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13 Simple Relationship Truths You Need To Know

13 Simple Relationship Truths You Need To Know

We all seek relationship advice at one point or another. Whether we are entering a new relationship or trying to salvage an old one, it’s a safe bet that we basically have no idea what we’re doing. Love is not something that is planned, so most of the time, we just have to go along with it and figure things out for ourselves. Every relationship is different, and every problem calls for a different solution. That being said, there are a bunch of relationship truths that are universal.

1. Relationships aren’t simple.

They take work, time, and effort. They involve a heavy amount of compromise. You need to be like a doctor and have patience.

That was a joke. You also need to have a sense of humor.

2. There is no use “fixing” what isn’t broken.

Just because something isn’t simple doesn’t mean it’s not good. In order to succeed in life and in the business world, you must work hard and persevere. You aren’t going to quit your job just because you actually need to try. Similarly, you shouldn’t quit on a relationship just because it’s not all flowers and rainbows.

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Also, there is nothing wrong with being content. Allow yourself to be happy and don’t be afraid of being comfortable. If there isn’t a problem with the relationship, then don’t go looking for problems.

3. You have to love yourself before you can love another person.

How can you expect to genuinely love another person’s qualities if you have trouble accepting your own? Once you are confident in yourself, others will notice you more. When you accept yourself for who you are, you will be able to fully appreciate and understand the best qualities of other people.

4. You can’t love somebody if you like nobody.

Keep an open mind when meeting new people. Don’t shut everybody out right away. The world has so much to offer, and you’ll never experience any of it if you refuse to venture outside of your comfort zone. Feeling uncomfortable is good sometimes. Like love, people will surprise you.

5. There needs to be a balance of intimacy and space.

Show interest in your significant other’s hobbies and work, but don’t intrude. Also, invite him/her into your own world. Spend time together, but don’t make it seem like you always need to be together in order to be happy. Share information about yourself that you wouldn’t normally share: your stories, your aspirations, your fears. Make yourself vulnerable. Encourage your partner to do the same. Listen.

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Support your significant other and give honest feedback. Let your partner know that you might not be there during the climb but that you’ll be right behind, ready to catch him/her if he/she falls.

6. Communication is paramount.

Be on the same page as your partner, or at least be on the same chapter. I was in a relationship in which my girlfriend and I were in completely different books. As corny as it sounds, honesty actually is the best policy. Be honest with yourself and be honest with your partner.

7. Arguing is healthy.

You and your partner are not going to agree about everything, and that’s perfectly normal. The essence of healthy arguing is that you both know how to discuss these topics and understand each other’s opinions. Be mature and admit when you’re wrong, and accept the fact that not everybody shares your opinions.

8. People change.

This is something you cannot control. It is important to accept these types of things and worry instead about what you can control, which is the progress you make.

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9. Relationships are not projects.

People might change, but you shouldn’t go into a relationship wanting to change somebody. It never works out the way you plan, and it means that you don’t truly love your partner for who he/she is.

10. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

If he cheated on his ex-girlfriend with you, what makes you think he won’t cheat on you with somebody else? Sure, people change, but morals don’t just appear out of thin air. When you embark on a relationship with somebody, you should have an idea of what you are getting yourself into.

11. You shouldn’t “stay friends.”

This is a mistake many couples make when a relationship ends. Everybody knows what it means: one person doesn’t want to cut the other out of his/her life completely, and the other person is thinking: “Awesome. We’ll be friendly for a while and then be back together within a month.” This is usually a bad idea for everyone, and it often leads to hatred. A way to avoid this is communication.

12. Hate leaves bruises, but love leaves scars.

Feelings of hatred and scorn are usually temporary. However, the damage that love can do to a person is often much more permanent. Lost love becomes a part of us; a mark we wear every day that reminds us of our past and all of the lessons we have learned. On the flip side, that “damage” can be a positive type of permanent. My parents have been in a loving marriage for over thirty years, and they certainly have the scars to prove it.

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13. Relationships are like shoes.

Some look stylish on the outside, but only the person wearing them knows the pain they bear inside. Walking in a new pair is like being with a new person—unfamiliar at first, but as you break them in, you develop a sense of security. You reach that comfort zone in which you rarely need to untie the laces.

Some shoes, you outgrow. Some get worn out. Some cause you pain or leave you exposed. Some shoes you wear anywhere. Some shoes get dirty, and when you wear them, you can’t forget where they’ve been. Some shoes you hesitate to throw away. Some people wear shoes until they’re soulless.

Learn from these relationship truths

Of course, we all wish there was just one simple truth about relationships. Well, there isn’t one. Every relationship we participate in will teach us something new about ourselves, as well as other people. It is this experience that will ultimately lead us in the right direction—hopefully to someone who understands, accepts, and supports us.

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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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