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Why letting go of your “Big Love” is okay.

Why letting go of your “Big Love” is okay.

So you ended things with that one person you loved more than life itself? It’s okay. You thought you two were going to be together forever? It’s okay. You were loving the fact that you were never going to have to live through another awful first date? We promise you, it is okay.

There are people out there who meet their true love at an extremely young age (high school sweethearts. How cute, right?). However, there are also those who have to kiss quite a few frogs before they are willing to settle down with someone til’ death do them part. Below you will find several reasons as to why it is completely okay that you did not end up with your Big Love, may they be your first or your seventh.

You’re probably not the same person you were when you got together

You will not remain the same person you are now throughout the duration of your life. You and your significant other are going to change tremendously. Especially during the age of adolescence and young adulthood. The idea of ending up with your high school sweetheart is extremely romanticized; while that possibility is beautiful for those that can accomplish it, it is most certainly not for everyone.

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High School and College are the times in your life when you are really figuring out who you are and what you want to accomplish for yourself. If it turns out that you two are becoming less compatible or heading in different directions, it is completely okay to say goodbye. You take what you learned from that relationship, utilize the good and discard the bad.

If the relationship is not benefiting you, you need to let it go

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have thought this, and spoken it out loud. Relationships are work, yes, I get that; but relationships are also meant to be your breath of fresh air in the craziness that is life. When you’re having an awful day at work or your best friend is driving you bonkers, your significant other is supposed to be the person that is there to give you a hug a.

They are not meant to add additional stress to your already stressful life. They are supposed to be the ones who make you laugh when you’re pissed off and who will take the weight off your shoulders by helping out around the house when you just can’t handle it that day. When all else fails, your significant other is supposed to be your salvation, not an additional burden.

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Nothing irks me more than when I hear someone say “We’ve been together so long, I have to make it work.” No. You don’t. When you’re married or have kids, that’s a different story. But when you’re young and unencumbered by that legal tie, you are free to do whatever the hell you want. Spend that time being happy, not constantly being dragged down by someone who supposedly loves you.

They are all about themselves

Compromise. Give and take. There are a million ways to say it, but the meaning is the same. If you are in a relationship (or friendship, for that matter) where the person only cares about themselves and their needs, run. Run fast. If they are all about themselves now, imagine how they’ll be when shit hits the fan and you have a mortgage, two cars, three babies, and a golden retriever that all depend on you.

In a successful relationship there will be times when they are the focus, there will be times when you are the focus, and there will be times when the focus is split evenly. There is a delicate ebb and flow to relationships that are supposed to benefit both sides. You are each others rock, but one person can only remain the rock for so long before the weight ultimately ends up crushing you; rendering you useless to them and to yourself.

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Someone different, and probably better, is waiting for you

Seriously. I promise. Don’t ever stay with someone simply because you don’t think anyone else would want you. Or, say it was they who made the decision that you were no longer the right person for them; grieve, and then move on. Even if it feels like they were the best thing that would ever happen to you and you will never find anyone better; you will. End of story.

That seems so impossible, I know, but it’s the truth. Take as long as you need. Sit in your pajamas and watch Sex and the City on repeat and blast some Taylor Swift for as long as you need to before you can realize your worth and emerge from this break up better off then you ever thought possible.

And last but not least;

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You are allowed more than one Big Love

Isn’t that amazing? You are more than welcome to have as many Big Loves as it takes for you to find the perfect one; as I like to call it, your Soulmate. Big Loves are rare, beautiful, and have an incredible impact on who a person eventually becomes. But nowhere in the manual of life does it say that every person only gets one Big Love.

In a society where people are living to be over 100 years old, it would be soul-crushing to believe that you only get one shot. So go out there, live, love, and say goodbye when you need to. Life is simultaneously too long and too short to spend it with anyone who doesn’t bring the best out of you, and love you in as Big of a way as you love them.

Featured photo credit: gratisography via gratisography.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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