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Last Updated on July 15, 2022

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

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What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever entered a room and felt as though your nerves couldn’t take it? Your breathing quickens, you perspire, and you feel as though everyone is looking at you—even if they aren’t. This is but one of the many ways that self-consciousness might manifest itself.

Being self-conscious in a positive manner is good, however, when it leads to anxiety or other psychosomatic experience, it must be dealt with immediately. And if you feel that you are the only one in the world who has suffered from it, then I would like to point out that there are many who have gone through it.

You might not even be aware of your self-consciousness and be wondering what self-consciousness entails. That would be a wonderful place to begin.

This article will define self-consciousness, demonstrate how almost everyone has experienced it, and offer advice on how to prevent it. You will also learn effective ways to live a good life by living life consciously.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

Merriam-Webster defines self-conscious as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself” or  “feeling uncomfortably nervous or embarrassed when in the presence of or when being observed by other people”[1]

There are numerous ways that self-consciousness might manifest. Around familiar faces, such as members of your family or close friends, you could experience social anxiety.

Despite spending hours each week in the company of your coworkers, you could experience self-consciousness at work. Or you might feel awkward around strangers while you’re out in public. But when you’re at home by yourself, you probably don’t feel self-conscious.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

It’s practically impossible to remember how to quit feeling self-conscious when you’re in the thick of it. It is crucial to plan ahead of time so that you can approach the issue head-on rather than give in to it.

Here are few techniques to help you feel better about yourself and stop worrying about what other people think of you.

1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

Getting rid of unfavorable, self-conscious ideas is one method to do it.

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Think to yourself, “so what?” Whether it’s the next time you enter a room and see that your face is turning red or you go to a movie alone, think about why someone else’s opinion would matter. Does it really matter if others don’t like the way you act or look? Does it really bother others if you’re enjoying some alone time?

You’ll discover that you frequently lack a solid response to this question. Then you can start giving such thoughts less weight right away. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them. 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. But in all honesty, everyone else is just getting by in life. 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.[2]

You don’t have to grin or laugh to be socially acceptable if anything someone says offends you. Instead, you might respectfully state your point of disagreement or make an apology before moving on to a group with whom you connect more.

It will be clear if you’re putting on a front if you try to appear cool and unconcerned while you’re scared. Instead, expressing your nervousness to a group of people who are undoubtedly experiencing the same thing is the cutest thing you can do.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. This is something you can do at work, at home, or even with strangers. Nobody should compel you to perform an action that you do not like.

Additionally, even if you’re ready to comply with the request, there’s nothing wrong with seeking further explanation. People will see that you are not someone who should be commanded around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can interfere with your ability to perform everyday tasks, build relationships with coworkers, and even advance your career. If you’re in a fight but are too afraid to speak up, you can find yourself at the mercy of what happens to you rather than exerting some control.

If you often exude confidence at work, you could be perplexed as to the source of this recent self-consciousness. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[3] 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[4] and less self-conscious.

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Finish the project that has been hanging over your head if you are feeling self-conscious at work. Take an advanced exercise class if you become self-conscious in the gym.

Your self-esteem can be greatly improved by facing your fears and then succeeding in some way – even just by getting the job done. A cycle of confidence-building will result as you gain more self-assurance and are more likely to experience future achievement.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to address your self-consciousness on your own might not solve the issue at its core. Instead, adopt a balanced strategy to lessen your self-consciousness and increase your confidence in areas where you might struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment [5] 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.

It will benefit you to give it a try if a lot of this is new to you. You can’t predict how it will affect you.

A relaxing massage might help you feel more confident if you’re self-conscious about the way your body appears. The next time you’re in a group setting, you might have something interesting to discuss if you try a new workout.

Putting yourself in unfamiliar circumstances and demonstrating your ability to handle them gracefully might offer you the self-assurance you need to navigate through a variety of stressful situations and events.

6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Consider entering a room while feeling self-conscious about your appearance. You might have spent a lot of time and work on your wardrobe, though. This is how you have decided to express yourself, while it may be unusual.

Instead of focusing on your outside appearance, you need to develop your interior confidence. Other than your perspective, nothing needs to change.

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On the other side, perhaps there is something about you that you can change that you don’t like. Consider the possibility that you dislike the appearance of a birthmark on your face or that you have darker varicose veins.

Do something about these issues if you can! If changing your appearance would increase your confidence, as well as your abilities and knowledge, there is nothing wrong with doing so.

You don’t have to accept your current circumstances merely out of politeness. There is no prize for enduring something you detest.

To make adjustments that are apprehensive, even when they are for the best, confidence is also necessary. And it might be simpler to solve than you think.

For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[6]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has made unpleasant remarks to others and survived to tell the tale. When the concession counter girl tells us to enjoy our movie, we’ve all either forgotten someone’s name or said, “you too!” These things are not only extremely common, but they are also not nearly as embarrassing as you might think.

Consider your response when someone else makes a difficult move. It’s likely that when you stumble, other people react in the same way.

Keep in mind that you have power over your mental state and can overcome self-consciousness. This is not how you have to feel. Take the necessary steps to increase your self-assurance, put your insecurities in perspective, and begin using your “I feel amazing about myself” muscle. With time, it’ll become simpler.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[7], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

Being “self-aware” is a far better term in this situation. Knowing how you come across to others is a great quality since it will help you read a room and recognize how your actions and words affect other people. These are excellent interpersonal and interpersonal connection abilities.

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Self-awareness enables you to dress appropriately for the situation, alerts you when your voice is too or too soft and directs a conversation so you don’t irritate or bore anyone.

It’s not about trying to be someone you’re not because that may actually backfire, just like being self-conscious. In order to perform well in the circumstance, you need instead amp up some characteristics of your personality.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you fight with yourself all the time in an effort to manage how other people perceive you. You attempt to alter who you are in order to fit what you believe 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 takes time to develop. Instead, it happens gradually as you gradually increase your confidence and tell your self-consciousness “no.” It also calls for acknowledging that it’s normal to experience moments of self-consciousness.

Worrying about a problem can occasionally be more distressing than the problem itself. It can be more problematic to feel awful for feeling self-conscious than to acknowledge your feelings and move on with your day.

Accept that you are only human, and then make the modest adjustments that will boost your confidence going forward.

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[3] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[4] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[5] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[6] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[7] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

More by this author

Dan Matthews, CPRP

A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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