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Why It’s Harder To Fall In Love When You’re Growing Older (And That’s A Good Sign)

Why It’s Harder To Fall In Love When You’re Growing Older (And That’s A Good Sign)

Never Love Anyone Who Treats You Like You’re Ordinary – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde would have been wasting his time preaching those words to me in my youth. I never listened to anyone and fell in love with the wrong people time and again – people who didn’t treat me well. But I didn’t care as long as I got the one I wanted.

As I matured I slowly learned that to be treated well, not only would I have to demand respect but I would also have to become more selective in finding a partner – and that’s when it got tricky, but it wasn’t such a bad thing.

Here’s why the struggle to fall in love when you’re older isn’t that bad after all.

1. You Love Yourself

As we mature and put bad life experiences behind us, many of us learn that to move on in a positive way we must learn to love ourselves.

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When we love ourselves we put ourselves first and this really is a good thing. Sure, we may need to give to others but we can’t do that without looking after ourselves first.

But when it comes to love, many people shy away from a partner who is only attentive to themselves – and these are the kind of partners you want to avoid.

You want to attract a partner who appreciates your worth and admires your ability to put yourself first. While it may take time, this makes it easier to sift through the pile of potential love interests, getting to the best ones on the top.

2. You Have a Full Life

If you have been single for a while you have probably filled your life with very interesting things. Fun activities, family visits, holidays and work all take up your time.

You may even have children from a previous relationship and it can be hard to fit a date into the middle of all of this. Isn’t it wonderful to have such a full life and so much choice available to you.

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You can re-prioritize if that is your wish. You can juggle some things around to fit in a prospective partner and see how it goes. It is entirely up to you how much time you wish to devote to a significant other. Make it work for you.

3. You’re Self Protective

Many of us have been seriously hurt by someone we held dear and these wounds take a long time to heal. We can become weary of meeting someone new and put up our guard. Being self protective is not innately a bad thing.

If anything, this is the intelligent thing to do. Why would anyone rush back into another relationship for the same thing to happen again? When we’re self protective we are cautious about who we let into our lives.

The more careful we are the less likely we are to fall in love with a loser or a user.

4. You Enjoy Your Space

It is a lovely thing to be able to enjoy your own space. During times of solitude – be it a weekend alone on a break or a night in by the fire – we allow for self-development and introspection.

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This is very healthy and helps us to become more well rounded people. Sometimes, however, while we want a companion in life we don’t necessarily want to share all of that space with them.

This is perfectly understandable and anyone worth their salt will respect that and give you your space. If they are happy to give you your space you will know you are on the right track.

5. You Don’t Suffer Fools

Over the years you’ve learned not to entertain people who seem highly likely to waste your time. Through experience you’ve figured out who these people are likely to be and you don’t take long in releasing them from your life.

This is truly wonderful. Wisdom is a great reward. The path to meeting someone who is truly right for you is clear because of this gift.

6. You Have Your Independence

You learn to look after yourself in every way when you are single. You work so you have your own money and you have your friends and family for company. There comes a point when you can survive easily if you never met someone.

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The choice is ours when we reach this point. We can do as we wish – we have no need to meet someone unless we really do want to fall in love.

7. You Want A Meaningful Relationship

As we grow older we want a relationship that will be rewarding and meaningful. We want to be on the same page as our new date. We want to have a lot in common, be able to talk together and have that physical attraction at the same time.

It’s not good enough anymore to simply hook up with the first person we feel attracted to and hope for the best; as mature people we want more.

Experience and wisdom are fantastic assets when it comes to falling in love.

Falling in love gets harder as you get older but is it really love that we find in our youth– or infatuation? Real love is what we look for as we mature and while that may be harder to find it is longer lasting and far more rewarding.

So take your time, at least you know when you find them they will be a good fit for a long time.

Featured photo credit: Stephan Blomberg Photography via static.flickr.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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