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7 Uncomfortable Risks We Need To Take To Live A Better Life

7 Uncomfortable Risks We Need To Take To Live A Better Life

It’s too easy to develop a routine in your life and stick with it, but if your days are monotonous, when will anything change? When will you have any fun? It might seem scary, but it’s important to take risks sometimes. Put yourself out there more, or in a different way, and see what new doors open for you. Here are seven uncomfortable risks we need to take to live a better life.

1. Admit life isn’t all good.

This may seem like a depressing note to start off on, but it’s important to acknowledge. Too often, people think they need to be happy and optimistic all the time. That’s not realistic. Life has ups and downs. Bad things will happen whether you take risks or not, but it’s important to know that one of the risks you need to take is to admit that life can be hard. It might be difficult to go out there without a smile on your face, pretending like everything is fine when you’re actually depressed, but it’s worth it. By acknowledging that life isn’t all good, you’re making yourself more relatable. You’re making it easier for when you’ll need more help later, instead of being the happy-go-lucky one everyone else comes to.

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2. Be optimistic, but logical.

This isn’t the opposite of the first point, but rather a continuation of sorts. Don’t always get your hopes up. Don’t always assume that you’ll be the employee who gets promoted, because if you’re not, then it could crush you. It’s harder to come back from a major disappointment than it is to just keep on truckin’ from a minor setback. Be optimistic in thinking that you’re a great worker, qualified for the promotion, but be logical in admitting that you have many wonderful co-workers as well, and any of them could deserve that same promotion. It’s a risk to not assume that you’ll always get what you want, but it’s better to hold back extreme hope and instead keep focusing on the future.

3. Bend the rules.

This goes for if you’re a leader or a follower! Don’t be a stickler for the rules all the time. For example, let the kids stay up a little later if they’ve done all their homework. Sometimes just a small change in the rules can seem like a major reward. Also, don’t be afraid to bend the rules yourself, to forge a new path. So what if everyone in your office always does exactly what your boss says? Do you think you have a better way, and do you think you’ll have the results to follow up your reasoning? Then go for it! It’s better to bend the rules and try something new than stick with the same old thing and produce mediocre results.

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4. Take advantage of every opportunity.

If you met someone socially who could help you make a major career move, would you feel comfortable selling yourself to them? It might seem weird to do so at a party, but you need to be prepared to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. This doesn’t mean you need to have your business card at the ready every time you go to the grocery store, but just be prepared to talk if the chance arises. Too often people will hesitate and miss the chance, then spend far too long wishing they had reacted differently. Don’t be that person—take a risk!

5. Be authentic.

It might not sound like a risk, but it really is. How hard is it to be yourself in a major meeting at work? Or at a party where other guests might be more well off than you? You might feel like you’re being looked down on in both of those situations, but you’ll be judged more if you’re acting fake. People value honesty above all else, and being yourself is the easiest way you can be truthful. Also, if everyone was the same, we’d never get anywhere! We’d all have the same ideas and nothing would ever change. So embrace your true self and your ideas and show them to the world.

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6. Tell people how you really feel.

OK, this one is scary. It’s so easy to hurt people’s feelings, even if you don’t mean to. It’s also scary to put yourself on the line by speaking up honestly, when you could just sit back and take it. But it’s important to tell people how you really feel—about them, about their ideas, about their attitudes. This applies in both your personal and professional life. Don’t let people walk all over you or take credit for your ideas. Stand up for yourself and speak the truth; you’ll find it’s not only easier than it seems, but the rewards are well worth it.

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    7. Stand up for what’s right.

    It’s easy to sit back and expect someone else to fight the battle for greater good, but what if no one does? What if it’s all up to you? Could you do it? One of the hardest things in life is to be the only one fighting a battle, but if it’s worth it to you, then you should do it. You’ll be praised for doing something so difficult, and you’ll set an example for others who might want to speak up but don’t have the courage.

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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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