Why do you feel so nervous on camera?
Why do you cringe when you watch yourself on video, or look at a photo?
And your reaction to hearing your recorded voice is a shocked “That’s not me!”
You can relax and speak in front of a group, or post intimate thoughts on social media. But throw in a camera, and your confidence evaporates.
That’s not really ‘you’
For a start, you have never seen your face the way others see you. Or heard your voice the way others hear you.
You have only ever seen the mirror view of your face. Which means that the slight asymmetry – which we all have – is reversed in your self-image. So when you see yourself on camera – the ‘right’ way around – you are looking at an unfamiliar and unsettling version of your face.
Then throw in our human tendency to focus on our ‘faults’ and you fall directly into the trap of confirmation bias. That is, you give greater weight to your perception of your flaws and irregularities because you haven’t ever become familiar with them.
And so your reaction is “Ugh!”.
It’s how others see you
However, the entire rest of the world, all your family and friends, since the day you were born, relate to the version of your face that shows up on camera and video. And, funnily enough, they don’t seem to have a problem with you.
The same principle applies to when you hear your recorded voice. You hear yourself from within the echo chamber that is your skull. No-one else does. But that’s no help when you’re listening to yourself on tape.
That’s why it can be a shock to see yourself and hear yourself on video. It’s only a shock for you. For everyone who knows you, it’s just what they see and hear on a daily basis.
Get used to it
The best medicine for this state is familiarity. Once you begin to see yourself as others see you, you’ll become used to how you appear on camera. It will lose its sting.
That’s why you need to make lots of videos of yourself. So you can get used to the idea that ‘Hey, I don’t look so bad after all!’
So, when you decide you’d like to have a go at making a video, and your stomach clenches with fear, remember:
- your brain is lying to you
- other people really don’t care. They think you look completely normal.
- this too will pass.
You’ll get it that there’s no need to be nervous on camera. And you’ll be fine.