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There’s A Lot To Reflect On The Way We Date Today

There’s A Lot To Reflect On The Way We Date Today

Dating now is a game of selfish convenience.

Meeting potential lovers is now more convenient than ever.

Instead of going out to socialize in person, we can sit in the safety of our bedrooms mindlessly scrolling through an endless sea of dating fishes. We download as many dating apps as we can, beef up our profile with witty remarks or clever emoji chain in hopes that princess flattery or prince charming happens to swipe right as well. It’s created a vicious cycle of judgement making snap decision after snap decision based almost solely on six pictures or less.

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This may seem completely harmless, but there’s a much larger issue lying just below the surface that needs to be addressed:

We’re losing the ability to communicate face to face.

One of the largest constraints in the early stages of dating, which can be catastrophic later in the relationship, is the way in which we communicate. With any form of digital communication you have, more or less, an endless amount of time to think and respond. You’re able to carefully craft messages or texts to be suave or sweet or funny or whatever emotion you’re trying to convey. This aspect of conversation is much more difficult to “wing” off the top of your head when the phone screen buffer is removed. Sure, people are shy. Sometimes the nervous tummy butterflies can get the best of you. However, at some point that shyness needs to be eliminated if there’s ever a hope of subsequent dates or sustaining a long term relationship. The only way to do that is talking to your partner’s face, not their Facebook.

Why?

If we communicate most of the time digitally, we’ll often share the wide ranges of emotion through digital formats, too. Jokes, sweet chatter, and a funny dog GIF are all enjoyable, but what happens when the other side of the spectrum is reached? What happens when we end up getting in a huge argument and are unable to discuss uncomfortable topics in person? Do you really believe that dealing with your relationship problems over the phone really alleviates the issue and brings you closer? Is that a healthy way of overcoming the inevitable confrontations relationships bring?

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To take it a step further into the digital realm, since such a noticeable volume of millennials use dating and social media apps, constantly being on the phone invites your partner to question, pry, and be deeply insecure about how you’re spending your time on your phone both in their presence and not. And when we’re insecure, there’s really no telling what levels we might stoop to to find “truth”. Snooping without asking, causing senseless fights over nothing, and jumping to irrational conclusions can all result from spending too much time talking digitally and not enough literal face to face time.

Technology is not entirely to blame here.

The users of technology are. Technology will continue to evolve despite your relationship or dating successes or downfalls. I think one thing that’s important to know, aside from the dangers in too little face to face discussion, is communicating the importance (or lack thereof) of technology in the relationship. Some people find it extremely sexy not texting all day so they have something to talk about next time they go out on a date or meet for a movie at the other’s house. Independence in this way can be interpreted in two ways, though: ignoring (a.k.a. he or she isn’t really interested) or attractive (a.k.a. they have a life outside of me and I respect that). But in any aspect of the relationship, communication is key. No one can read minds or pick up telekinetic impulses.

For single women and men who currently use dating apps, like me, do you continue to swipe and Bumble after you meet someone really cool off a dating app? Or do you continue to send out horrific pickup lines with the hopes of a laugh and, fingers crossed, a date?

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I think it’s not only respectful to the other party (that you’re presumably “into”) to deactivate your accounts on dating sites, but it’s also respectful to yourself. How much of a bummer would it be to be really stoked on time spent with someone only for them to find out that you’re still messaging several men or women on dating sites trying to get more hookups or meet ups? You’d look like a sleeze

No one wants to be a sleaze ball, and we all want sincere connection. Sadly, many of us continue to use these dating apps despite other people feel strongly about in the early stages because we enjoy the attention. When you match with someone attractive, or a cute boy sends you a sappy message, it feels good.

But what feels better is sincere connection with someone else. A connection that can only be established and maintained through consistent “IRL” face time.

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The game of dating hasn’t really changed, but it’s a bit more intricate now when technology is mixed in. Let’s not let ourselves, our lovers, and our relationships fall victim to these electronic vices.

Featured photo credit: Let’s Do 52/latteda via albumarium.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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