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What You Need To Let Go Of In Your 30s

What You Need To Let Go Of In Your 30s

If you were to believe every Friends-like sitcom on television, you’d think that the day you hit 30 you’d automatically want to trade in your wild and crazy life to settle down and start taking life a little more seriously. While this might end up happening by the end of your 30th year on Earth, it’s more due to your biological clock than any conscious decision you’ve made on your own. Fight it as you might, time hurries on, and it takes you with it. I hope you enjoyed the ridiculousness of your 20s, because by the time you reach 31, you should have at least cut down on, or completely let go of, the following.

Let go of binging anything

Drinking. Eating. Netflix-ing. Gambling. Napping. The list goes on. In your 20s, moderation takes a backseat to excess. You only live once, right? (I refuse to refer to the acronym for that saying). By the time you’re 30, though, the novelty of binging on your favorite vice should start to wear off. You should be too busy actually doing something with your life to even have time for any of this stuff. Of course, if you get an hour here or there, you shouldn’t feel guilty indulging in one of life’s pleasures – but you should definitely stop allowing them to consume your life.

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Let go of toxic friendships

You might still have some friends from high school or college who linger in your life, and who you refuse to believe have not actually been your friends for quite some time. These are the ones who convince you to come out drinking all night, or the ones who only come around when they need something, or the ones who make excuses when you’re in need of some help and need someone to talk to. The older you get, the smaller your circle of friends will be. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The people you keep around should be the ones always pushing you to do better in life, and who truly care about you as a person. You don’t have to completely turn your back on the ones who are more pals than friends, but you’re under no obligation to make time for them either.

Let go of crappy jobs

In your early years of adulthood, you may have settled for any job you could get that would pay the bills. However, if you’re not happy with your current state of employment, you absolutely need to do everything in your power to change that before it’s too late. You might have been content enough working long hours for lame pay as long as you could afford a couple beers at the bar on Friday night, but you don’t want to continue that trend into your 30s. Soon enough, your 40s will come creeping around, and you definitely don’t want to be living for the weekends by then. There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll be spending 30-40 hours a week working;  so now’s the time to find a job you actually enjoy doing.

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Let go of excuses

Maybe you didn’t end up where you thought you’d be by now. Maybe things happened in your past that held you back from reaching your full potential. Maybe you wish things had turned out differently for you. I hate to be blunt, but everyone faces obstacles at different times in their life. Some make excuses and pass up opportunities when they come along, and others power through adversity and take advantage of every situation they face. Don’t be a “coulda-been.” Even if you haven’t done much with your life up until this point, you still have a long way to go. Don’t let it slip away.

Let go of caring what others think

Throughout our teenage years, we’re led to believe that people will stop being so judgmental as we get older. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. People are just as cruel as adults as they were as teenagers. While teens make fun of their peers’ clothing and haircuts, adults can actually be more cutting with their insults, pointing out a person’s true flaws and insecurities. While you can’t change the idiots who seem to exist only to put others down, you can control how you let their words affect you. As long as you’re living your life the way you want to live it, you don’t have to answer to anyone else’s comments. Who gives a #%$@ what they think, anyway?

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Let go of trying to control every little thing

When you graduated from high school and college, you were left with an empowering notion that your actions could change the world. While this notion isn’t completely wrong, it certainly is misguided. Unless you’re the next Mark Zuckerberg, you probably won’t end up accomplishing something which truly changes the entire world – no matter how great you believe your ideas are. However, your very existence changes the world ever so slightly, each and every day. By the time you hit 30, you should understand that there are things you have no control over which you’ll never be able to change, but you should also know that you do have the power within you to affect the world in some way. You should dedicate your time and effort each and every day to making this change, no matter how small it is.

Featured photo credit: GREG, MARISSA & SEAN – ALLIE WARD’S BDAY / Jared eberhardt via farm3.staticflickr.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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