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9 Signs That You’re An Optimist

9 Signs That You’re An Optimist

Martin E. P. Seligman, psychologist, educator and author, in his book Learned Optimism says: “One of the most significant findings in psychology in the last twenty years is that individuals can choose the way they think.” You can choose to think positively and see the good things around you, or you can choose to think negatively and only see the negative things around you. It’s all up to you.

It is advisable, however, that you think more positively. A positive outlook in life makes you happier, healthier and even wealthier in the long run. Of course, stuff happens and unrelenting optimism can sometimes be contrived and irresponsible. But being optimistic is not about unrelenting optimism; it’s about trusting that good will happen while also preparing for the worst.

Here are a few things optimists do differently you can emulate today to look on the brighter side of life.

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1. You count your blessings.

It all starts with counting your blessings. While others moan and groan, optimists take stock of the good things around them. It does not stop there; optimists also take inventory of what’s not so great. They are grateful for obstacles, hardships and even failures because these are anchor points for resilience and wisdom. Optimists know what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

2. You make the most of all opportunities.

Optimists believe in making optimal use of the opportunities life throws at them. They are not blind, in denial or naïve to the risks and dangers involved in taking chances, but rather look at the bigger picture, the resources available and then make every opportunity count for a much brighter future full of possibilities. Optimists are simply positive, visionary realists, not idealists.

3. You believe in yourself.

While others cower and doubt their own abilities, optimists believe they are good enough just the way they are and constantly strive to get better. They trust their own intuition and abilities when carrying out their day-to-day activities. Optimists simply won’t judge or criticize themselves against a set of arbitrary, unrealistic, third party beliefs and ideals, such as those from popular media or peers. They don’t need everyone’s approval; they just do what feels right in their hearts.

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4. You also believe in others.

Optimists not only believe in themselves, but also in other people in their lives. They inspire others to be the best they can be. They know that when you treat a person as he or she is, that person will remain so. But if you treat a person as he or she ought to be, that person will become what he or she ought be. Optimists simply see sparks of good in others — sparks that everyone else won’t see — and work to turn the sparks into a roaring flame.

5. You use positive self-talk to reinforce actions.

Optimists do not allow present circumstances or environment to dictate their attitude and mood. They use positive self-talk to express their hopes and to reinforce good attitudes, outcomes and actions. If things are not going too well, they say things like “I know there’s a problem here, but I can solve it” and keep going. When they succeed at something, they say things like “That’s just as I had anticipated; I worked hard and it paid off.” In a similar situation, a pessimist might say: “Boy, was I lucky to close that deal!”

6. You turn envy and jealousy into catalysts for success.

Everybody gets a little jealous sometimes. While others burn with envy, optimists realize that the universe does not owe them anything because someone else is successful and they are not. However, the universe might owe you something when you work hard to better yourself. Instead of burning with anger and jealousy, optimists use other people’s success as motivation to work hard and bring success.

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7. You don’t make bad experiences a self-fulfilling prophecy of what lies ahead.

Just because you failed or suffered today doesn’t mean you will fail or suffer tomorrow. Good things come to those who persist and overcome challenges. Optimists do not let past misfortunes determine their future success. They know that bad experiences make you stronger and the path to success clearer.

8. You choose not to blame others.

People tend to point fingers at others when things are not going well. They blame their family, politicians and even the economy for their problems. Optimists choose not to blame others because they know others don’t hold complete control over them. There is always something you can do to make things better. Change starts from within, and where there is a will there is always a way.

9. You forgive.

Optimists know better than to underestimate the power of forgiveness. Martin Luther King Jr. fought hate with love. He recognized the past is the past and forgiveness was the path to a better future for everyone. Optimists, therefore, forgive and forge ahead. They know tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to correct what needs correcting and create a brighter reality.

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Are you an optimist?

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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