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10 Reasons Why Growing Up Isn’t As Bad As You Think

10 Reasons Why Growing Up Isn’t As Bad As You Think

For years I thought I was all grown up, I thought I knew it all and that my life was pretty much perfect. I had a great job, lots of money, lots of friends, and I lived the high life in London. I was pretty much at the peak of my career and I thought I was happy.

Looking back on those days, I see my life totally differently. Now I see it as totally and utterly miserable. I wasn’t free. I felt literally chained to my work and my social life, and I mixed with people who didn’t know the real me.

As you grow older and grow up for real, you begin to realize that the carefree lifestyle you think you are living isn’t what life is all about. In some respects it is – keeping that child-like quality to your life is so important – but what is even more worthwhile and totally liberating is growing up and grasping that growing older doesn’t mean something depressing or sad. In fact, it’s the opposite: it’s what life is really about!

Here are a few reasons why I think just that:

1. Your mind grows too, not just your body

It’s true, you’ll get grey hair, wrinkles and maybe put on a bit of extra weight around the waist, but what you’ll gain there is nothing compared to what you will gain within your mind.

When you are young your mind is new, like a blank canvas, but as you grow you get to stretch it and use it in ways you never thought possible. Growing up gives you the chance to expand your thinking, to delve into the weird and the wonderful, and it will encourage you to create your own beliefs, opinions and values.

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2. You start to see people for who they really are

We’ve all got friends, right? Some are the ones you have a laugh with, some are those you have deep conversations with, and the others are just mere acquaintances.

Yet, you’ll know the ones who are immature, the ones who refuse to grow up. They’ll be the ones who still muck about in restaurants, who think it’s funny to make fun of people in public and who still hang out late at night drinking and playing pranks.

It’s OK to have fun, I’m not saying that, but don’t you want to be the person who you were meant to be? By living a purposeful life, doing what you love and being surrounded by people who ‘get’ you?

The choice is yours, just know that you can either stay acting like a 16-year-old or you can enjoy life to its fullest and grow up.

3. You realize that it’s healthy to be on your own

I couldn’t wait until I moved out of my family home; I was 19 and found a room in a shared house. I just couldn’t wait to get out there and fend for myself. The thought was not only thrilling but I knew that it would mean that growing up would be that much quicker.

Yes, I’ll admit it was scary, but you know what? There is nothing better than knowing you can look after yourself and start to ‘bring home the bacon,’ as it were. It’s a great feeling knowing that you will no longer rely on your mother to have dinner ready for you when you get home from work, or that you have make sure you’ve got the rent for next month.

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It might be a struggle at times, but what appears to be a struggle is just a lesson in something, and if you can look at it that way you’ll go a long way towards growing up and loving every minute of it!

4. You don’t care what other people think

This is a big step up towards growing up. Remember at school you’d always want to look cool or hang out with the popular crowd? When you start to grow up, you’ll learn that other people’s opinions of you and what they think don’t really figure in your life anymore.

You’ll be so much happier going your own path in life, and once you start that journey you’ll not want to look back!

There is nothing more liberating than not caring what others think of you, because you’ll focus on your own wants and needs and live to please yourself. Just remember that’s not an excuse to be selfish or conceited – not at all! It’s more the fact that if you are happy within yourself and your own decisions, you’ll be a much nicer person to be around!

5. You’ll become much more open minded

Remember how you’ve always wanted to write a book or travel to some far-flung, mosquito-infested jungle somewhere? As you grow you’ll think of ways of creating those dreams and begin to give yourself permission to just go for it.

What you’ll realize is that the word ‘impossible’ is no longer in your vocabulary. You’ll start to see doors opening where they were once closed, providing you with new and thrilling adventures along the way. Growing older will give you the courage to open your mind much further than before and fill your life with miracles.

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6. You realize change is a good thing

Remember where you were in your life 10 years ago, who you were with, what you were doing and the clothes you wore. Yeah, they are probably pretty embarrassing memories, but what this shows you is that life changes and there’s not much you can do about it.

Now imagine what you will be doing in another 10 years from now, it’s exciting isn’t it? Change is something that should be embraced, not be feared, and it’s a great way to re-invent your life and make it more memorable as you get older. Plus it’s a wonderful way to learn from your mistakes, and improve yourself and your relationships.

7. You finally understand what really makes you happy

With growing up comes a better understanding of yourself and your needs. It’s here, knowing who you really are, that you can find out what truly makes you happy. It’s purely personal and could be anything from painting landscapes, to reading a good, juicy novel, or listening to great music.

It’ll also sort out the unhappy stuff too, which will guide you through the rest of your life so you keep doing stuff that makes you happy instead of unhappy. Making the decisions for your own life is all part of growing up and with this comes a knowing that life is pretty limitless.

8. You become grateful for what you already have

I see kids today always wanting something else, something new to distract themselves with and wanting what the other kids have. They never seem to be happy with what they already have, leaving many parents wringing their hands in frustration and debt!

As you grow up, learning to be grateful for what you already have is a wonderful approach to life. It makes your life so much easier, no longer focusing on what you don’t have and being happy with what you do have. Once you grasp this, which you will do as you grow, you’ll get more stuff to be grateful about!

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9. You realize taking care of your body is important

What you put into your body is important. Having never been a fast food person I personally don’t get the reason why we as a culture love it so much, but I do understand that it’s fast and it fills the hole!

It’s OK for when you are young because your metabolism is that much faster. You’ll probably do more exercise and, let’s face it, taking care of yourself isn’t that high on your agenda. However, as you get older you’ll understand that your body is a finely tuned instrument, working on your behalf to keep you going, to keep you alive and well.

What you put into your body is so important, not only for your own health but also because you’ll want to stick around long enough to have children, to meet your grandchildren or even long enough to outlive your dog! So taking the time out to eat well and exercise regularly seems a fair exchange don’t you think?

10. It’s just going to happen!

No matter how hard you try, how young you think you dress, or what color your dye your hair, you are going to get old and that’s a fact!

Choose today to stop trying to prevent it from happening and just let it be.

Grow up. Let life take you on its glorious ride and learn to love every minute of it. You’ll thank yourself for it in the end trust me!

Featured photo credit: benleto via flickr.com

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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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