Do you wish you could stop feeling self-conscious? It's a common problem; many of us often feel that other people are watching and judging us. Usually they aren't even aware of us! But we imagine that we are being judged, and so become even more unpleasantly aware of ourselves and what we perceive ourselves to be lacking in. So what can you do about this? It's essentially a question of retraining yourself and changing your perception. Try these tips to help yourself stop feeling self-conscious …
1. What Other People Think Doesn't Matter
One way to stop feeling self-conscious is to remind yourself that it doesn't matter what other people think of you. We put thoughts into their head that probably aren't even there. But suppose that they are thinking critical thoughts on your appearance, for example. Why place so much importance on what this person thinks? Forget about other people's approval - the only opinion that matters is your own.
2. Work out Why
It also helps to work out just what makes you feel self-conscious. Once you've identified it, you can then counteract your feelings. Let's say you're nervous about starting a new course, because you hate being the new person. But when you think about it, you realise that everyone is new! So walking into the room won't be so daunting, since you're all in the same boat.
3. Focus Your Attention Elsewhere
The problem with being self-conscious is that it tends to feed upon itself. The more aware of your discomfort you are, the more uncomfortable you feel. You need to break the cycle. Stop thinking about how you look, or worrying that you will say something stupid. Focus your attention elsewhere - listen to what people are saying, or think about how much you love the new shoes you bought for the occasion.
4. Nobody is Noticing
Self-consciousness can make you feel as though you have a big sign over your head saying 'Look at me and laugh!', especially if you have an embarrassing experience. Yet the chances are that nobody is looking at you that closely. They've got their minds on other things. And if you do have an embarrassing experience, laugh it off. People will soon forget about it.
5. Positive Self-Image
Self-consciousness may have its roots in a low self-image. Perhaps you fret that you aren't attractive enough or don't have anything interesting to say at parties. So work on improving your self-image. Give yourself some praise and credit for your abilities and good qualities.
6. It Hasn't Happened
We may also be self-conscious because we are concerned that we might somehow make a fool of ourselves, or that something will go wrong. There's something rather silly about this. Why worry about something that hasn't happened and probably won't do? Relax, and tell yourself 'it may never happen.'
It's also common to feel self-conscious when you have an important event or a public speech coming up. One way to get round this is to practise beforehand. Rehearsing a speech or interview allows you to feel more familiar with the situation you're facing. It won't then feel quite so daunting when the real event happens.
Self-consciousness is understandable, but often prevents us from enjoying ourselves. It may even make us avoid situations altogether. That's a shame, so don't let self-consciousness get the better of you. Work on reducing your shyness, embarrassment or reserve. What kind of situations make you feel self-conscious?