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8 Reasons You Have Nothing To Prove To Anyone

8 Reasons You Have Nothing To Prove To Anyone

Today’s world is difficult enough to navigate while finding true happiness. When you add in another person’s or group’s ideals about how you should live your life or what defines success and happiness, it sometimes seems nearly impossible. The urge to measure oneself by what someone else is doing, like one’s favorite rap star, writer or football player, can be overwhelming. The problem is this is a false ideal that actually leads more often to misery than to happiness. There’s always that artificial, built-in need to prove oneself to one’s boss, spouse, family, and so on.

The good news is that you can break out of this cycle and define happiness and success according to what’s right for you. You may catch some grief for it and it may not always be a comfortable journey, but you can use these eight reasons you have nothing to prove to anyone as a sorting screen to choose how you want to live your life.

1. You should judge your success by your own standards.

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Failure and Success

    In modern society, we’ve come to a highly artificial view of what success looks like. Reality TV has only bolstered these ideals, celebrating public opinion more than who has the most technical skill or proficiency. Instead of judging your life by the mass media rubric, decide what really matters to you and go for it. Even if it doesn’t work out, you will be a success by the only standard that matters—your own.

    2. Your value is not judged by external validation.

    We’d all love to set a world record, make the New York Times bestseller list, be at the top of the Fortune 100, or become the next American (Australian, British, whatever) Idol. However, these kinds of validation are external and often flawed. The best kind of success is the kind you find on your own. If you count kindness, charity, wisdom, and justice higher than money and property in your personal value scheme and live up to those ideals as often and as best you can, then your internal value is the only one that makes a difference.

    3. You cannot expect to please everyone.

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    success2

      Abraham Lincoln once quipped, “You can please all of the people some of the time, and you can please some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time.” We have a cultural horror and fear of letting anyone down, ever. As a result, we take on too many tasks and make too many commitments with the end result that some of these are going to have to go by the wayside. It is acceptable to say no on occasion, especially when you’re making time for the people who really matter the most to you at the end of the day.

      4. You are doing fine as long as you’re giving your personal best.

      We are afraid to fail. We hate the idea of coming in “second best” to an arbitrary standard. B students long for As, while baseball players who bat a .350 for the season wish they’d made a .400. It is natural to want to do better, but if you can look at a completed task or objective and honestly say you gave it everything you had, you’re living up to your own highest ideals. Be proud of that!

      5. You know what’s best for you.

      The people who care about us often batter us with well-meaning but unsolicited or incorrectly gauged advice. “You should take that job at _______, because it pays $10,000 more a year and you’ll be happier.” “You should get a bigger house in __________, because your family’s growing and you’ll be happier.” What these people really mean is, “I want to be happier for you, so you should take my advice and you will be happier for you as well.” This kind of sentiment creates an awkward position. We don’t want to be unkind, but we also want to stand our ground. Being able to say “I’m fine where I’m at” is a gentle way of saying you have nothing to prove to anyone, while still acknowledging the other party’s intentions and hopes for you.

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      6. You know better than anyone else what you are capable of.

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        People tend to judge others by statistics and files, not by individual ability. This can be frustrating when you’re trying to do more than “the norm” and hearing how it’s impossible. You are the only one who can judge your capabilities and potential effectively. After all, you know more about you than anyone else possibly can. Part of having nothing to prove is the willingness to prove it, even when the only person you’re proving it to is yourself.

        7. You have the right to define happiness on your own terms.

        Happiness means something different to everyone. I define happiness in terms of reader reviews and financial security. A plumber may define happiness in terms of how many sinks and toilets she or he unclogged today. Everyone views happiness differently, and it’s up to you to determine what happiness looks like to you. Knowing what makes you happy will in turn make you happier and better able to make others happy.

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        8. Do the things that satisfy you.

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          If you can’t make everyone happy, you should at least be able to be happy yourself. Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is repeating the same action expecting a different outcome.” You should be able to look back at the end of each day, week, month, or year and say, “I did my absolute best with everything I attempted, and I can be content with that.” Of course, you should always seek to improve, but be modestly proud of your achievements and successes. Satisfaction is really just happiness when a task you take pride in is done and done well.

          Of course, none of this means you should not take into account the happiness of your spouse or the people around you. You should never be so self-absorbed in the pursuit of your personal happiness that you cause misery to others. Part of being a happy person is being able to spread the wealth. If you cannot do this, you cannot be a truly happy person.

          So, how do you define happiness? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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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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