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Last Updated on June 4, 2019

10 Things Unhappy People Do That You Shouldn’t Be Doing

10 Things Unhappy People Do That You Shouldn’t Be Doing

Living an unhappy lifestyle only leads to a wasted lifetime. Life is short, so why waste a minute feeling upset about things that you can’t control?

While we should all embrace our negative emotions instead of neglecting them, don’t let your sadness linger.

If you want to live a happier life, take notes of what unhappy people do so you know what to avoid.

1. They seek approval from others.

Unhappy people look for happiness in the wrong places. They spend their time focusing on what others think of them, when they should focus on themselves. An unhappy person concentrates on trying to please others, in an effort to gain approval.

This is something we should refrain from doing. You cannot always gain approval from others, nor can you tailor your beliefs to suit others. You will only find dissatisfaction in this. To be happy you must put yourself and your beliefs first. Do what makes you happy and not what others will approve others.

2. They need to be in control of everything.

Unhappy people need to feel like they are in control. They want to ensure they know every detail, to enable them to have full control. They believe that by having full control, they have the ability to stop any negative side effects.

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But you cannot control everything. Life is uncertain and unpredictable, meaning you cannot prepare against everything. When you go into full control mode, you find that you waste too much energy. Yet in the end, things can change and your efforts are wasted. So don’t spend all your time focusing on every detail. Accept that you cannot control everything. Try your best and let whatever happens, happen.

3. They don’t take risks.

Unhappy people have a habit of not taking risks. When they handed opportunities they often decline the invite, or find excuses not to. For example, a friend may ask them if they want to go go-karting at the weekend. An unhappy person’s first response would be whether they can afford it, or how scary go-karting seems like (how risky it is). Their own fear stops them from taking that opportunity, thus not taking a risk. The problem with this is the more you decline, the more fearful a situation becomes.

You need to let go and take risks to be happy. Saying no to life’s opportunities only stops you from living your life fully. So don’t let excuses hold you back, if you can do it, then go ahead!

4. They focus on what they don’t have.

Unhappy people see the negatives in life, their main focus being what they don’t have. They tell themselves, “if only I had this job, I’d be happier” or “if only I had more time, I could focus on my real talents”. Unhappy people believe that they need something they don’t have to be happier. Their focus remains on these things they don’t have, making their everyday life boring and unsatisfying.

Maybe it would be better if you had a different job or you had more time on your hands. But that shouldn’t stop you from living in the now. If you did get that dream job, there will always be something more you want (more money, more time and so forth).

You need to remember to focus on what you do have, or what is good in your current situation. Do you have great friends and family around you? Do you have a roof over your head and money so you can pay bills? Use that time and energy spent on dreaming about a different life and enjoy what you have.

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5. They don’t follow their heart.

Unhappy people have a way of focusing on the details. Because of this they tend to think about things logically, using their brain and not their heart. They ignore their gut instinct and choose to think things through, weighing out the pros and cons.

Yet what do the movies tell you? Do they tell you to list the pros and cons? No, they tell you to follow your heart to be happy. The pros and cons may tell you not to go to your friend’s birthday party, but what if your heart told you otherwise?

Your heart is the key to your happiness. You should trust it to guide you to what you want in life. So next time you need to make a decision, listen to your gut instinct.

6. They see only the negatives.

If you haven’t already gathered, unhappy people see only the negatives in life. Their whole outlook on life is that the world is a miserable place. They don’t see the positives in life, like the goods things in their life. They see only the negatives in life, like what they don’t have and what is going wrong in their life. This makes unhappy people pessimistic.

When faced with challenges in life, you shouldn’t focus on the negatives. I know easier said than done, but you really should try looking at the focuses in a situation.

Have you gained anything out of this situation? Perhaps that lost job opportunity means you have a shot at a better job. Sometimes it may seem like there are only negative results, however you can still find the positives. Just think, what have you gained from this experience? Has this taught you more about yourself and what you like? Has it provided you with the skills to be more prepared next time? Remember, you can always find a positive in a situation.

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7. They hold on to grudges.

Unhappy people don’t let go of grudges and instead hold onto the painful memory. They ask themselves questions like “What if…” and “Why did this happen?” They find it hard to connect with people who have wronged them and find it difficult to forgive them. Instead they choose to dwell on what others have done and the hurt they have felt.

You should never be unhappy because of something someone has done to you. Yes, it might be unfair and totally unjustified. You might wish you had said or acted differently, or that the wronged person would apologise. But it is wrong to think this way. It is wrong to let something in the past take over your life today.

Don’t let someone else’s actions or words control how you feel today. You are the one that will suffer by holding onto this painful memory. Learn to forget and forgive, because you deserve to be happy today.

8. They don’t take responsibility.

Unhappy people blame others when something goes wrong. Instead of taking responsibility, they will point their finger at someone. They might say something like, “If it wasn’t for Josie, I wouldn’t have stayed out late and made it to my morning lecture”.

What you should be doing is taking responsibility. By pointing the finger at someone else, you are unable to admit you did wrong. Soon, the blaming spirals out of control and you are blaming everything on someone else. Accept when you are wrong and learn from your mistakes. You cannot learn if you don’t see you are at fault.

9. They hang around the wrong crowd.

Unhappy people draw in others of their kind. It is said that you attract the energy you give, thus negative people attract more negative people. And being around negative people will lower your mood, giving you a more sombre outlook on life.

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If you want to be happy, don’t let yourself be surrounded by negative people. Negative people will drain your energy and influence you into a negative attitude. Only allow positive people to be around you, people who will spur you on, not focus on your flaws.

10. They don’t enjoy the present.

Unhappy people focus on the negatives in life. They look at what they don’t have and the negative experiences they have had. Because they are lost in their bitter memories, they are unable to focus on the present moment. With their thoughts preoccupying them, they are unable to have fun and let go.

True happiness is living in the present moment, to be able to have fun and enjoy life today. What happened in the past, or what may happen in the future, does not matter. You should enjoy this moment now. Get involved in conversation around you or simply watch those around you.

Enjoy this very moment you are in.

More About Living a Happy Life

Featured photo credit: Trym Nilsen via unsplash.com

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Jessica Charlotte

Jessica loves sharing her tips on life. She writes about happiness and motivation 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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