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What A Realistic Wedding Vow Should Say Instead

What A Realistic Wedding Vow Should Say Instead

We like to think that marriage is a beautiful thing, and that getting divorced is the worst ending anyone can have. But the truth is, the divorce rate today is so high that we shouldn’t be shocked if someone we know tells us they’re getting a divorce.

    Credit: Business Insider

    The map above lets us compare the divorce rate around the world. We can see that a lot of the areas are coloured red, indicating a divorce rate of 40% or above, which means a high divorce rate is now a worldwide phenomenon.

    As of 2016, the Maldives has the highest national divorce rate, with 10.97 couples out of 1000 people divorcing each year.[1] Not far behind is the US at 3.6 divorces per 1000 people each year. This makes us wonder: why do we want to get married in the first place? Do the reasons for getting married also explain why so many of us regret later on?

    In fact, there may be some ‘right reasons’ and ‘wrong reasons’ when it comes to marriage…

    Initially, people get married because it somehow locks themselves up from temptations which can be bad for them in the long term.

    Sometimes, we get sudden, strong feelings that compel us to do things that we know we shouldn’t. Sometimes, we lose control and make the wrong decisions. We get scared when that happens, and we wish we had a way to stop ourselves. This is perfectly normal. Psychologists even believe that some of us were born like this:[2]

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    You may have heard of a psychology experiment called the ‘marshmallow test’. What it tells us is that some children have a harder time resisting the temptation of instant happiness, even if they are told waiting will bring more satisfaction at a later time. And, unfortunately, their lack of impulse control seems to continue to affect them when they grow up, making them less successful in life.

    This perhaps explains why affairs and one-night stands—the regrettable mistakes, usually happen on the spur of the moment. It is human to have impulses, but we need something powerful to help us fight the bad impulses at moments of weakness.

    Which is why some people choose to get married: they voluntarily get ‘locked up’ by committing to a marriage, hoping that it would make them feel guilty enough to stay away from their darkest desires when any arise.[3] They want to be reminded of what is important in the long run.

    And instead of getting married out of wants, some people get married out of “need”; which is a little different.

    Now that we know not every couple get married for the right reason (love, perhaps?), it is easier for us to understand why so many people get divorced eventually, and why some of us even regret doing something so beautiful.

    The problem is that people don’t always get married because they want to spend the rest of their lives with the right person. Rather, they get married because they are afraid to stay single, want someone else to make them feel secure, or because they feel pressured by their parents, etc.[4]

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    Yes, all these reasons make sense; but none of them is about what people truly want or how they really feel. They might not want to get married, but they simply think that they have to get married.

    These days, some people even get married because marriage has become a status symbol that represents success in personal life.[5]

    This may sound funny, but it’s actually what we as a society believe.

    In the modern language, ‘married’ somehow translates to ‘successful’. People believe getting married put them in a privileged position, one superior to what’s represented by other forms of relationship such as cohabitation, according to a document written by the US Justice Department.[6]

    Indeed, marriage requires us to have the ability to support ourselves. Getting married can mean that we have a stable income, a place to live, etc., and the society recognizes that.

    It is natural to want to show off to family and friends, but some don’t realize the weight of marriage and are uncertain about what they’re committing themselves to.

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    While people are not getting married because of wanting to make their relationship better, they are also unaware of what getting married really means.

    If we look at some of the wedding vows today, it’s not hard to tell that most of the time only the good about marriage is being said: I will love you and you alone no matter what.

    Instead of bringing up the reality, marriage is being fantasized like a fairy tale. Not really realizing that marriage itself is a promise a couple should keep in the future, many never imagine what could happen after getting married, or who they might become after marrying each other.

    Instead of fantasizing about marriage, a wedding vow should be realistic for everyone to understand what marriage really means.

    This is because our current vows tend to be very optimistic, and when things don’t turn out as expected in the end, people get upset, regret everything and want a divorce.

    The ideal vow should warn us of the cold truths about marriage. For example, it will be difficult to tolerate the quirks or the other, or, we most definitely will have arguments and break each other’s heart. We need to be prepared. We don’t want to regret getting married only after we’ve had a taste of the bitter reality.

    Here are a few suggestions covered in The Book of Life’s Utopian Marriage:

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    I accept that I am – in countless ways I don’t yet know – very hard to live with.

    Everyone has some very significant things wrong with them. We promise not to look around. There isn’t anyone better out there really. Once you get to know them, everyone is impossible.

    Many days we’ll be unhappy; many days, we’ll suffer, many days we’ll regret we ever did this crazy thing. It’s not congratulations we need, it’s commiserations.

    Keep in mind that while it is important to have realistic expectations when deciding to get married, we shouldn’t be discouraged or feel hopeless about marriage.

    We only need to slow down and learn what it really means to be married, and be honest about what we truly want.

    This article is inspired by The School of Life’s What our Wedding Vows should Say, watch the video here .

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    More by this author

    Wen Shan

    Proud Philosophy grad. Based in HK.

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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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