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12 Things That Happen When You Say Yes More

12 Things That Happen When You Say Yes More

Have you ever found yourself sitting quietly in a group of friends and realized that you’re the one who has nothing to say? Or you have the Sunday Fear because, just like every Sunday, you have to go to work tomorrow? Deep inside you know that you’ve got something offer, you believe it, even — but you have no idea how to start discovering that secret version of you, the potential you have, the key to the doors you’ve so far been unable to unlock.

As a human, you’re the only creature on the planet capable of actively developing yourself. Every time you do something new you grow and however rich life has been so far there is so much more to come as long as you give yourself a chance.

Saying yes opens a door for something new to happen and if saying yes becomes a habit far fewer opportunities will slide by unnoticed. In fact, saying yes more will leave you with so many options that you’ll also have to say no more, but let’s concentrate on the glass half full. The things you say yes to are the things that happen, the memories you create and the experiences that will make you who you are, and as soon as you begin you’ll find yourself on a journey that will shape the rest of your life.

Here are the 12 things that will happen when you say yes more.

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1. You become more interesting

It might take a little time, but when you have a different experience to talk about every time you catch up with your friends not only do you have new tales to tell, but as time goes on you will become more rounded, articulate and knowledgeable. Not only will your friends wonder what happened to you, but slowly they’ll become infected with your enthusiasm to do new things.

2. You realize the kindness of strangers

Stranger danger is a cold war myth. You’re a stranger to most people and you’re not so bad, so give everyone else the benefit of the doubt. Saying yes will mean you find yourself in brand new surroundings with people you’ve never met before, and more than likely you’ll need some help at some point. Just when you’re feeling down and feeling like maybe this yes thing wasn’t such a good idea, something good will happen and it’s likely to come in the form of a helping hand. Strangers are just friends waiting to happen and if you approach life with gusto, see color in the grayest of moments and start to push your limits you’ll be amazed at who you meet.

3. Your confidence skyrockets

Remember the last thing you said yes to? And the the one before that? Of course you do! You’re still alive — in fact, you feel more alive — and suddenly you’re not just waiting for opportunities, you’re creating them. As saying yes to cool stuff becomes second nature you’ll talk to more people which in turn will lead to new offers and ideas. You’ll feel less scared than ever before, more willing to take risks and as your field of vision opens up your eyes will shine brighter.

4. Failure becomes OK

There will always be moments when you’re scared to fail or that people tell you that you’re not en route to success, but even when your latest adventure doesn’t quite come off you’ll be better prepared to dust yourself off. What other people classify as failure shouldn’t matter to you because this is your life and you can do what you want with it. Saying yes is just as much about putting yourself in a position to accept that not everything goes perfectly, but that this is still OK. Success isn’t owning a big house and a fancy car, it’s waking up each day knowing that you’re going to give this your best shot.

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5. You get better at everything

You’re rubbish every time you do something new, unless you have some freakish talent or aptitude, in which case, now and then you’ll get lucky. But on the whole, you’re not going to be an expert when you try out a new activity or skill. But keep on plugging away and you’ll learn more, you’ll improve steadily and eventually your discipline will reward you. One day you’ll look back and laugh at how bad you were at the beginning, just as someone hands you a medal or you cross the finish line with arms aloft. Remember, not being able to do something does not mean you’ll never be able to do it.

6. You discover new-found creativity

OK, you’re fully into doing mode now. You’ve become pretty good at taking chances but now and then you’ll have to get creative. Whether it’s making a yes list, coming up with a one-off project or even setting yourself a huge adventure to complete, the extra purpose you’ve created for your actions will offer motivation and direction. Suddenly you’re starting to design life as you want it to look, and that means grabbing hold of your dreams and splashing them over paper. ‘I wish I could do that’ becomes ‘Let’s do that!’ and all of a sudden you’ll be doing something so unique your former self couldn’t have imagined it. That’s creativity and you’re an artist of life; keep painting!

7. You feel more healthy

Living life on your own terms comes with its downs but your ability to take charge and take or create new opportunities has done wonders for your mind and your body. You’re more positive, which means you challenge illness or inactivity as soon as it presents itself. You’re in a stronger position to help others which always makes you feel better, and physically you’re more confident — especially because now you know that if you wanted to, you could run a marathon, even though you haven’t started training yet. Crucially, looking after yourself and knowing when to say yes to rest will preserve the energy you need for the next big thing.

8. Asking for things becomes easier

It’s not always simple stepping out of the box but if it’s taught you one thing, it’s that you’re OK with being vulnerable. There’s no shame in feeling lost or in need of help and just as you’d step up to assist someone if they asked for your help, you become more confident that it works in the opposite direction too. Maybe you’re cycling through a foreign country and a storm is coming in — just knock on the door of a local farm and ask if you could sleep in the barn (they’ll probably end up giving you a bed, a meal and a shower too). Perhaps you’re fundraising for a charity, organizing an event or need help moving to a smaller place (because who needed room for all that stuff anyway?!), just reach out and others will help, especially because now you have a good reason to be asking.

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9. You start to enjoy Mondays

You only used to hate Mondays because you hated your job, and if all of this saying yes has taught you anything it’s that you no longer have to accept a mediocre life. Without a doubt that means that you don’t have to spend the majority of the week doing something you have no love for. You’ve worked out an escape plan despite a few people around you saying that ‘you definitely shouldn’t give up everything you’ve worked for’ and, your game strengthened by all the things you learned between points 1 and 9; you’re ready to take things to the next level. There is a way to make a living doing something you enjoy and yes, it’ll take some time and work, but you’re ready for the struggle. It’s not like that job filled you with joy anyway. One day you’ll wake up on a Monday without a looming malice stirring in your belly — that’s the day you know you made it.

10. You have to learn how to say no

Life got epic and busy, but now you’re in a position where you’ve opened up so many doors you simply can’t take them all at the same time. You’re also being approached by others asking your advice — yep, you’ve now gotten to a stage where you’ve done so much that people are coming to you for help — but this takes time, too. You have a hunch that maybe if you carry on saying yes to everything that sure, you might not get any sleep, but that’s OK. But it’s not: sleep is the best medicine you have. S

o you have to learn to say no sometimes, after all, every time you say yes you also say no by default to pretty much everything else. Knowing what’s right and wrong comes down to instinct, and this has been honed (and will continue to be so) by all of the yeses you’ve said so far. You know what’s good for and not so good as well, you just have to decide on the Big Yes for any given moment and protect your investment in that by saying no to the rest.

11. The world starts to make sense

It didn’t use to. Remember when you were a kid and you thought your twenty-five year-old teacher was a fully blown adult, totally sorted in every way? And then you got to twenty-five and realized you were still figuring everything out? Well, that doesn’t ever change. There will always be questions we can’t answer and part of understanding what makes this world revolve is accepting that we don’t have control of everything. But we are capable of influencing our own decisions and the happiness of the people around us, and nothing matters much more than how you make others feel when you go through life. The longer we spend on this wonderful planet the better we get to know our place in it, and the value of that place is multiplied by your willingness to learn and experience as much as you dare.

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12. Things just work out

They do, they really do. You have to trust in this fully to get the most out of life, to turn disappointment into opportunity, to let heartache run its course and doubt evaporate into hope. The process of saying yes to so many things has meant that you’ve broken down barriers, learned more about yourself and started to help others too. Sometimes it feels like you’re totally in control but now and then life throws you the most unfair-seeming curve balls which you can’t escape from. Who knows why we’re here but if we can accept the best of life we should be able to accept the worst of it, and moving on to the next good moment will happen in time, especially when utilizing the most positive habits.

For the last ten years my personal motto has been to say yes more, and it has changed my life unimaginably. Of all the benefits, learning and experiences that came along with each yes, it’s worth noting that in the face of an increasing virtual, dislocated world, nothing worthwhile happens without people. Our ability to communicate, inspire, help and be helped and to share with others will paint the picture of our lives, one we only get to see in full when we look back right at the end, on our last day.

Let’s make this time we have here count, for us and those around us. Make life memorable. Say Yes More.

Featured photo credit: DaveCornthwaite//www.davecornthwaite.com via davecorn.smugmug.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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