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10 Reasons Introverts Are Important to Society

10 Reasons Introverts Are Important to Society

A culture is formed when people make a series of agreements. We’re born into cultures, and we tend to unconsciously adopt the cultural agreements as our own. This adoption is normal and makes sense from an evolutionary perspective; in order to survive, we have to adapt. But, as we’re all aware, there are cultural agreements that don’t serve some of us and agreements that don’t support positive growth as a whole. Some agreements become outdated and need to evolve to care for our community as a whole.

In order for things to increasingly get better we need people who are willing and able to see the big picture, find the gaps, challenge the status quo, and innovate. Here, introverts come to the rescue.

Introverts teach us that it’s OK to be alone.

In a world where we value social engagement above alone time, the introvert is paving the way to place a higher value on taking care of ourselves. Introverts need alone time to feel sane, to recharge, to restore. They feel depleted when in constant engagement, so they learn to take time out for themselves. We all need to recharge and allow ourselves to skip a social event without feeling like there’s something wrong with us. Teaching our society to value “me time” is important for us to live healthier, sustainable lives.

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Introverts show us that silence can be a good thing.

The popularity of meditation is on the rise. The health benefits are being touted from scientific communities worldwide. Introverts already have the sitting in silence thing locked down. We live in a world where we’re constantly being engaged; it’s information overload. Our minds incessantly buzz, and many of us don’t know how to control our own minds. Most introverts are very comfortable with their own thoughts and some have mastered the craft of controlling the mind. In times of conflict, introverts excel in taking a breath and reflecting before acting from raw emotion.

Introverts are good listeners.

Listening is a skill that is essential for progress. We need to really hear one another to be able to understand each other’s needs. True listening means that we care about another person’s needs, feelings, and desires. It means that we’re interested. Listening is an active art that introverts are highly skilled in.

Introverts see the big picture.

Because introverts are comfortable being on their own and being silent, they’re naturally strong observers. They’re adept at stepping back from engagement to watch what’s going on. This type of observation is essential to see a clear picture of what’s going on in the world and our own lives.

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Introverts are free thinkers.

Our culture imposes beliefs on us which we unconsciously adopt. When we’re caught in a cycle of consumption and action it’s easy to become a robot of the status quo. Because introverts are more inclined to silent reflection and observation, this can lead to new thoughts and ideas that differ from the pack. This type of thinking is imperative to move cultures forward in positive new directions and relieve us from outdated modalities.

Introverts are independent.

In a world where it’s easier to blend in and be popular than it is to be different and gawked at, introverts have an easier time doing their own thing. It may not feel good or easy, but introverts are happier when they are listening to their needs. They don’t need to rely on others opinions to guide them because they’ve learned to listen to themselves, a beautiful model for our youth especially.

Introverts innovate.

In order to recognize an opportunity for something new to be born, we need to be able to see the big picture, focus on the gaps, and use our creativity to create something new. Introverts are capable of seeing things others might not because of their observational skills.

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Introverts aren’t afraid to go deep.

Our society popularizes people who are good at small talk, people who are witty, and people who can chit chat with anyone. The small talk isn’t wasted on them, but introverts tend to be more interested in deep connection. Our culture has tended to place negative connotations around emotion. Men are seen as weak and women as childish when they express sadness or pain. We live in a world where there seems to be a shortage of love and compassion. We think about ourselves and our needs before others. Introverts tend to feel deeply for others and their empathy is imperative to building stronger community and connection.

Introverts know themselves.

Because introverts are comfortable looking inward they tend to understand themselves in a way others might not. Being comfortable being alone is a sign that you enjoy your own company which is a sign that you like yourself, something many of us don’t spend much time contemplating. Spending time alone means you’re more likely to know what it is you want out of life which makes it easier to listen to your dreams and passions for your own life. We need more people in the world who are willing to look at and accept themselves, then give their gifts to the world.

Introverts make art.

When you know yourself, you have a deep connection to your soul. Many introverts tend to be artists because they feel a calling to express this deeper part of themselves. Art is a cultural necessity, an expression of where we are individually and as a whole: it brings understanding, provocation, and love into the world.

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Featured photo credit: Luke Pamer via unsplash.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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