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8 Qualities Every Independent Woman Should Look For In A Boyfriend

8 Qualities Every Independent Woman Should Look For In A Boyfriend

You prize your independence. You are the one who can handle your job challenges, problems with coworkers and family issues without running for help. When it comes to your boyfriend, you have some specific things in mind which will fit in with your lifestyle. Here is a list of things you are looking for. These are not set in stone, just a set of guidelines. If your boyfriend fails to meet one or two of these criteria, don’t kick him out. After all, one of your great qualities as an independent woman is your talent for flexibility, compromise and problem solving! You might have to do some work or if you think it is not worth it, you might move on.

1. He gives you your personal space

You love having a little time, space, and some oxygen for yourself. He knows that and loves his private space too. There are no problems if you are away for a weekend or out with the girls. He does not cling and he does not pester you with texts and phone calls while you are enjoying yourself. It is, of course reciprocal because you do not believe in 24/7 surveillance either. But you love those funny messages at unexpected times.

2. He’s there when you need him

You know the type of guy who wants to become your second dad and is overprotective. No thanks! You have learned from early on to be self-sufficient, capable and strong. You want him there though when you need support, encouragement, and advice and he always is.

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You know that there is a certain ambiguity in your independence. You always want to show your strength and capabilities but at the same time you feel the need to be cared for emotionally and socially. You can list countless examples when he has taken care of you in moments of doubt, sadness, and even exhaustion.

3. He knows the ups and downs of living together

Are you going to lose some of your independence if you start living together? He probably has been through that himself. Maybe it was a small apartment and the pressure of being together for much of the time ruined the last relationship. He is prepared to examine with you all the pros and cons. He is aware, like you are, of the risks. Most research now indicates that cohabiting or marriage is not the problem. It is the age of the partners and their maturity which really makes the difference. You both know the dangers of mindlessly drifting into cohabitation.

4. He does not feel threatened

You know that some men actually feel a little intimidated or even threatened by an independent woman. They may even feel less masculine when confronted with the woman’s autonomy. But, you know that your boyfriend does not expect you be more clingy and less independent once you become a couple. Your relationship is not about giving up what you have fought for and there is no question of being conquered.

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5. He knows your real agenda

Fortunately, your boyfriend is far more enlightened than those guys who think that a woman’s main ambition is to get a partner and settle down! You both have great ideas on how you will work together as equal partners in finding happiness together. Your boyfriend knows that romance is just the icing on the cake. Baking and eating the cake requires commitment and hard work.

6. He knows that no partner needs to dominate

We all know the stories about who is “wearing the pants” in certain households. Fortunately, couples have evolved and there is no need for domination or even power struggles or when making decisions. You both believe in a partnership so there is no need for one of you to hold all the cards.

He respects you and your decisions and you feel safe in his presence. This is a biggie as 95% of domestic violence victims all over the world are women. There are no signs of emotional or physical abuse and that is why you feel totally secure.

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7. He understands your goals and ambitions

Problems can arise when your boyfriend may not be ambitious at all at work and does not have any great goals, apart from surviving till Friday! You don’t relate to being not motivated at all and working in a dead-end job. This is where the motivation gap may cause problems because your long hours and getting up early may not suit your boyfriend at all and may lead him to loneliness, frustration and insecurity.

This problem is solved when you both have goals and ambitions and they are not necessarily tied to the world of work. Your boyfriend may be highly motivated in sports or working out and is also driven by ambition. You both understand your goals because you have discussed them a lot.

8. He knows how to communicate

Guess what the number one problem is in most relationships? It is not sex or money but lack of communication. Most couples cannot deal with arguments which tend to start and never finish. You know the ones where you or he threatens to leave or take some other drastic action.

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Your boyfriend is an effective communicator because he never brings up old issues or introduces third parties (“Your Mom agrees with me”). He also concentrates on the present issue and avoids exaggerating by refusing to use the words “you always” and “you never”. He knows that these tend to fudge the real issues as you yourself understand only too well. You both know that arguments resolve differences and are not to be used again and again!

Have you been able to tick off all the above points? How did your boyfriend do and did you pass the test yourself?

Featured photo credit: Couple in love/ Pedro Ribeiro Simoes via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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