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12 Things I Know So Well About Engineers

12 Things I Know So Well About Engineers

My whole life, I’ve loved engineers.

My dad, my brother, my boyfriend, my ex, many of my friends, and more than half of my coaching clients: all engineers.

You are a fascinating and lovable bunch.

Through the abundance of engineers in my life, I’ve come to understand you and appreciate you in a special way as a group. Here are 12 things I’ve found to be refreshingly true about you:

1. You diligently consider all angles before making up your mind.

You take great pains in being as objective as possible. You may even host debates in your head. My boyfriend does this. He constructs arguments with different imaginary figures in his mind, arguing each viewpoint fairly until a sound, objective conclusion is reached.

2. You are whimsical.

You are fun. You see things in an ironic, fun, and funny way. You enjoy xkcd.com and the like. My college days (surrounded by engineers, for sure) were sprinkled with ninjas vs. pirates vs. zombies debates.

This is the “logical” whimsy that is so endearing and playful. Your particular kind of creativity isn’t found in other people in the same fun way. It’s a delight!

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3. You methodically think through all the ways something could go wrong.

This may seem like a drag, but it’s actually really helpful.

This means you’ve always got (or are at least actively formulating) a back-up plan. You’re practical. Risk-averse, perhaps, but thorough. This helps you make quality decisions because you have thought before implementing, saving yourself a pile (or several piles) of unnecessary life clean-up. :)

4. You are thoughtful and empathetic.

Your thoughtfulness doesn’t only get channelled to math and science.

You are also especially thoughtful when it comes to your relationships with people who are important to you, and even people you’ve just met. You are hyper-aware of several viable (and non-viable, but interesting) possibilities that might be occurring in other people’s experiences.

Because of your constant and diligent thoughtfulness, you’re more empathetic than you might give yourself credit for.

5. You are genuinely curious.

Because you understand and appreciate the world (and the universe!) in its infinite complexity, you are curious about how things work, fit together, can be improved upon.

This childlike fascination carries into adulthood and is what makes you so wonderful at your career and such a delight to have a conversation with.

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6. You are naturally playful in relationships.

When you get to know and love people in your life, you find new ways to relate to them. New playful catchphrases, allusions and reinventions of past jokes, even funny physical movements or expressions.

Because your mind is so creative and thoughtful, playful memes always feel fresh and personal.

7. You appreciate the beauty of systems.

You have long pondered the beauty of systems: nature, cities, technological inventions, any kind of infrastructure, really.

You love structure, and you love the mathematical intricacy with which things work together. To you, the way you see these things is just a matter of fact. To others, your level of appreciation for systematic beauty is awe-inspiring.

8. You find linear, logical paths to be relaxing.

You prefer the most direct path to your desired destination. When you have too many choices and emotions involved, this can be very confusing.

That said, when you feel capable and confident and are in your healthy frame of mind, it is immensely satisfying to determine the most logical, linear path to get where you want to go and then set about taking that path. It relaxes you to do this.

9. You value play.

One of the core tenets of genuine confidence, and a centerpiece of my own coaching method, is the foundational exercise of defining your deepest values.

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Most of my clients are engineers and–get this–most of these engineers list PLAY or FUN as one of their top five values.

I told my friend this, and she was surprised. That just wasn’t part of her concept of engineers, but I told her how true and delightful it is. Perhaps that’s because usually your playfulness comes out more within close relationships.

Also, a lot of your playfulness is internal. The way you think about things and interpret the world is playfully curious, and that might not always be expressed.

That said, it’s often really fun for engineers to find new ways that feel natural and fun for expressing their playfulness and relating to people on that lighthearted level.

10. You are relentlessly self-aware.

Because your mind works in such a wonderfully structured and thorough way, you are constantly self-assessing.

You are your greatest puzzle: your own mind, your own behaviors.

When you’re feeling confident and capable, this is really fun! You enjoy the process of analyzing yourself and watching the progress flow once you actually know what to do. That’s the key: knowing what the hell to do! Once you have that, you’re off to the races.

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11. You entertain multiple working philosophical and sociological theories.

Because of your curiosity, thoroughness, and patience, you entertain many working theories on various structures in life: from the sociological (how should we be dealing with X?) to the cosmological (where do black holes lead?).

You may go back and refine any one of your working theories for years, like an artist returning to his sculpture, scraping away what doesn’t belong and perfecting what does.

12. You are quite romantic.

In fact, you are arguably the ideal romantic partner.

You know why? Because you are so earnest, and you want to CHOOSE your partner.

You have ideals for a relationship, the way you want it to feel and operate, and you know you won’t be happy with anything else. Therefore, badass that you are, you go about learning the skills you need to naturally attract and keep the kind of partner you want in your life.

Because you generally prefer depth to breadth, you are extraordinary at focusing in on a relationship and making it hum.

In my experience–in my personal love life and in my dating/attraction coaching–engineers make the best life partners.

Your attention to detail, your care and thoughtfulness, your courageous and relentless focus–they all work together to make you AWESOME.

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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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