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All About The Bass! 7 Amazing Things Happen When You Stop Worrying About Body Size

All About The Bass! 7 Amazing Things Happen When You Stop Worrying About Body Size

I am woman, therefore I complain about my body. It’s innate. It’s a genetic predisposition. It started in middle school, when shit got real. It got worse in high school because that’s when my body began to change. That’s also when boys became interested in bodies that belonged to Victoria’s Secret models, or Sports Illustrated models, or girls without names in calendars or posters or magazines.

To be fair, they were interested in my body, but mainly because my body was realistically within their reach. At least more than, say, one of Victoria’s girls. College was no better, especially living in Southern California. The girls at my college were STUNNING. And skinny. I was thin because I worked my ass off running several miles a day, hitting the gym several times a week, and eating so little I developed an eating disorder. All this because I wanted (needed) to look the way society said I should look in a bikini.

I was killing myself in the process. Mentally, emotionally and physically. It affected my relationship before and after I got married. It got so bad, I was scared to get pregnant because I knew I’d get fat.

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But then something happened. Years later, myself and my two children were diagnosed with serious heart conditions and I was forced to give up control. My body size was the least of my concerns. I was busy worrying about keeping myself and my two children alive. Ironically, it gave me incredible freedom. This is what happens when you finally stop worrying about your body size and start to live your life.

1. You stop comparing yourself to others.

When you’re not obsessed with the size of your body, you won’t compare yours to other bodies. Often, body size is only the beginning. We compete with others when it comes to looks, wallets and assets. We forget about inner beauty and life happiness. The minute you stop comparing yourself to others, you begin to enjoy people for who they are, not what they look like or what they have. It’s not easy to do, but worth it in the long run. No one was meant to be the same.

2. You allow yourself to experience more by giving up control.

Once you give up the control, you’re free. You’re able to experience things you’ve never allowed yourself to do in the past. You’re no longer a slave to the scale; you’re no longer identified by a number (weight, BMI, body fat). You’re free to eat the dessert, stay in bed all day, or play with the kids instead of counting calories, dieting and hitting the gym. Spontaneity is doable when you relax and allow yourself to live.

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3. You learn to look beyond the mirror.

You have so much more to offer this world besides what you see (or don’t see) in the mirror. Once you figure out the important stuff in life, you realize people are important for who they are, not what they look like. That includes you. None of your dreams, hopes or goals should be stifled by your body size. Unless you have a magic mirror that shows your inner beauty, stop judging yourself solely by what you see in the mirror.

4. You change your relationship status.

When you forget about an ideal body size, you immediately have a new relationship with food. It’s no longer the enemy. It’s okay to sample that molten chocolate lava cake because you no longer need to restrict yourself. You don’t need to punish yourself for eating something “bad” because nothing is taboo anymore. Once you free yourself of the food/hate/body size trap, there’s no more guilt or self-hate. You learn to love yourself, no matter what your body size.

Before anyone else, you’re in a relationship with yourself. Make it a good one. Make it a healthy one.

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5. You won’t be afraid to wear clothes (or not wear them).

Once you forget about your body size, clothes won’t scare you. Go ahead and wear that dress. Get out your bathing suit. Put on those dance shoes. Better yet, get *cough* naked. Sex is better when you’re not freaking out about your body or being embarrassed by it. Let go and enjoy. Turn the damn lights ON. It’s likely your partner is happy with your body, with clothes and without.

6. Your partner will thank you.

He or she has been waiting for you. The real you. Someone to eat with, laugh with, play with, and enjoy life with. Someone to touch who doesn’t recoil from worry or embarrassment. Someone who doesn’t try to control them, what they do or don’t do, what they eat, drink, etc. Someone who doesn’t spend all day hating herself or asking, “Does this make me look fat?” because we all know that’s a loaded question. Someone who can look at a magazine picture and not be fazed by a good-looking, highly photoshopped model, because she knows she is beautiful, too.

 7. You learn what’s really important in life.

Here’s a hint: it’s not how big your body is; it’s how big YOUR LIFE is.

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I have a heart condition. It’s serious. I also live in Southern California, which means I’m at the beach. A lot. What do these have to do with each other? Nothing, except how I look in my bathing suit is no longer my priority. The fact that I’m alive and well and able to get in the ocean or get on that surfboard with my child is now more important than my appearance. Trust me, some days I feel too big to be in my bikini. Other days, I couldn’t care less. Those are the good days. It’s still a battle, but for the most part, I’m free.

I’m beautiful.

So is a Victoria’s Secret model, and that’s okay.

Featured photo credit: rooftop pool/Whatsername? via flickr.com

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Missy Mitchell

Author, Artist, Advocate

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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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