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The Best Is yet to Come: 6 Signs You Deserve to Be Treated Right

The Best Is yet to Come: 6 Signs You Deserve to Be Treated Right

The pint of Ben & Jerry’s is gone; the Kleenex box is on its last tissue; the wine bottle beside your bed is empty; and you haven’t brushed your hair since the Clinton administration. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there—on the dark side of a break-up so bad we doubt we’ll ever recover from it. Our hearts are sunk, and we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re hopeless and unworthy of true love.

It takes a while—and several thousand calories and a half-dozen of hangovers later—to realize that maybe, just maybe, we’re not the problem: the real dilemma is the person we’ve been dating.

Swagger is sexy. It’s a turn-on, really, to see a “bad boy” order a drink at the bar with the confidence of the Marlboro Man or a knockout in a red dress knock out the self-assurance of a man at a cocktail party with a mere look.

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They’re daring, provocative, and sensual—so much so you’re at first willing to overlook the way they mistreat you. It could be something as innocuous as her forgetting to remember that you don’t eat chives to something as insidious as him calling you only on Saturday nights after the bars have closed down. With time, and with more and more disappointments, you realize you’re back in the territory you know so well you don’t even need a roadmap: you’re in an unfulfilling relationship.

But then, when the tears have dried and you’ve removed all evidence of your fling from your Facebook page, someone so wonderful and compassionate comes along that you’re stunned speechless, and you’re reminded of the words of Mark Twain when he said, “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

This new man makes dates with you a week in advance. She surprises you with a weekend getaway when you finally receive that promotion. You have long, passionate discussions about everything from politics to your pasts.

It may be too soon to start naming your children together, but what this person does for your health and happiness is nothing short of magical: they tear you out of your dreary landscape and show you a new, refreshing reality—the place where you belong.

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And it is there that you have the chance to see seven of the signs that reveal you deserve to be treated right.

1. You’re tired of being a doormat.

When you’re self-esteem is low, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being present for someone when they need you—even if they’re MIA during your most desperate moments. You want to feel empowered and respected, not bullied into “meeting up” when it’s convenient for them—and the difference between the two is vast. When the latter starts becoming your modus operandi, you realize that you’re worth so much more than an offhand phone chat or date when he or she requests it, often at the last minute. You, exactly how you are, merit a home-cooked meal, a vase of flowers, a call wishing you luck on a stressful day. You’re neither a doormat nor a wallflower, but someone richly deserving of time, attention, empathy, and love.

2. You know the old adage is true: beauty is only skin deep.

Players and man eaters are notoriously good looking. They dress well, sport fresh pedicures, and have their hair professionally cut. But what happens when the clothes come off, the polish chips, and the wind blows their hair out of place? Who is the person underneath? If they’re dull-witted, insolent, narcissistic, unsympathetic, slovenly, and mean to your cat. It doesn’t matter if their shirt is from Prada, they modeled in their teens, or drive a Lexus—sexual attraction has a shelf life. Your charm and value—as well as theirs—exists beneath your physicality, and you’re determined to be treated as such.

3. You’re meet-their-parents worthy.

Your Aunt Bea is convinced you’re gay. You overhear your dad say that you’ll turn into a spinster with seven cats if you keep up this behavior. Your sister calls you a man-slut. You envy the foursome at the table next to you, where the eager young man is discussing what Christmas is like in Australia to his beautiful fiancé’s father. And then it hits you: the person you’re “dating” would fit in with your family like Morticia would mesh with the Cleavers. He would start talking to your dad, who is staunchly liberal, about Trump’s “promise.” She would try to drink your Uncle Fred under the table, and mistake the olive oil for wine. In your mind, your Mr. or Mrs. Right (even if it’s only Right Now) would open the door for your mom and not give your sister’s cleavage a first, let alone second, glance. She would cheer on the Saints with your dad and push your nephew in his swing.

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The point being: we aren’t that unlike our families, however hard we try to resist it. What they like, we like; what they see as disconcerting, we should see as well—even more so. You know you’re meet-their-parents worthy, and if your partner fails to see it? It’s time to show them the door.

4. You’re starting to forget the name you were christened with.

The men and women you’ve been dating have a variety of “pet” names that aren’t cuddly whatsoever because they are, let’s admit it, so clichéd their meanings are lost in obscurity. You’re Hun. Baby Girl. Dude. Darling. Sweetheart. Bae. All of these nicknames hint at what’s likely a larger problem: you’re one of many men or women in their lives, and they’re having a tough time keeping your first and last names straight. (A problem made all the more difficult if, my word!, one of you isn’t on social media.)

You’re beginning to recall the pleasure of the person you’re intimate with addressing you properly, even, dare I say, asking and remembering your middle name. Seriously: call out “blondie” in a packed restaurant and 50% of the clientele will probably swivel their heads. Now, Paige Monroe? Bradley McAllister? How nice is that?

5. You honor loyalty and candor.

Dating an adult man who can’t hold down a job or seeing a woman who is known around town as Miss Promiscuous requires a certain level of, um, discretion. You have to tell your BFF that you’re going to the gym when He calls because god forbid you’re giving him a twenty-second chance. You have to tell your surfing buddy you’re on a deadline because he’s dating Her too.

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You have to tell yourself that you’re suffering from temporary insanity and that it’s good to feel like a naughty teen again even if you can’t remember the last time he or she actually treated you with an iota of respect. It’s getting boring, strenuous, and straight-up time consuming coming up with lies—white or not—to cover up for your absences and I-feel-so-used mornings. You acknowledge, and absorb, that in truth there is beauty, and want someone who has a similar moral compass—one who chooses kindness over impulses, diligence over laziness, principle over pleasure.

6. You love yourself, with or without a partner.

When the baes and handsomes have been inevitably replaced with vengeful and defamatory name-calling, you start to believe it. Think of it as knowledge through repetition, or, in clinical terms, emotional abuse. And, like an ill-treated dog, you start bowing your eyes and sleeping alone in the bushes, hoping someone will come around with a bowl of food and a rub on your rump.

Whether or not that happens, through time, wisdom, self-empowerment, and the introduction to someone who treats you well, you begin realizing what those who truly love and respect you always knew: you’re downright fabulous. You may not be a princess, you may not be President of the United States (or even the bank at which you work), but your positive qualities far outweigh your flaws. And the right person—that person you genuinely adore and admire—will reinforce that you shouldn’t just like yourself, whether or not you’re alone, but deserve to love yourself with all your might.

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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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