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20 Photos From The Past That Will Make You Glad You Live In The Present

20 Photos From The Past That Will Make You Glad You Live In The Present

People complain about a lot of things these days, and, sometimes, they have a valid point. Of course, there’s also the flip side to this, where people take issue with such minor annoyances that entire memes have been created to poke fun at their ridiculousness (i.e. “first world problems”). As always, history shows us why we should be thankful to live in the time that we do…

1. William Tecumseh Sherman Burns Atlanta, 1864.

general-sherman

    Back during the Civil War, folks didn’t know whether or not they’d still have a proper country to live in by the end of the conflict. If you lived in the South, where most of the fighting took place, you were in danger of having your entire city burned to the ground.

    2. Civil War Soldiers Bury Their Comrades Outside Fredricksburg, Virginia, 1864.

    burial

      There was many casualties during the Civil War, indeed, so many that our losses during World War II pale in comparison. Thanks to an archaic form of battlefield strategy (where regiments would line up and fire at each other) used at a time when rifles were becoming more common, many more men lost their lives than was necessary.

      3. Shady Figures Line An Alleyway in New York City, Late 19th Century.

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        No, this isn’t an image from the Great Depression. America’s “Gilded Age,” which occurred in the late 19th century, is relatively forgotten nowadays, but many important parallels can be made between that era and the one we live in now. That being said, our quality of life is much higher in the present.

        4. A Coal Worker Relaxes, New York City, Late 19th Century.

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          The Gilded Age was rife with cases of worker abuse. Coal miners were victimized frequently, leading to many strikes and the formation of unions during this era. If you complain about the minimum wage in the present, just know that it was a heck of a lot worse a little over a century ago.

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          5. Children In A Classroom, New York City, Late 19th Century.

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            In college we complained about the cramp rows, tiny desks, and terrible seats all of the time, but our plight is nothing compared to what these kids (and teachers) had to deal with.

            6. Italian Immigrant’s Home, New York City, Late 19th Century.

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              Being half-Italian, I’ve heard just about every story in regard to how treacherous of a journey it was to immigrate to the United States. And, even when you got through Ellis Island, you often lived like this for your first several years in the country. All things considered, today’s immigrants are a lot better off than our ancestors were.

              7. A Hotel, New York City, Late 19th Century.

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                Even the worst hotels I’ve been in seem like five star establishments compared to this place.

                8. Woman And Daughter Making Lace, New York City, 1910.

                making-lace

                  When things got bad back then, people often turned to making things in their own home and selling them out on the street. I doubt that’s something most people would think of doing these days.

                  9. Wall-Street Executive, 1913.

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                  wall-street-fat-cat

                    Wall Street used to take advantage of normal people back in the day, too. At least nowadays we are slightly more educated and have more ways of defending ourselves against their tomfoolery.

                    10. Kids Hold an American Flag During World War I, 1918.

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                      We’re not used to looking at the “distant” past in color, but if you search hard enough you’ll find that lots of these “autochrome” images exist. Back in 1918, these kids would have had to deal not only with their fathers going off to war, but economic hardship and the Spanish Flu. We have it pretty good compared to them.

                      11. Out For A Swim, United States, ~1915-1918.

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                        Aren’t you glad we no longer have to wear those frocks into the water? Yeah, me too.

                        12. Moonshine Distillery, United States, 1922.

                        Moonshine-Still

                          Prohibition must have been tough. I’m no alcoholic, but I can appreciate a little something now and then. These guys worked under the cover of darkness to provide Americans with the alcohol they so desperately wanted.

                          13. An X-Ray Machine, United States, ~1920

                          Machine-XRay-Old

                            Yeah, that thing looks about as likely to make the patient melt as it does properly image his bone fracture. I’ll take modern medicine, thank you very much. The year on this one was rather unclear, but based on the source of the image this is probably from the 1920s.

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                            14. A Poor Family During the Great Depression, Central Ohio, 1938.

                            poor-family

                              Poverty is still something that needs to be vanquished in the present, though at the very least we should be thankful that the poor no longer live like this family had to.

                              15. The Dust Bowl, Oklahoma, 1936.

                              dust-bowl

                                Along with the Great Depression, Americans in the ’30s had to deal with this little thing called “The Dust Bowl.” Lots of crops were lost due to the lack of rain, and many established farming families had to move west. Drought is still an issue today, though improved irrigation and aqueduct techniques have alleviated this somewhat.

                                16. Women On A Lunch Break, Iowa, 1943

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                                  During World War II, everyone had to work hard to ensure our victory. This included women, who often took on the roles of men who went off to fight in Europe or the Pacific. Back in 1943, victory was nowhere near a surefire thing, and the stress caused by knowing that must have been very great indeed.

                                  17. Duck And Cover, United States, ~1950s.

                                  Bomb Drill

                                    What are these kids doing, you ask? Why, they’re hiding under they’re desks to protect themselves from a nuclear bomb blast. Ludicrous, you say? Well sure, but the government made all schools perform these drills anyways. This is one of the many reasons to be glad that the Cold War is over.

                                    18. Pro-Vietnam War Demonstration, New York City, 1970.

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                                    Construction workersclash with police during apro-Vietnam Wardem

                                      Yes, there were pro-Vietnam War demonstrations, although they weren’t as popular as those of the “anti” variety. Even today, when many are divided in regard to waging war in the Middle East, we at least maintain enough composure to not create chaos on the streets every chance we get.

                                      19. Subway Graffiti, New York City, 1984.

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                                        I’ve ridden the subway a few times, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Thanks anti-graffiti government regulations!

                                        20. Civilians Topple Soviet Statue In Moscow, 1991

                                        RUSSIA COUP ANNIVERSARY

                                          It can be hard to believe that just 23 years ago, we were still trying to rid ourselves of the last vestiges of Soviet Communism. Of course, we have plenty of problems today, but at least that’s one big thing we no longer have to worry about!

                                          There you have it folks, we’ve reached the ’90s. I’d keep going, but then I’d have to blame everything represented in the photos on us and not a previous generation, so I think I’ll pass.

                                          Featured photo credit: World War II nurses/OnCall Team via flickr.com

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                                          1 Why an Attitude of Gratitude Is Essential (And How to Develop It) 2 Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It 3 What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It) 4 How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life 5 What Will Happen When You Surround Yourself With Positive People?

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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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