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3 Insecurities We All Have And How To Deal With Them

3 Insecurities We All Have And How To Deal With Them

As a human, you will have times when you feel insecure. It’s part of life. But there are ways to turn those insecurities into strengths without changing who you are as a person. What you need to decide is whether or not you want to change certain things about yourself. If everyone worked to become the same person, there would be no individuality, no uniqueness and the world would lose its beauty. It is your weaknesses and your strengths that make you who you are.

But what if you do want to change? What if you want to take the person you are to the next level? For many people that step is difficult because we feel insecure.

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Let’s look at a common insecurity many people have: shyness. People who are shy might worry they won’t make friends or they’ll fail in a job interview. There’s nothing wrong with being shy; it’s a part of who you are. But, you can still be shy and learn how to carry on an engaging conversation with someone. That might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s quite possible. What it comes down to is which is more important to you: keeping quiet or trying to make a friend; being afraid to speak up or getting your dream job.

Here are three common insecurities people struggle with and ways to overcome them without changing who you are. You might feel insecure about:

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1. How Others Will Perceive You

This is an insecurity everyone struggles with. We are afraid of being judged because of our appearance, children, attitude, homes, spouses, everything. Worrying every minute of every day about what someone else thinks is no way to live. The best advice I can give is what I have found to help me in my life:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Judgment from others can be harsh and debilitating, but only if you let it. You can choose to be offended or you can choose to accept who you are. This can be hard if you’re spending most of your time comparing yourself to people around you. Especially because we make habits of comparing our weaknesses with other people’s strengths.
  • Focus on your positive features, characteristics, strengths, etc. You have talents and skills; admit that to yourself. It’s alright to have a little pride in yourself (just don’t get carried away!).
  • When you do find a flaw in yourself you want to change, make a plan to work on it. But don’t be discouraged when change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience.
  • Don’t judge others. If you want to worry less about what other people think about you, then do the same for them. Don’t judge people because of their clothes, their job or even the way they talk. Give them a chance; give them the benefit of the doubt.

2. If You Will Ever Find The “Right” One

This topic once sat true with me. I dated a lot in college and from those experiences I thought I figured out what I wanted. All the guys I dated were the same kind of guy, similar look, similar interests, similar education; you get the picture. None of these relationships ever worked out. I started getting discouraged, wondering if it was my fault.

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It wasn’t until I took time to find out who I was and I focused on myself and what I wanted out of life that I decided to move out of my normal dating pool and date someone different. It was then I found my husband.

He was not what I expected at all. And to my surprise he was better than the rest. We’ve been married five years now; we have two kids (hoping for more) and a dog. Our life isn’t the “dream” I imagined but he loves me for who I am and for the wife and mother I’ve become. I couldn’t ask for anything better than that. If you worry about finding “the one,” remember these five pointers:

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  • You need to know who you are. I finally reached a point in my life in which I knew who I was and I wasn’t going to change for a man, no matter how good other people said he was. Spend time on yourself instead of trying to fit into a mold for another person’s life.
  • Give someone a chance you normally wouldn’t. That’s not changing who you are as person, it’s broadening your views. You never know how well you’ll get along with someone until you actually try.
  • Put yourself out there. If you don’t try to date or meet new people, it won’t happen. This can be hard for a lot of people but it’s doable. Go to social events; get to know people at work or at school.
  • Don’t be afraid of getting hurt. Break ups are hard. You were with that person because you had a connection and when you broke up, all of a sudden the connection was severed. It’s hard to go through but each relationship you’re in has lessons to be learned and value in it. Take what you can from each relationship and keep trying to find that special someone.
  • Know that relationships take work. Being in a relationship is hard. It takes compromise, communication and effort on both parts. Don’t hold double standards. Don’t hold grudges. Support one another. Remember “love” is a verb; it requires action. If you don’t work on it, it will fail. It’s like a flame, if you neglect it, it will burn out.

3. If You Will Become Successful

Success in life can be determined by money, fame, family, living arrangements, etc. In order to be successful in life decide what is most important. Do you want money? Do you want a happy family? Do you want a huge house? There’s nothing wrong with wanting these things. But decide what your priorities are.

  • If your priority is to make money, that is where most of your time and effort should go. You’re going to have to work long hours and educate yourself in your desired industry.
  • If your priority is family, you should fulfill your responsibilities to them. This could include working to support them but also spending time with them. Be involved. Have open communication. Make sure your relationships always come first.
  • Can you have more than one priority? Sure. But one will always be at the top of your list. You need to choose which one will take precedence over everything else.
  • Once you know your priority, sit down, set goals and make plans on what you’ll do to stay on course. You should have a daily reminder of what’s important to you.

In my family, our top priority is family and happiness; our careers come second. Let’s say an opportunity for a career were to present itself for my husband or I, but it required 60 or 70 hours a week; we would turn it down, no matter how good the money was. We made that decision when we got married. Family first. Our jobs are sufficient for our lifestyle. If we ever decide we want more, we can revisit the topic and figure out what we’re willing to sacrifice to make changes.

Decide how you will determine what success means to you and then do everything you can to achieve it. When you spend all your time in life worrying about the big things, you miss out on the beautiful little things that happen all around you. Take time to appreciate what you have, what you’re working towards and how much you have accomplished and learned along the way.

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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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