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When You’re In A Good Relationship, You Learn These 10 Things

When You’re In A Good Relationship, You Learn These 10 Things

I’d had serious relationships before meeting my fiance, with a couple lasting for years. I thought I was an adult; I thought I knew how to be a great girlfriend. Meeting someone I had a serious connection with taught me that nothing I had experienced before was real. True love feels different than casual relationships – even if those relationships lasted for years (often well past their expiration date!). When you’re in a good relationship, you learn things. You act differently; you think as part of a team, not as an individual making your way through the world. You’ll be more understanding and accepting of your partner, instead of just getting frustrated with them like you may have with past relationships.

1. Misunderstandings are inevitable.

Misunderstandings are going to happen. If you take your partner’s words one way, then learn they meant something totally different, don’t punish them. Let it go. Bringing it up all the time is only going to bruise the relationship and cause communication problems later. Sometimes what you say or do will be taken the wrong way, and you’ll get frustrated that your partner doesn’t understand. Take a step back and realize it’s not a big deal. Misunderstandings are made to be swept under the rug because they’re so minor. They only become problems if you let them grow bigger and mean more in the scope of your relationship. Be laid back and forgive misunderstandings.

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2. Learn to trust them.

You have to trust your partner. Why would you share your life with someone when you think they’re doing something wrong every time you turn your back? If you don’t trust your partner to be faithful, honest, caring, or anything else, then you’re not in a good relationship. The best relationships begin with a deep trust, and even if problems come up (and they will!), the trust is strong enough to keep you together.

3. Let yourselves miss each other.

You’re in love, so you want to be together all the time! It’s so fun to cuddle all night and be together all day, but when will you have time to experience different things? When you go to separate workplaces or schools, you experience things that will give you something to talk about later. When you go out with your friends and your partner spends time with theirs, you have time and space to yourself and come back to each other refreshed. You have a chance to miss each other, and it helps you really understand the value of your relationship. Missing someone is great because getting to see them after that period will make you so happy and so sure of your relationship.

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4. Encourage growth and change.

In a good relationship, both partners are encouraged to grow and change. You have one life to live – you should explore it to the fullest! If you want to quit your job and go back to school, your partner should support you. If you want to try something new or go back to something old, you should find support in your relationship. And you should give this support in return. Encourage your partner to explore hobbies and interests and meet new people. If you want your partner to stay the same, you’re going to have a very boring life together.

5. Compromising doesn’t mean you’re weak.

Compromising doesn’t mean “giving in.” It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost the fight. In fact, it’s the opposite. Do you know how hard it is to compromise sometimes? You want your way because it sounds right and makes sense to you. Your partner is way off base with their suggestions. Take a step back and look at the argument diplomatically. What’s the logical conclusion? If your partner is right, don’t be afraid to say so. Accept their way, or modify both of your solutions to be half and half. The important thing is not getting your way, it’s staying in your relationship and helping it grow. Compromising will definitely help your relationship grow.

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6. Admit your weaknesses.

Your partner doesn’t expect you to be a superhero, and hopefully you don’t expect that of them! We’re all human; we all have flaws. It’s ok to let these show. In fact, to have a stable, serious relationship, you need to let your weaknesses be known. Your partner will be more sensitive to things that bother you, and can help build you up in areas where you need some help.

7. Sometimes you can only accept things, not fix them.

People have baggage. You have some. Your partner has some. Can you go back and erase all of this? Nope! You’re stuck with it, and have to learn to deal with it. Some things are easier to get over than others, but the reality is that sometimes, you can’t fix things. You can’t make problems go away. You have to accept them and get over them and move on, or else your relationship will crumble.

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8. Forgive quickly and truly.

Whenever you have a fight, don’t worry about who wins or who loses. Learn from the fight – from what was said as much as from how it was resolved. Once you learn from a fight, you can apply that lesson to your relationship to avoid trouble later. That’s all well and good, but you’re not done! Forgive your partner! Forgive yourself. The fight is over, you’re past it, now let it go. Never hold anything against your partner because the resentment will build until you don’t want to be with them.

9. Never expect anything.

Don’t expect your partner to read your mind, or to bring you breakfast in bed, or to offer to wash the dishes. It’s not going to happen. You can’t expect anything from anyone – you have to make it known. Communicate. Make sure your partner knows what you expect from the relationship, as well as your opinions on a wide variety of issues. This will help them act considerate towards you, but still – don’t expect anything!

10. Show your feelings.

The worst thing you can do in a relationship is play games. Don’t tease your partner; don’t “reward” good deeds with love and affection. You have to make sure your partner always feels loved. You can be happy with them or be mad at them – it doesn’t matter – they just need to feel loved. They need to know your feelings in the moment as well, don’t get me wrong. But make sure you’re showing your feelings in a way that they won’t be misunderstood (back to #1!).

Featured photo credit: Romantic young valentine couple in love kissing in cafe. Candid view through window glass. via shutterstock.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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