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6 Easy Ways To Love Your True Self

6 Easy Ways To Love Your True Self

The phrase ‘your true self’ is something that gets thrown around as part of neo-spiritual terminology for the soul, the spirit, the ether, whatever you want to call it, but it’s actually a little less spiritual than that. Your true self is the very core and fundamental tenant of your personality and your imprint as a human being.

However, actually bringing forth and loving your true self can be pretty darned hard, particularly when we’re being bombarded all the time by products that promise physical perfection and emotional serenity that is shallow deep. If you’re looking for a personal haul over and fancy getting in touch with your true self, here are six easy ways for loving your true self.

1. Forgive yourself.

We all do bad stuff, we all make mistakes – both big and small – and there’s no chance of going through life without making one. We’re human, we’re flawed, and the guilt we take on after making mistakes can stop you from loving your true self. The first step towards loving your true self is to accept the mistakes in your past and draw a line under the sand.

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Simply, you cannot change what has happened in the past, but you can change how you feel about it and how you let it affect your day-to-day life. Think about your biggest regrets and mistakes and feel good in the knowledge that you’ve learned from them and you won’t make those same kind of mistakes in the future.

2. Love yourself.

It’s a bit of a trite sentiment, but it’s one largely rooted in both self-care and common sense: love yourself. In order for you to appreciate and reach the best version of your true self, then you have to love yourself, as you are, right now. In this very moment. It seems hard and a bit of an obstacle sometimes because people are generally so critical on themselves that it seems impossible, but have faith.

Loving yourself is the way of opening up your true self because your true self will never be ‘true’ when it’s under a situation of anger, hate, sadness and self-criticism that swamps you in a big cycle. Go look in the mirror and see the person in there, away from the faults, away from the human errors and failures, and see the human being within. Then go and say those three little words. I dare you.

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3. Be kind to yourself.

Be kind to yourself, reader. There is something universal in the idea that we have to be kind to other people, kind to those of us who share this world we live in, and yet somehow we miss the point that we are supposed to be kind to ourselves. In a world where more and more pressure is put on people to be everything all at once – successful, kind, smart, confident, serene, strong, sensitive, and so forth, it’s absolutely impossible to be all of those things at once and to juggle all of our demands and expectations at once. Your true self can’t be there if you’re busy being incredibly harsh on yourself by strict, impossible standards.

If you wouldn’t say what you think about yourself to a friend, then don’t think it. Embrace your awkward, human faults because they’re yours and they’re what makes you unique. Kindness is something that needs to be practiced both outwards to your fellow beings and inwards to yourself. Your true self needs to flourish and become the best version it can be under compassion and kindness. Let’s all be kinder to ourselves. Deal?

4. Treat yourself.

I cannot relay how much I want people to treat themselves – life is too short, a blink in the eye of the universe, to be miserable and self-denying. That isn’t to say you should live beyond your means, but treating yourself a little and often is one of the best ways to nurture a compassionate relationship between you and your true self.

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Whether it’s a book, a glass of wine or a sweet candy from your favorite store, go ahead and treat yourself now and then because being super-restrictive all the time will produce no real positive results.

5. Express yourself.

Don’t start feeling that your true self isn’t what your heart desires – it absolutely is and you should express yourself in whatever way you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt another person. Self-expression is one of the greatest things that you can do and it speaks absolutely from the heart. Expressing yourself also helps explore who your true self really is and isn’t.

Go paint, read, write, draw, dance, explore – do whatever it is that makes you happy.  Expressing yourself is one of the sure-fire ways to ensure that your true self is being explored and adhered to. Keep the fires of your curiosity blazing and it will help you with actualizing your true self.

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6. Invest in your true self.

Keep working on your true self. It seems a little like a corny, like a tired New Year’s resolution cliche’, but investing in yourself is incredibly important because it shows that you are emotionally and spiritually entrenched in loving and honoring your true self to the best of your ability. Your true self needs investing in so it can grow, evolve and make you the best person you can be.

Think about those dreams you keep close to your heart and work on making them happen. Learn that language you’ve always wanted to learn, take that class, do that brave and scary activity you’ve always wanted to do. Invest in those things and by doing them, you will transform into the kind of well-rounded, healthy human being you’ve always wanted to be.  The kind of human being who is deeply in touch with their true self.

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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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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