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10 Filters For a Conscious Life

10 Filters For a Conscious Life

Information. In-Formation. What you take in shapes your formation.

What kind of person do you want to be at the end of the day? How about in a month from now? How about in five years? Imagine the qualities and characteristics of this amazing person you intend to be. Imagine your form. Now think about all the media you are surrounded by. Will the information you take in form the person of your dreams?

Since what you take in shapes your formation, the only thing stopping you from leveling up are stronger information filters. Think about any sport. The best coaches say to watch how the pros play as practice; the visual information of a professional golfer swinging is what shapes the performance of a novice. Same thing goes for music; listening to virtuoso musicians helps a student to bridge gaps in their abilities. If we watched bad examples for our hobbies, we would never improve. So why aren’t we more conscious about the rest of the information we take in?

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Everything we perceive is information, whether visual, auditory, or otherwise, and what we take in is what we become. Here are ten information filters to help you shape a conscious life:

1. Does it encourage me to be a better human?

This filter limits any music or media that clashes with the person you want to be at the end of the day. If you really want to be a gangbanger, and if your greatest happiness lies in degrading women, then by all means continue to listen to the music that glorifies that life. If not, consider searching out better media. It’s hard to do because most of the popular options for music and TV are worthless, but if you search, you will find.

2. Would silence be better?

This filter is what all great musicians use to refine their compositions. Since your life is your greatest composition, try asking yourself whether a contemplative silence might be better than the noise from your earbuds or speakers. If your inner voice is more appealing than whatever content you are listening to, you’ll automatically look for higher quality information.

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3. Is it truthful?

This filter is tricky because it excludes almost 98% of news channels. But if the information you take in is not truthful, then you won’t grow into your full potential. Just like lies prevent meaningful relationships with other people, untruthful information will compromise your relationship with yourself.

4. Is it useful?

What can I take away from this information? What is the overall message? Will it help me to get better at x, y, or z? Is it good for relaxing when I’m stressed? Will I learn how to be a better husband or wife, or mother or father? If the information is of no use to the person you want to be, then find something better. The process is hard but rewarding, like pruning a garden.

5. Is it uplifting?

Does this encourage me to keep my chin up even when things get tough? Is the message something I can come to when things look hopeless? Does it reveal the goodness and decency of humanity? If not, you can either find something better, or consciously choose not to be uplifted.

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6. Is it inspiring?

Does this spark creative ideas for me to act on and shape a better world with? Am I inclined to more actively pursue my passions and talents through this information? Is this energizing me to create a brighter future through my gifts?

7. Is it challenging?

This universe is so immense, but we tend to get trapped in tiny world views when our perspectives aren’t challenged. So will this information challenge you to think outside of the box, even if that is uncomfortable? If not, the real world might pass you by, and your happiness with it. Life is where the challenges are; filter your information accordingly.

8. Would you want your kids exposed to this?

If sleaziness and raunchiness are part of growing up, please hand me my ba-ba (translate, milk bottle). If the content is suggestive of adultery, or behavior that would limit a family’s growth and success, what is the point in watching it? When you question whether a kid should watch or listen to “x” program, think about the needs of the kid in you. If you believe in lasting love, don’t let your information compromise that.

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9. Does it promote the dignity and respect of men and women?

If the information makes people out as objects for pleasure or lust, what good can it possibly do you? If you don’t consent to being dehumanized or hypersexualized, filter your media accordingly. Bad information corrupts our relationship standards and invites lovers who will use us only for pleasure or comfort.

10. Is it part of the mission for world peace?

This might be the most important filter because it forces you to think of your actions in terms of peace or war. Is your peaceful world built on happy families, committed marriages, and courageous people who do right even when it is the hardest thing? If your information conflicts with that peaceful world, it will also prevent you from adding to it.

Conclusion

Filtering your information can be scary at first because it excludes so many of the things that give comfort to a person. Most of our information is like a security blanket; we cling on to the music, movies and media that make us feel safe. But the question is, does your blanket have smallpox? These filters will help you decide, and it is up to you summon the courage to change.

Featured photo credit: NEC-conference-35 via 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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