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12 Lies We All Tell Ourselves But Shouldn’t

12 Lies We All Tell Ourselves But Shouldn’t

Although it may carry a heavy social stigma, lying is something that all of us do from one time to another. While the scale and scope of these lies may vary, however, our brains follow the same uniform process whenever we deliberately mislead someone. This is the science that enables lie detectors to work effectively, as they are able to measure thought processes, anxiety and activity in the brains’ frontal lobe. While this technology is primarily used to identify lies that are told by one person to another, however, this should not disguise the fact that deceit can take many conscious and subconscious forms.

Perhaps the most common lies are those that we repeat to ourselves every single day, especially those that relate our futures and the path of self-improvement. While these lies may provide temporary comfort, they can actually prevent us from realising our full potential and achieving life-long goals. Consider the following lies that we tell ourselves on a regular basis and how to overcome them:

1. I cannot escape my past

It is a sad but inescapable fact that some of us lead more difficult lives than others, and these individuals tend to carry the burden of significant emotional baggage. This encourages many to repeat the mantra that they cannot escape their past, but the fact remains that this represents little more than a fear of evolving and incurring the risk of further heartache, failure and disappointment. Not only is it possible to escape from the past, but it can even be used to learn valuable life lessons and make more sensible decisions in the future.

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2. I can do it tomorrow

Life is considered by many to be a journey of self-improvement, and the most successful individuals are often driven by a desire to develop and embrace brand new experiences. This kind of enlightenment cannot be achieved without a proactive attitude, however, and a willingness to undertake emotionally and physically difficult tasks. By deferring difficult challenges and keeping them for another day, you are resisting the opportunity to advance and improve as an individual.

3. I would be happy if only I could…

While perfectionism may sound like a positive trait, it has a particularly strong correlation with the dreaded fear of failure. More specifically, perfectionists tend to find fault in opportunities or potential life partners as a way of avoiding failure or the potential for rejection. This same principle applies to self-examination, and the assertion that we would be entirely content and satisfied if only one aspect of our lives could be changed or improved for the better. This is extremely counter-productive, and will ultimately prevent you from achieving long-term happiness.

4. I cannot cope in a crisis

The way in which we think is at least partially the result of our upbringing, which may either create a sense of optimism, pessimism or something rooted in-between. Those with a negative outlook are likely to take a dim view of crisis, primarily because their predominantly negative thought processes lead them to believe that they are ill-equipped to cope with a stressful situation. This overlooks the fact that crisis can often be viewed as an opportunity in disguise, while it is also important to note that no difficult set of circumstances can be overcome without a positive and robust mentality.

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5. I prefer to give than receive

The nation of England is renowned for its chivalry and politeness, and this has a certain impact on the values that we hold as individuals. Take the notion that it is better to give gifts than receive them, for example, which is engrained in our culture and often drummed into us by our parents from a very early age. There is no shame in enjoying the receipt of gifts or even preferring this to the act of giving, however, so long as it does not consume you and erode all sense of selflessness. Your fundamental nature should never be denied, as this will lead to serious repression and a lack of contentedness over time.

6. I am too busy to…

There are occasions when we become so preoccupied with the way in which we perceive our lives that we lose all touch with reality. This causes us to generalise and ultimately make statements that are fundamentally untrue, such as the assertion that we would love to catch up with friends and family but we are far too busy. This is rarely the case, as if you actually sat down and evaluated how you spent your time you would be able to make room for something that was genuinely important and necessary.

7. I cannot live without…

As anyone who has ever argued can testify, words are often used either to solicit a reaction or deliberately hurt someone we care about. While this is a fundamental aspect of human nature, however, it can become an issue when we repeat these words to ourselves or through the course of private meditation. So although it may be natural to tell a romantic partner who is leaving against your will that you cannot live without them, it is crucial that you do not begin to believe this or repeat it on a regular basis. Not only is it fundamentally untrue, but it will also prevent you from moving forward in a positive and wholesome manner.

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8. I can change this person and their priorities

On the subject relationships, it is also commonplace for love-struck and downtrodden individuals to believe that they can change an errant partner through the power of persuasion alone. While this may or may not be possible within a predetermined period of time, the individual in question must have an innate desire to change if you are to ultimately be successful. So rather than repeating this lie as part of a vicious cycle, it is far better to share your feelings with your loved one and force them to make the changes necessary for a long and happy union.

9. I hate my life

Let’s face facts, every single one of us has had difficult days or periods that have forced us to question the meaning of life and its inherent value. While we may lash out and declare that we hate our lives in a moment of anger, however, it would be more prudent to state that we are unhappy with a particular aspect of our lives. By avoiding overtly emotive outbursts, relaxing and taking the time to evaluate our circumstances, we can usually highlight the main issues and resolve them effectively.

10. I am so jealous of…

If there is one human emotion that could be described as the most destructive, it is most probably jealously. A great destroyer of relationships, careers and even lives, it often arises from a relatively trivial issue that is viewed without a keen sense of perspective and understanding. This means that a sense of jealously is often misplaced and more indicative of an insecurity that exists within ourselves, and the object of this emotion little more than a reminder of our perceived inadequacies. So instead of fixating on an individual who probably has little to do with your life, look deeper to isolate the cause of your insecurities.

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11. I am too old to…

While it is a little glib to declare that age is just a number, it is certainly no barrier to living a happy and fulfilled life. Once again, the declaration that you are too old to pursue a particular goal or past-time represents nothing more than a deep-rooted fear of failure or ridicule. The fact remains that if your body and mind can stand up to the particular challenge that you wish to undertake, age and a selection of arbitrary social customs should remain entirely insignificant.

12. I am unable to give up…

As we progress through the religious festival of Lent, many of you may have chosen to give up something as a way of celebration. This is a noble intention, although you may be undermined in your efforts by nagging doubts surrounding your willpower and sense of conviction. Telling yourself that you cannot give up a particular vice does not make this fact, however, as this is often just an emotive response to a challenging situation. Once you begin to think positively and isolate the task in hand, you will find it relatively easy to achieve your goals.

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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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