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How to Get Over Your Insecurities

How to Get Over Your Insecurities

Last month, I published an article called “10 Things Insecure People Do That Slowly Destroy Their Lives.” A reader reached out to me on Twitter basically saying, “yeah, so what? You’ve identified the problem, but now you need to tell me how to solve it.” So I pitched this article as a follow-up piece; since I already identified the problems, now I can help offer some solutions. I picked some of the tips that I thought worked the best, especially in conjunction with my previous article. I hope this helps other readers out there as much as it helps me!

1. Be objective.

I’ve found that it helps if I talk to myself like I was someone else. That makes me sound crazy, right? Strangely enough, I actually give good advice to others when they’re facing insecurities or having problems. I just never follow my own advice. So when you’re facing your own insecurities, or can’t seem to get past a difficult speed bump in your life, step back and look at your situation objectively.

What advice would you give to a friend in your situation? If you’re scared of going to a party where you know no one, pep yourself up by saying you never know who you might meet; it’s great to talk to new people and learn about them. Don’t allow yourself any excuses, and push yourself to actually take the advice you come up with. Not allowing yourself a loophole to stay at home instead of go somewhere new will help you feel more secure and confident.

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2. Write down your fears.

Writing might seem like a passive action to take, but it’s a really helpful step! When you write things down, you’re getting them out of your head and looking at them in a different way. Instead of turning negative thoughts over and over in your mind, you have them down on paper so you can read over them.

Be honest when you read them and decide what is a logical fear, and what is irrational, like you being worried about what people think of you, or being considered a failure by your parents. Think about your fears and decide what you can let go, and what you can work to improve. Knowing your fears instead of being blind-sided by them in social or work situations will help you feel more secure in your daily life.

3. Celebrate your successes.

You’re written down your failures, but don’t forget your successes! You’ve gotten this far in life, so of course you’ve done some good. If you were a good student, remember your time in school and be proud of it. If you were just hired for your dream job, make sure you celebrate that instead of focusing on the fear of failing in the position. Celebrate even your smallest successes—sometimes checking a few things off of your To Do list is cause for celebration!

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If you start thinking negatively of your successes by saying it’s been too long since you’ve accomplished something, or anything along those lines, then make sure you turn around your way of thinking and make it positive again. Remembering past positive experiences will help you realize that there is much more good to come, and that you deserve it.

4. Change what you can.

Instead of hating certain things about yourself, try to change what you can. If you hate being short, you’re out of luck, but focus on things you can change. If you hate how you sit on the couch for hours after work, then push yourself to go to the gym and then cook dinner and be social after work. If you’re tired of worrying about every little thing, then start talking yourself out of those worries and making everything more positive.

Even if it takes a long time for you to change anything, just taking the action will motivate you enough to keep going. You’ll know you’re making progress because of the way you’re thinking, and taking control of your life and making change happen will push away those insecurities.

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5. Start saying yes.

When I was going through insecure times, I had a hard time saying yes to anything. It was too easy to say no to any social engagement, or to talking to a friend, or anything. I didn’t want to do anything because it was more secure for me to sit at home. I don’t even really know why I would say no. If I stopped to think about it, nothing horrible would have happened if I said yes.

Once I started questioning why I said no, I realized it was easier to say yes and try to put myself out there more. Just like in step 4, if you start saying yes, then you’re changing a bit of yourself. You’re taking charge of your situation by saying yes and facing new experiences instead of closing yourself off and living the same life day in and day out.

6. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others is the easiest way to cut down your self esteem. How insecure do you feel when you compare your outfit to someone else’s, or when you think their life is so much easier than yours? In truth, that person might not be that comfortable in their clothes, and they probably have more problems than you know.

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Though you may not realize it, thinking this way of others is actually a way of judging them. When you look at someone and judge them, you’re cutting them down to trying and raise yourself up—but does it really make you feel any better? You’re just being negative, and even if you judge them in a way that makes them look bad, you’re still comparing yourself to them.

Instead, raise other people up. Compliment them, smile, and see how much of that positivity you get back. You’ll feel better because you’re being more positive, and you’ll feel more secure because people will enjoy being around you more, and will smile and return compliments and goodwill to you.

7. Keep good company.

Have good friends. If someone in your social circle is negative and criticizes you and others for every little thing, you need to get away from them. No matter how good of a person you think you are, that type of behavior is infectious and will impact your own outlook. Be around people who are nurturing, who will compliment you when you deserve it and support you during both good and bad times. Make sure these are people you genuinely care about, so you won’t have to think twice about treating them the same way they treat you.

Featured photo credit: anna gutermuth via flickr.com

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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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