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How to Stop Self-Consciousness Plaguing Your Life

Does this sound familiar?

You’re smart, caring and considerate, yet you struggle to interact with people on a meaningful level.

You’re also aware that to get anywhere in life, you need people on your side, or at least have the ability to deal with them effectively.

But you just don’t seem to be able to do it.

And it’s not that you haven’t tried.

You’ve read all the books on successful communication and facing your fears.

But when it comes to practising those wisdoms in real life, you turn to jelly.

You become painfully aware of your every move and physically freeze on the spot. You cannot utter a word and you feel extremely embarrassed.

And you get the feeling that other people notice your inadequacy and judge you for it.

You get to a point where you’d just rather be alone, than having to face the barrage of such negative emotions.

Seeking help or advice is difficult, because that would mean admitting there’s something wrong.

After all, other people who seem worse off than you are, can cope with their issues. You keep telling yourself to stop being such a wimp and just get on with it now.

But you know that’s not the answer either.

So you suffer in silence…

What Does Being Self-Conscious Really Mean

Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it; once you start to doubt, there is no room for anything else. Mignon McLaughlin

If you recognized yourself in the above introduction, you’re definitely not alone.

Most people have experienced the weight of a bunch of eyes leering at them.

Whilst that’s perfectly natural, focusing too much on what others might think of you can turn into an obsession.

And the longer it continues, the harder it is to change it.

The tell-tale signs that you maybe overly self-conscious

  • being careful what & how you say it
  • worried when it’s ‘your turn’
  • aversion of seeing yourself in the mirror or hearing your voice
  • perfectionistic tendencies, things have to be ‘right’
  • excessive anxiety in everyday situations

How Does Self-consciousness Develop?

Self-consciousness is a natural human emotion. Anyone can feel strange when being observed by others and judged for apparent flaws in appearance or personality.

That’s the text book definition of the term at least.

But in my experience, it’s an indication that something else is amiss.

A feeling of excessive self-consciousness doesn’t just come about suddenly. It’s a result of years of self battering.

And combined with other elements from the environment, makes it an inseparable part of your character.

Factors that may contribute to self-consciousness

  • clumsy parenting
  • mechanical schooling practices
  • teasing peers
  • rigid traditions & community rules
  • media, advertisements, status quo

What excessive self-consciousness may lead to

  • constant discomfort around others
  • tensions in body
  • high sensitivity to criticism
  • constant inner battle with self
  • becoming lonely and depressed

What’s The Solution? How can you stop self-consciousness? 

The easy way is the hard way; the hard way is the easy way. The Dalai Lama

So that’s the rundown on self-consciousness gone awry.

But what is the alternative? If things are so deeply rooted, is there anything you can actually do – is there a point even trying to change things?

Well, the good news is that because self-consciousness is a mindset, it can be changed.

This whole site is dedicated to help you get through the challenges you meet every day.

And with some awareness and a bit of patience you can win it over.

The bad news is? You can’t just switch it off at will.

And if you’ve lived like this for many years, you might need to;

  • work on your identity
  • practice self acceptance
  • remove the masks created in defense
  • get to know your body better
  • work on your breathing

Because to live a life free of self-consciousness means to accept yourself as you are.

Where you dare to lead a life regardless of what others might think.

And for that, you need to build up your self confidence.

Changes won’t happen overnight, but you can start by taking small steps.

Firstly, you could make a commitment to not beating yourself up, when you think you made a mistake.

Then you can practice spending more time around others.

Always remember, wherever you are in life now, you are good enough and can deserve peace of mind.

Image credit: Michiel Alleman