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15 Things You Should Stop Being Afraid of Right Now

15 Things You Should Stop Being Afraid of Right Now

Admit it: You’ve spent most of your life coloring inside the lines. You constantly justify your lack of action by blaming your responsibilities. Meanwhile, they’re not really in your way, but thinking they are means you don’t have to do anything about it. You’ve also used the word “should” one too many times, i.e. “I want to do X but I should do Y.” You know, even though Y makes you want to drink bleach.

But now you’re totally disgusted with yourself. You’re fed up. You’re bored. You don’t just want to step outside your comfort zone, you want to put in your 90-day notice and move the eff out – and you want to be a total badass and write your notice in pen.

Congratulations. You’ve just had your Scarlett O’Hara moment. You can finally stop living behind your denial. You can finally stop being afraid. You can finally transform your life.

Here are 15 things you should stop being afraid of. Like, stat. Unless, of course, you enjoy wallowing in regret.

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1. Being Yourself

This is a lot easier said than done, but it’s the most important thing to stop being afraid of. Otherwise, there’s no point in reading the rest of this article. You should be 100 percent who you really are at all times (like Sheldon Cooper, but charming). Think about everyone you admire and why you admire them: It’s not because they’re perfect or because they please others. That’s not why people will admire you either, but first you have to let them see the real you.

2. Standing Up for Yourself (or Others)

In order to have the life you want, you have to stand up for it. Others are going to resist the changes you’re trying to make because that means in turn their dynamic with you will change. You can stop being afraid of this by creating boundaries, stating your case, and not backing down. Tell them to take it or leave it. Trust me: You’ll feel so much lighter when you do!

3. Being Honest

To stop being afraid of being honest, keep in mind that doing so doesn’t have to equal hurting other people’s feelings. They might be shocked at first (especially if you’re not known for being candid), but you’ll quickly earn their respect.

4. Getting Rejected

Rejection is part of the package no matter what you’re going after. Know it’s not personal: They’re just stating the case for their own career/life goals. If you don’t fit the bill for them, it doesn’t mean you’ll never fit the bill. It just means you have to work a little harder.

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5. Being Criticized

If you don’t stop being afraid of criticism, you’re never going to accomplish anything. Ever. There are two different kinds of criticism: Constructive criticism, where someone offers you pointers on how to do better and improve, and pointless criticism from “haters,” where someone picks you apart just because they can. When being criticized always consider the source and discard the information that won’t improve your life. If Miley Cyrus can hack it, so can you.

6. Making Mistakes

Mistakes are mandatory: They’re the only way you’re going to learn, grow and evolve into the person you want to be. I believe it’s called “earning it.”

7. Owning Your Flaws

I’ve always felt that flaws should only apply to inanimate objects. We’re multi-layered and complicated, not flawed. The only way you’re going to stop being afraid and holding yourself back is to accept yourself in your entirety. It’s impossible to suppress certain aspects of yourself and pretend they’re not there. Not only that, but they’re part of your charm. Perfect is boring. Don’t be boring.

8. Going After Something Big

Seriously, what else is there? If anybody tries to poo-poo on what you want for your life, I order you to slap them (especially if they start talking about “responsibilities”).

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9. Sucking

As much as we strive to be amazing at everything we do, we should only strive to be amazing at what we care about most. For example, I gave up on my basketball career the first day of gym class. Do what you love amazingly well, admit that you don’t give a rat’s about the rest and stop feeling guilty about it. Besides, you’re going to become so successful you’re going to be able to outsource the foofy stuff anyway, right? (Hint, hint.)

10. Apologizing

You’re human. You’re going to screw up. Stop being afraid to apologize for your mistakes. It’s going to get really boring hiding under that rock all by yourself.

11. Failing

It’s actually easy to stop being afraid of failure since, you know, there’s no such thing. You haven’t given up, have you? You learned a lot, didn’t you? Then you haven’t failed.

12. Succeeding

A weird thing happens as you become successful: You’re so used to struggling along like a drunk person who can’t remember where they live that the better things go, the worse you feel. You end up constantly looking over your shoulder or waiting for an anvil to fall on your head. While I totally understand, what’s there to be afraid of exactly? You’ve succeeded once. If you had to, you’d succeed again. You know you’ve got the goods, so why worry?

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13. Letting Go

It’s really hard to let go of the habits that hold you back, especially since 99.99 percent of our everyday habits are automated by our subconscious. During stressful situations especially, we tend to revert back to our oldest and not-so-dearest habits since they make us comfortable – even if they’re self-destructive. If you focus on changing one habit at a time until they’re automated, you’ll have healthy habits to fall back on and will finally stop being afraid to let the bad ones go (because there won’t be any).

14. Taking Risks

There’s only one way to stop being afraid of taking risks, and that’s realizing you should be more afraid of not taking them. Seriously, picture the risk you want to take and bask in how the changes to your life will make you feel. Pretty cool, right? Now picture not taking the risk and everything staying right where you hate it…did Psycho Strings just start playing in the background?

15. Moving On

Okay, so you’ve known Whiny McAlwaysNeedsYou your whole life. So what? So many of us are way too loyal to people who don’t even deserve it. If there are people in your life who bleed you dry of energy, emotion, money, or all three, snap out of it. Please. You can’t see me right now, but I’m begging. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from the train wreck that was my 20s: Nobody is worth your health and well-being. Not one person.

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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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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