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Only Sensitive People Can Understand These 10 Things

Only Sensitive People Can Understand These 10 Things

In a world in which “nice guys finish last,” being a sensitive person has its ups and downs. Sensitive people live by their emotions, as well as the connections they make with others throughout their lives. While this can be a good thing during times of extreme happiness, it can also be incredibly detrimental during a sensitive person’s inevitable low periods in life. Those of us who are overly sensitive know are familiar with the following things.

1. You get offended easily.

The most innocuous statements can send a sensitive person into a downward spiral of self-doubt and worry. Because of this, people often feel as if they have to walk on eggshells when around you. However, this only exacerbates the problem, as you sometimes feel as if you’re being treated differently by friends and colleagues because you’re known to be overly sensitive. Even still, it’s hard to not be offended when a friend pokes fun at something you said or did, even if you know it was all in jest.

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2. You’ve been told to lighten up.

On the same token, many of your friends and colleagues refuse to treat you any differently, instead telling you to not take everything so seriously. Of course, you know this is easier said than done, and if you could, you would. While someone might try to make you feel better by saying “Lighten up, I was only joking,” what they fail to realize is you now feel as if everyone in the room is having fun at your expense; especially once they realize you actually did get offended by a seemingly benign statement.

3. You’re in tune with others’ emotions.

Sensitive people are not just emotional beings themselves, but they also pick up on others’ changes in mood easily as well. When you meet up with a friend, you can immediately tell how their day was, how they’re feeling, and how the rest of the day will go with just a quick glance at their facial expression and body language. Being able to detect these mood changes in others is partly the reason you get so offended when others don’t understand they offended you, because you’d be able to tell immediately if the situation were reversed.

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4. You’re empathetic.

Not only are you quick to pick up others’ emotional cues, but you often let their emotions dictate your own. It’s hard not to feel down when others are, so when a friend comes to you with a problem, you take their mood on yourself. Of course, this is because you want to put yourself in their shoes in order to better assist them with their issue, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve allowed external stimuli to change your own disposition.

5. You’re too polite.

Because you know how awful it feels to be shut down or otherwise offended, you’re usually polite to everyone. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can also lead to others walking all over you. Even if someone offends you, you’d rather ignore it and move on than stand up for yourself. This isn’t to say that being confrontational is a healthy alternative, but you also shouldn’t allow others to disrespect you whenever they feel like it. Doing so will only exacerbate your sensitivity, as you’ll constantly feel inadequate around those who use you as their own personal emotional punching bag.

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6. You’re eager to please.

Along with being too polite, sensitive people are often too eager to please. Being reliable is fine, but people will start to use you once they realize how eager you are to drop what you’re doing to help them out. By putting your own life on the back-burner in favor of helping others, you ultimately help them get ahead while you end up getting stuck behind them. This is especially true at work; don’t make it your obligation to help others before you’ve finished your own tasks, otherwise you’re doing a disservice to your career.

7. You have trouble communicating your feelings.

Ironically, although sensitive people are very emotional people, they often have a tough time expressing their feelings to others. This may be due in part to the fact that they have a heightened ability to detect emotions in others, and they simply expect others to be able to do the same. This is most often noticeable in relationships, in which one person asks “What’s wrong?” and the other answers “Nothing, I’m fine.” Everyone knows “I’m fine” translates to “I shouldn’t have to explain to you what’s wrong.” As a sensitive person, you have to remember that not everyone is as in tune with others’ feelings as you are, and you’ll need to explain yourself at times.

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8. You react emotionally.

Sensitive people think with their hearts first, then their heads. While this can be a good thing when dealing with interpersonal relationships, it can lead to disaster when logic is needed rather than emotion. A manager of a business might have a tough time reprimanding an employee because he is afraid of hurting their feelings, but letting the employee off the hook for a mistake made on company time will lead to bigger problems down the road. Emotional responses have their place when dealing with friendships and significant others, but there are times in life when emotions have to be kept in check.

9. You’re indecisive.

Since sensitive people are constantly being told to “lighten up” or not to take things so seriously, they’re often incredibly indecisive. This is because they don’t trust their own intuition, as they’ve constantly been told their own feelings and perceptions were incorrect. When faced with a tough decision, sensitive people often look at the negative consequences of both actions, and let this laundry list of possible negative outcomes hinder them from ever making a decision at all.

10. You take criticism personally.

Just like everything else, sensitive people take criticism as a personal attack on their worth as a human being. Unfortunately, doing so only serves to block them from improving their skills and abilities. It’s important to use constructive criticism as it’s meant to be taken, rather than a personal affront to your abilities. Take the criticism as advice rather than an insult, and you’ll be able to focus on improving that aspect of your performance in the future.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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