(The Frisky) -- Contrary to what your mama might have told you, "just be yourself" is not always the best advice. Almost all of us have something we're insecure about, and while years of pricey therapy might eventually banish self-doubt, I've found that the best way to get over it in the short-term is to refuse to acknowledge it exists in the first place.
What some call denial, I call common sense ...
Whenever I feel insecure about where my life is going, I try to find someone in a similar line of work who's got that killer combination of super successful and supremely untalented. (No matter what your profession, they're out there.)
Nine times out of 10, the only things they have that I lack are confidence and pushiness. Instead of bemoaning the unfairness of it all, I use them as an example of what I could be doing if I weren't sitting around feeling sorry for myself.
Some of us wake up enveloped in a golden halo of perfectly tousled hair, greet the morning with a pearly white smile, and then slide our lithe and toned bod into whatever happens to be clean and somehow manage to look like a supermodel even before we've even had our first cup of coffee.
Then there are the rest of us. No need to throw in the towel just because you're no Heidi Klum -- look around. Most of us are about average. It's what you choose to do with what you've got that makes the difference.
Pick your best feature and wear something that draws attention to it. Get a good haircut and put on some lipstick, why don't you? If you're feeling zitty or fat -- show cleavage. That never fails.
When I tell people that I'm shy, they usually laugh. The reason nobody ever believes me is because I kick my own butt constantly -- especially at parties (my weakest spot). I remind myself that nobody knows how awkward I feel and it's my obligation to be a good guest. After a half hour or so I start to forget that I'm socially awkward and sometimes even manage to have a good time.
My friend Jasmine is the most tormented flirter I know. Today she called to tell me that a super hot guy had smiled at her. I was pleased until she told me her response -- she turned and walked away! What? "I didn't know what to do!" she whined.
What to do?! I'll tell you what Jas needs to do -- she needs to pull her head out of the sand. When a cute guy smiles, smile back and say hi. That's all! More advanced flirters might throw in a technical question such as, "How are you doing?" But that's it. It's that easy.
Have you ever been out with someone and find you're seriously outgunned in the smarty pants department? Maybe he wants to talk quantum fractals or genome sequencing, whereas your frame of reference runs more towards Jane Austen and the psyche of serial killers.
Instead of dissolving into a pool of intellectual inferiority, or worse, trying to fake it, be straight-up and share that that's not your area of expertise. Then ask a couple questions.
The smartest people I know don't necessarily have Ivy League degrees -- but what they do possess is an all-consuming sense of curiosity about the world around them. And if he's really smart, he'll realize that he's boring the heck out of you and he needs to locate some common ground.
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