Advertising
Advertising

If You Think Love Is Always Uncontrollable, You Don’t Understand Love

If You Think Love Is Always Uncontrollable, You Don’t Understand Love

Today, it seems, we have an incredible amount of expectation of one another. The idea of unconditional love seems to have fallen by the wayside, as more and more of us want love, but are ill-prepared to give or even receive it.

To love someone under any circumstance is a true test of unconditional loving, and although it may seem simple, it is probably one of the toughest attributes to possess. This kind of love requires an unconditional love of yourself first, so you can have the strength of heart and mind to give the same to another human being. This is where we fall down.

Within our society there seems to be so much pressure to be perfect that to love ourselves has become a pretty hard task to achieve, but it is the key to total, unconditional love of all others.

Unconditional love is to love someone no matter what life throws at us.

What is love? According to the book Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love and Fulfilling Relationships,[1] unconditional love is true love. It is caring about another person’s happiness without demanding for any benefits for themselves.

It is not unconditional love when someone likes you only because you can give them what they want. It is also not unconditional love when someone only loves you under certain circumstances, say when you’re happy, healthy or rich.

Advertising

Unconditional love also means accepting another person for who they are, their faults and weaknesses.

There are conditions though, no one should tolerate in a loving relationship.

Unconditional love does not mean “I love you if you hurt me.”[2]

Unconditional love doesn’t mean you should accept truly hurtful and toxic behaviors. When hurt comes in continuously, or when abuse and cheating are involved, commitment should end.

Unconditional love is never easy; but with a little bit of practice, it’s reachable.

If you’ve never received unconditional love, it can become hard to then give it out. Below are seven ways you can practice how to love in this way and truly change your life.

Advertising

1. Love is not how you feel, it is more about how you act.

Try to think of love in this way and you won’t go far wrong. If you treat love as a feeling, when you are getting something from someone else and then you stop getting it then your feelings will change along with your behavior. An example of this is when you try to be someone you aren’t, or perhaps you have to do something in order to receive love: these then make love conditional.

However, if you start to act a certain way and are not requiring someone else to be something they are not, then that love is unconditional. Your love is not based on what someone else does or says, which means you can continue to act the same way regardless of how other people behave.

2. Adapt your love to others.

Love is received and given to others in many different forms and, unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy.

Unconditional love is a conscious decision you make every day and in every new situation that comes along. There are no rules laid out for everyone, you apply it person by person.

3. Give unconditionally to yourself.

If you are a people pleaser, which many of us tend to be, you’ll be more interested in giving love to others rather than to yourself.

Advertising

The love you give to others will not be unconditional, because you’ll be allowing how they make you feel rule how much love you want to return to them. This is not unconditional.

However, if you are constantly pleasing others you are lacking self-love. So give yourself unconditional love first, and the rest will come.

4. Love can sometimes be uncomfortable.

To truly love someone, you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth, and in this instance trying to protect someone from being uncomfortable is not a sign of unconditional love.

Pain and growth are part of life and shielding them from this is not love—if you only set out to make them feel satisfied and happy all the time you will do more harm than good!

Unconditional love requires you to let them experience pain so that they will find their own way and grow at their own pace.

Advertising

5. Learn forgiveness.

This isn’t about allowing someone to wipe their feet all over you; it’s about choosing to react in a better way, a kinder way for yourself.

If someone has hurt you or let you down, choose forgiveness by letting go of the anger and resentment you have towards them. How you act towards a specific person will change depending on what has happened, but if you choose to act lovingly and not hold on to negative feelings, you will love them unconditionally.

6. Show love to those whom you think don’t deserve it.

Normally when someone else is negative towards you or about you, it’s likely that these people lack something in their own life that prevent them from truly loving themselves. If you see this before you react, and put yourself in their shoes, it can help you in the situation because you know deep inside it is more to do with them than with you. It’s here where you decide to give unconditional love and give it more frequently.

Being this way will provide a good pay off for the toxic people around you, but most importantly, for you, too.

7. Practice unconditional love with a simple act every day.

Try to do this at least once a day: give something and not be wanting anything in return. It can be letting someone through a door first, giving way to another car in a traffic jam, or telling someone you love them without expecting to hear it back in return.

Do something every day and I promise—even though you don’t want anything in return—you’ll get a huge amount of pleasure from just giving unconditional love.

Reference

More by this author

Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

15 Habits of Highly Miserable People If You Think Love Is Always Uncontrollable, You Don’t Understand Love 10 Reasons Why Growing Up Isn’t As Bad As You Think Why The Key To Finding True Love Is Self-Love 4 Reasons Why It’s Awesome To Be A Nerd

Trending in Communication

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?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Read Next