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10 Mistakes to Stop Making Now to Avoid Lifelong Regrets

10 Mistakes to Stop Making Now to Avoid Lifelong Regrets

When people look back on their lives, what are some of the most common regrets they have? That is a profound question we need to stop and ask more often. Some people look back and say the biggest mistake they made was to not have children. Others look back and say their biggest regret was about lost time. Whatever the case, it’s important to look at how you are living your life and think about how you can avoid future regrets. Many mistakes we make that lead to regret later in life are avoidable. Here are a few of the most common mistakes you need to stop making now to avoid regrets later on in life.

1. Following someone else’s dream.

The pain of unfulfilled dreams is more severe than that of disappointments. Twenty, 30 or 40 years from now you will not think about how disappointing you were to your parents for not following the career path they chose for you as much as you will regret not pursuing your own true life passions. Do yourself a favor and stop living for other people’s dreams. Live your own life. It is your life after all, isn’t it?

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2. Taking your loved ones for granted.

Your kids won’t be kids forever. If you don’t enjoy them when they are young, soon they will be grown-ups and the opportunity will be gone forever. Your parents also won’t live forever. You will be hard pressed to forgive yourself for not telling and showing them how much they meant to you when they are gone. Spend quality time with everyone you love.

3. Pretending to be someone you’re not.

Society expects us to act and do things in certain ways. While it’s easy to succumb to the pressures of society, don’t change so that people will like you. Don’t live your whole life pretending to be someone you aren’t just to fit in. Be yourself. The most admirable and inspiring people in this world are their true selves. When you are yourself, you are comfortable. You attract like-minded people who love you for who you are, and who will help you live the most fulfilling life you can.

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4. Burning all your bridges.

As the old adage says, be kind to the people you meet on your way up, because you might need them on your way down. You might not want to hear this, but life is a journey of ups and down. Today you might be riding the waves of success in your personal and professional life, but who knows what tomorrow holds. Don’t burn those bridges in your past that helped you get to where you are now, including past friendships, networks and relationships. You might need them later in life.

5. Telling lies all the time.

Some people tell lies so easily and readily that is has become second nature to them. What these people don’t realize until it is too late is that lies destroy families and relationships, often permanently. True relationships cannot be held together by lies. Tell lies and you will inevitably regret it later in life. Tell the truth and you will never have to look back with remorse and regret for lies told.

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6. Forgetting to live in the moment.

Life is fleeting. Don’t get caught up in the mad rush of modern living and forget to enjoy those little moments that make life worth it, such as your baby’s first steps or your daughter’s graduation. Quit working too much and learn to appreciate your surroundings and the people in your life. There is nothing worse than reaching your goals and discovering you don’t know how you got there.

7. Giving up true love.

Love is a big area of regret for many people. Too many times people reject real love because they are scared of it, don’t recognize it, or are too busy pursuing other things. Denying yourself the opportunity to love and be loved is denying yourself the one real thing that can make life worth living. Accept pure love from everyone and give it generously to all. If you are lucky to find true romantic love, cherish it and protect it as fervently as you can. We all come to think about our love experiences decades later. Don’t let this be an area of regret in your life.

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8. Denying others happiness.

Do good to all and spread happiness. It adds value to your own life and makes other people truly grateful. When you are old and look back, you will smile and be happy for showing kindness and helping other people be the best they can be. That orphaned child you helped get through school, for example, will come visit you when she is all grown up and it will fill your soul with joy and happiness. In the end, it is not how much money or how many material possessions you have accumulated that count, but how many lives you have touched.

9. Not standing up for yourself and others.

There are many injustices in this world. These injustices continue because not enough of the good guys stand up for what is right. Never stand by and watch passively as an injustice takes place. Stand up for yourself and for others bravely. It is better to die for a good cause, than live for no cause or a bad cause. When you are older, you will take pride that you participated in making the world a better place for all and did not just sit passively as bad things happened around you.

10. Disregarding your health and wellness.

Your health is your life. Never disregard it. Take care of yourself religiously. Eat right and exercise regularly. Don’t be one of those people who only think about their health when there is a problem and they are feeling unwell. You might not get better for you to take better care of your health.

Featured photo credit: Regret/Neil Moralee via flickr.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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