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15 Things Serious Couples Understand

15 Things Serious Couples Understand

Before I met my wife, I had never been in a relationship which lasted more than a few months. The thought of being with the same person for a long period of time somewhat frightened me, but as I write this, I can’t remember why. That’s because the past six years have been filled with the most amazing love I could have possibly asked for. I won’t go on and on about what a fairy tale I’m living, but in all honesty, because we follow the points in this article, my marriage is as close to a fairy tale as can be.

1. Living separate lives, together

When you first enter a relationship, all you want to do is be with that person. Nothing else matters; friends, school, and work all take a backseat to your new-found love. Not only that, but either side of the relationship might feel slighted if an offer for a date is rain-checked for a night. As you grow together, you realize that it’s important not to get too attached and let other aspects of life pass you by, and to let the other person have the same freedom that they allow you.

2. Compromise is necessary

Once it’s been established that each person in a relationship accounts for two individual lives, it’s important for each to see the world from the other’s perspective. You can’t just have it your way 100% of the time; sometimes you have to do things you don’t exactly want to do. However, compromising can lead to whole new experiences you never would have had if it weren’t for your significant other. I wouldn’t be caught dead at a craft fair by myself, but going to one with my wife is another opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. The same goes for when I drag my wife to a Yankees game. By compromising, we introduce each other to a new world that we otherwise would never have known.

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3. Understanding is vital

Along with compromise must come understanding. It’s one thing to compromise and be okay with your partner spending the night out with friends, but it’s much more important to understand why they need that time. Understanding a person’s needs is just as important as letting them have their way at times. By doing so, not only are they fulfilled, but you also are comfortable in knowing their intentions.

4. Jealousy ceases to exist

The best relationships work under the knowledge that there is only one person out there for the other. This understanding is truly important in allowing each other to grow separately and individually. It means that one can spend time away without the other constantly wondering what they’re up to. There’s a huge difference between not being able to wait until the other is home so you know they aren’t messing around, and not being able to wait until they’re home because you want to hear all about their night.

5. Grudges must be dropped

In order to move forward in a relationship, you must let go of the past. There’s no point in forcing your partner to carry a burden because they made a mistake months ago; and if it’s something that continues to pull at you, the relationship is doomed anyway. Bringing up past arguments only serves to rehash negative feelings. Serious couples realize each party will make mistakes, and they will grow closer as they let each other’s faults slip away.

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6. Apologies and forgiveness work hand-in-hand

True apologies work in two stages: the act of saying sorry, and the act of changing your behavior. Forgiveness also works in two stages: the act of showing forgiveness, and the act of letting go. Like we discussed, holding a grudge is nothing but detrimental to a relationship. Of course, if a party doesn’t hold up their end of the apology, it needs to be revisited. But the point of apologizing is to improve as a person and as a couple. Even the best relationships require hard work.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Just like letting go of grudges, serious couples don’t let petty annoyances get on their nerves. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, you can’t nitpick at the tiny things. And, like with grudges, if something small really pulls at you, the relationship isn’t meant to be. The mark of a true relationship is the fact that each of you knows everything about each other and looks past their insignificant negative factors to see the overall good person that they are.

8. Communication is key

Keeping feelings bottled up is a surefire way to ensure an explosion. Serious couples survive so long because they talk to each other. They lay their feelings out on the table and make it clear when something bothers them. Just like with apologies, an open line of communication serves to improve the relationship.

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9. Communication must be pure

A common problem in society today is people have trouble discussing the “tough stuff” in person. Text messages, emails, even phone calls can all exacerbate an issue if one party takes something the wrong way. The most loving couples know they can face each other head-on in order to solve their problems, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to do so.

10. Honesty is the best policy

We all have secrets, and everyone has baggage. But the best part about being in a serious relationship is that you can let these secrets out, since you have someone to help carry your load. And as far as being honest with your significant other, there’s no reason not to be. From a logical standpoint, why would you want to spend time with someone you can’t be yourself around? And from an emotional standpoint, loving someone means being able to bare everything to them, good and bad.

11. Cultural norms are meaningless

My wife and I were together for five years before we even lived together, let alone got engaged. While this was partly due to her being in school and other aspects of our lives, we simply never felt pressured to jump into something we weren’t ready for. In those five years, I can’t begin to tell you how many of our friends moved in with a partner, broke up, and had to move back home; or how many got engaged and broke it off; or how many had kids before they were ready. We’ve taken it slow, but it’s because we wanted to know we were ready for the next step. On the other hand, we did push our wedding up a year, because we were ready much sooner than we thought we’d be!

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12. Keeping it fresh

Everyone’s heard the saying “the honeymoon’s over,” which, to me, is a euphemism for “we’re in a rut already.” I don’t mean to be rude, or make it sound like my relationship is perfect, but that’s how that sounds to me. People in serious relationships never quite “get used” to each other; but that’s because each of them is always doing something to surprise the other. Something as simple as cooking a nice dinner, going out to eat on a Tuesday, or getting flowers “just because.” Making sure you never fall into a routine is how you ensure you never hit a snag.

13. Fidelity is never a question

Of course, serious relationships require fidelity. I guess this should go without saying. The running thread through this article is simply, if you have doubts about being with only one person, you’re not taking the relationship seriously. People in serious relationships can look at each other and know they couldn’t ask for anything more from this world besides the loving embrace of their soul mate.

14. Focusing on the future

Couples who plan together, stay together. They don”t just go about their day-to-day life, eventually reaching the points where they “should get married” or “should start a family.” They actively plan these momentous occasions. It’s part of the fun of being in a serious relationship: making commitments to take the next steps in life together.

15. Unconditional love thrives

We’ve touched on it in some of the other entries, but unconditional love transcends all else. True matches made in heaven are full of a love that is never-ending, through the good and the bad. There are no doubts, no hesitations, no hangups. You see past the other’s mistakes, and you love them with every fiber of your being, without question.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.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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