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People Who Aren’t Serious About Life Understand Life Better

People Who Aren’t Serious About Life Understand Life Better

Life is a serious business! Or is it? Life is beautiful, amazing, majestic, short, and we only get one. Just because someone doesn’t take their lives overly seriously does not mean that they are without motivation or ambition. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about things. People who have learned not to take life–or themselves–seriously tend to live happier, longer lives, tend to get sick less, and seem more fearless.

It’s easy to fall into taking life too seriously. You have an important job and all of a sudden the everyday crises and problems take over your thoughts. Or maybe your baby has colic and all you can focus on is the constant crying and lack of sleep. It happens to everyone at some point. I make a concerted effort every day to see the positive things in my life, appreciate them, and be happy and grateful for the people I have in my life.

What’s happening is that you’re focusing on the smaller stuff and not on the big picture. People who aren’t so serious about life are usually more big-picture types of people. It is easier to shake off the little things when you can see a larger picture in your mind. If I have a bad day at work, I never take that mood home with me. If I do, I’ll talk to my significant other about it, brood over it, and now it has ruined my whole evening. Instead, I think, “Okay. Today sucked. I’m going to enjoy dinner with my guy and go in ready to kick butt tomorrow!”

We should hold children up as an example of how not to take life so seriously. Kids are experts on getting over being told no and running off and enjoying the next thing in life. Let’s all strive to enjoy life the way kids enjoy bubbles. Here are eight ways those who don’t take themselves seriously understand life better.

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1. Learn that you cannot control life or others, you can only control yourself and your reactions

Stop focusing on things that are fully out of your control. There is no point. You cannot control or change them, so stop wasting your precious time on those things, and focus more on enjoying life. People who don’t take life so seriously understand that if you something is out of their control, they shouldn’t be wasting neurons stressing about it. Instead, they are out there experiencing new things, going on adventures, and having fun.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff

We’ve all heard it a million times. But just like with the things you can’t control, stop focusing on the small things. Think about it this way: does it really matter in the long run if your kid wears mismatched sneakers or doesn’t zip his jacket when he’s only running the 15 feet to the car? It is so easy to let little things become important, to let them become much bigger than they really are. Whether that is because the kid chooses this to go to war over, and now you have to deal with a whole thing about it, or because you’re so used to saying it that you insist on it over and over. Think about it. Instead of arguing with your kid and both of you winding up in a bad mood when you’re just trying to go run errands, pick your battles and remember that those tiny things aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of things, and you and your kid can just enjoy the moment.

Same with adult things. Does it really matter in the long run that your partner forgot to wash the dishes or vacuum, or that your boss wants you to stay 30 minutes late to finish up that project? Try to look at the bigger picture and stop stressing out and worrying about small things. Hey, maybe that project will earn you praise from your supervisor, and an eventual promotion. Maybe your partner just had a really bad day or simply forgot the chores. Is it worth a fight?

3. Smell the roses; watch the sunset

Just like not worrying about negative little things, you should also try to focus on happy smaller things. Did you see a gorgeous sunset on your way home from work? Did your kid light up when you walked in the house? Did your favorite TV show start right as you were sitting down to watch something? Those little things should make you happy. Take a moment and recognize that they are positive things, and it will help lighten your mood. Lightening your mood will make you feel better and less serious. People who don’t take life too seriously take time to be silly, enjoy the small things, and appreciate them.

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4. Spend quality time with the people you love

It’s so easy to get caught up in work, errands, and the little things in everyday life that we sometimes take the people in our lives for granted. They’re there, they will continue to be there, and you’re busy! But no one ever laid on their deathbed and wished they had worked longer hours. They wish they had appreciated their loved ones and spent more time enjoying life and love, and less time assuming that they would still be there when they got home from work.

Spend real quality time. Don’t just make your kids do their homework and read more. Take them places, listen to them, watch them learn. Appreciate your partner and all they do for you and the family, spend time talking to your partner and going on date nights. Sometimes we get so focused on our careers or our specific individual life goals that we forget to appreciate the path to getting there and the people we chose to travel that path with.

The people who have learned not to take life so seriously are the ones who put more focus on the important things in life–their relationships with the people the love.

5. See the glass as half full and spread positivity

Learning to not just see the silver lining, but to appreciate it and let it give you hope is ideal. There is an old saying, “This too shall pass.” And so it will. People who don’t take life too seriously have learned not to dwell on negative things, but to seek out positive things and look forward to more. They try to spread that to others, and are optimistic about the future.

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6. Learn not to let the negative things take over your whole day/week/life

There are always going to be negative things: bad days, bad moods, bad bosses, bad food. But you can choose to let go of the anger at something you cannot change, and not let it invade the rest of your life. It’s easy to get mad at something at work and take it home, rant about it, brood about it. Maybe unfairly take it out on your partner. It’s happened to me. I was blunt and said, “I know I’m the only other person here, but it is not fair to take your bad mood out on me. I know I’m not the one you’re upset at, but you’re acting like I am.” And my partner was surprised, and didn’t realize he was treating me that way because his bad mood and bad attitude was all he could focus on. I’ve been there, too. It takes a conscious effort to say to yourself, “I am not going to let this one thing ruin my whole day or my whole week. I have learned what I can from the experience, and I am going to move forward and not let it happen again.”

7. Smile more

It’s true that actually making yourself smile can lead you to feeling happier. Here is how Scientific American explained it. Smile more, laugh more, engage more. Take the time to laugh at a good joke, or smile just because you see something pretty or weird. Appreciate the little things in life! There is a series of small potholes in the sidewalk near my house, and the way they are make them look like a frowning face. Every time I walk over them, I smile. It’s funny and weird and cute.

8. Be confident

As we get older, we learn to be more comfortable and confident with who we are, at least that’s what everyone older says! But why wait? People who don’t take life as seriously tend to care less about what strangers think of them, tend to be more silly, and tend to be more confident. I’m a very confident person. I know what I’m good and bad at, I am proud of myself and my accomplishments, and I dance at parties like no one is watching. Something we learn as we have grown up is that they aren’t watching. Most people are so concerned with themselves and how they look that they are not watching you. And even if they were, who cares? You don’t know them, why would their opinions matter anyway?

Be confident. And if you aren’t confident, fake it ’til you make it. It truly works. Look people in the eyes, keep your head up and shoulders back. Ask questions, be engaged in conversations. Don’t cross your arms when you’re talking to people. Body language has a lot to do with confidence and perception. If you do these things long enough, they will become a habit and a part of you, until the confidence is ingrained.

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You can make a choice to be happier, worry less, spend time with the people you love, and take life less seriously. You only get one life, and it is a terminal disease…enjoy the time and what you have!

Featured photo credit: Syda Productions via shutterstock.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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