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How to Be Less Self Conscious in Social Situations

By: Brian Kim - August 23, 2006

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Is my hair ok? Do my clothes look all right? Do I have bad breath? Gee, I hope they don’t think I’m a loser. Are they staring at my pimples? Am I going to sound stupid if I say what’s on my mind?

Ah, the never ending questions we ask ourselves whenever self consciousness rears its big ugly head :)

If you’re among the many adolescents or adults who have stress and anxiety stemming from self consciousness in social situations, don’t feel so bad. It’s not just you. It happens to WAY more people than you think; even to the ones who seem to have it all together.

Then there are those who have learned to do away with all the little voices and worries that self consciousness brings. What is it that they do different from other people? After observing and speaking with people on this matter, there seemed to be a couple of things that always came up in conversation. Here are the findings.

Get to work on minimizing all your insecurities.

People who are very self conscious in social situations tend to have insecurities about themselves they have not resolved, a major one being their looks. Yes, looks aren’t everything, but they DO count. You shouldn’t use the “looks aren’t everything” cop out to prevent you from at least doing all you can to make yourself feel good in your own skin.

And for those of you who say looks don’t matter and to accept yourself, I only agree with you on the latter. However, let me add to the latter by saying you should accept your best self. And that means doing all you can tackle all your insecurities, whatever they may be, and looking for ways to minimize them.

So if you’re fat and self-conscious about it, workout to lose the weight. If you’re self conscious about being skinny, then workout to put on the muscle. Don’t throw your hands up in the air and blame it on genetics. Work on your insecurities. Don’t give up.

You’ll find that by taking action toward minimizing your insecurities, the degree to which you feel insecure about them will start diminishing. There’s a big difference between not doing anything and always feeling insecure about it and doing something and gradually feeling less insecure about it till it no longer becomes a problem. One enslaves you, the other frees you.

Nobody really cares unless YOU care.

Stop worrying about yourself you narcissist :) Nobody really cares about you because they’re too busy worrying about themselves. Yes, your parents were right when they told you that. You just didn’t believe them. Chances are the person you’re interacting with is as nervous or more nervous than you are. EVERYBODY is self conscious to a certain degree. The majority of people are striving so hard not to look like a total loser that they don’t even care about you. A little harsh but sweet at the same time eh?

But the fact that nobody really cares about you is only half true. They don’t really care unless YOU care. What do I mean by that?

If you keep on worrying about your own flaws (caring what other people might think of them), other people will notice your flaws. People can easily pick up if you are insecure about something when they are interacting with you. As soon as they pick that up, guess what? Instantaneous google search on you to see what you’re so self conscious about.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re talking to people all the meanwhile hoping they won’t notice your fiery red volcanic erupting pimple on your right cheek, hoping and praying that they don’t stare, but guess what, they sense something and start searching and then lo and behold, they do stare and kind of rudely too if I might add, and then they give you that sympathetic, tilted, “aww” look and to make matters worse, they start talking about it and bring others in the conversation to comment on it.

If you do your best to minimize your insecurities, you won’t feel so self-conscious about it because you took action. Did you ever have a problem that left you really anxious but as soon as you took action on that problem, it didn’t seem that big of a deal in the first place? The same logic applies here.

So by taking action to minimize your insecurities, you won’t be so self conscious and care as much, and other people won’t either. If you’re comfortable with yourself, other people will be comfortable with you as well.

Worry about other people.

Worry about other people you say? Why yes! Don’t waste your time worrying about yourself. Worry for other people. Worry that you won’t understand what they’re saying so pay extra attention. Worry that you won’t make them feel bad by taking time to season your reply. This takes all the worrying focus off of you and puts it onto the other person. A nice load off your shoulders don’t you think? You know what else this does? It makes the person you’re worrying about become preoccupied about himself/herself and not you.

Make your own 30 second pep talk.

Whenever you start to feel bad about yourself, recite your own 30 second pep talk. It’s kind of like an elevator speech in that you try to bring out the best points about yourself in the least possible time to convince someone (in this case YOU) whatever message you want to bring across (a positive one hopefully).

Whip out a notepad or open up your word processor and write a short letter to yourself, highlighting your best qualities and experiences. This is no time to be humble. Let it all out. Include specific examples from your past to back up your claims. You have them, you just buried them under negativity. Consider this your own motivational little pep talk. Memorize it and tell it to yourself whenever you feel self conscious.

If all else fails, have something going for you in life

Have a dream, have a worthy goal you are striving to achieve and then you’ll realize all the stuff you’re worried about is pretty trivial and meaningless to begin with. You’ve got better, more important things to do than to worry if the hair on the back of your head is sticking up.

Pursuing a major definite purpose will help you to not sweat the small stuff. It becomes trivial to you. Wondering 24/7 how other people think of you. It’s a waste of time and energy. Be done with it.

So don’t be so preoccupied with your insecurities by taking action toward minimizing them, worry about other people, give yourself a pep talk every now and then, and most important of all, have something going for you in life to put things in perspective because after all, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

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