tips hit the nail on the head of what gets in the way of spontaneity. So they should help with being a salesman, developing rapport and selling as well. Thanks.

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