Do you feel as though you struggle with an impediment that holds you back from engaging in activities with others? Have you ever felt as though you can’t be confident around people who you think are better off than you?

Today’s episode is inspired by Nocturnal Sam, a viewer who requested a discussion on maintaining confidence in the presence of other people despite our personal challenges (in the case of our viewer, the personal challenge is a speech impediment).

We all have one thing about our personal appearances or physical abilities we wish we could change: height, weight, hair, build, goofy toes . . . whatever. Even if this one thing is completely insignificant, to us it sticks out like a sore thumb, and we are often desperate to keep other people from noticing it or judging us for it.

Here’s how I like to look at it: these personal challenges—these physical attributes that we assume are a curse—are really gifts in disguise that could be helping us realize that the road to ultimate confidence is really just an inner game . . . and it’s our responsibility to find a path to that ultimate confidence despite our personal hang-ups.

Why should an impediment affect our confidence in the first place? Well, that’s easy, right?

  • Because we’re judging ourselves for it,
  • We assume that it’s a terribly obvious issue that everyone is going to notice
  • We assume that everyone is going to judge us for it,
  • We’re constantly on the lookout for evidence that people are noticing it and judging us for it.
  • We’re constantly on edge because of feeling judged, and as a result,
  • We hold back around others to avoid feeling more exposed and judged.

So, how do we overcome it?

1.We have to own it.

Your qualities—for better or worse—are a part of who you are. They are the one-of-a-kind collection of attributes comprising the unique and beautiful individual that is you. We cannot spend our lives apologizing for the way we were born. Who you are is who you are in the world, and there is no reason that who you are should keep you from being able to accomplish your goals.

2. We must break the mental link that we create between physical attributes and self-worth.

What does being tall or short or fat or thin—or speech-impediment-free or not—have to do with your worth as a human being?

The answer is: nothing.

Take a time-out for a second and ask yourself this question:

What am I here on this planet to accomplish?

It doesn’t have to be something epic like curing cancer or winning the Nobel Prize (although maybe you will!); it can be something just as wonderful, if a bit humbler, like growing a family full of love, finding a satisfying career, or serving people through your work.

Whatever it might be, hopefully you feel as though you have some purpose beside sitting on the couch and eating bonbons all day. Are you really going to let this physical impediment stop you from accomplishing your goal?

The only person who is assuming that you are unlikeable or otherwise undesirable because of your physical disabilities is you.

The worst part is that thinking that will automatically encourage you to seek justification for that assumption in the world around you—you’ll start manufacturing public reactions that aren’t really happening and inventing problems that aren’t really there.

If you choose to look at the problem objectively, however, you’ll almost certainly find that there is at least one famous person (an actor, politician, comedian, scientist, talk show host, etc.) who deals with the same challenges you face every day and who has risen above them to achieve their dreams. These people realize that confidence is an inner game, and they refuse to let their superficial ailments hold them back.

You must own your outer attributes and take pride in your inner strength.

Stop trying to hide and apologize for what you consider to be downfalls.

If you can get to a point of confidence in which you’re even able to joke about it, more power to you!

If you are comfortable with yourself, other people will be comfortable with you too. Period.

You can have everything you want in life regardless of your personal issues.

Take a moment to picture how you think your life would be different if you’d never had the personal issue you’re dealing with. Maybe you think you’d have a girlfriend—do you really think there isn’t one person on the planet with that condition who has a girlfriend? Maybe you think you’d have a better job—do you really think there isn’t anyone with this condition who has become a CEO or leader in their field?

You can only be held back by your challenges to the degree that you buy into them . . . so if you ever hope to move forward, you must stop using them as an excuse not to go after what you want.

In the end, the whole world benefits from each of us realizing our full potential, so please know that you are worthy and loved no matter how “flawed” you might imagine yourself to be. You are a treasure.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this subject below. Feel free to write about your own hang-ups and how you have conquered them so that others can build strength from your experiences. We can break free from the restrictions we’ve built up in our minds much more quickly if we work collectively to encourage confidence and love in one another.

Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome . . . no matter what.


Dr. Aziz