Have you ever found yourself doing something very ordinary – having a conversation, walking down the sidewalk, or talking to someone on the phone – and suddenly you become overly self-conscious? Extremely concerned with what the other person thinks of you? Feeling as if people are intently watching and judging your every move?
These moments of self-consciousness are not uncommon, but any time you feel this way you are limiting your ability to express yourself freely. And if you feel like this most of the time, it can become a debilitating pattern…
- Always second-guessing yourself
- Always on a quest for perfection
- And always feeling not “good enough”
No matter where you are on the self-consciousness continuum – from the occasional insecure feeling to continual suffering – every single instance of self-doubt has the potential to chip away and ultimately block your ability to enjoy unfettered freedom of expression.
Ironically, the more you try to please everyone, the less successful you’ll be. You see, what’s happening with this hyper-awareness is that you’re suppressing your true self. In its place you substitute a shadow of the “real you” and run the risk of forgetting who you really are.
Worse yet, this self-imposed “prison” has more side effects than some prescription medications:
- Inhibited spontaneity
- Constant worry about what you do, say, look like
- Altered behavior in response to this anxiety (because you’re always trying to please everyone)
- Feelings of shame and self-doubt that underlie your thoughts and behaviors
Over time, you may become less interesting, less appealing, and less extroverted – the complete opposite of your intentions.
So, does that mean you should move through life saying and doing whatever you feel like, never considering others’ feelings or the repercussions of your actions? Absolutely not. There’s a happy medium between paralyzing self-consciousness and thoughtless expression. It’s this healthy version of self-expression that will allow you to be your own person while still remaining aware of and respectful toward yourself and others.
To address the issue, it’s essential to get to the subconscious root that is driving your behaviors: my guided meditation, Transforming Self-Consciousness into Self-Expression, will show you how to make this change.
You can also check out my Self-Confidence Made Easier And Easier online course that will guide you step by step on a journey towards true self-confidence.
What, then, can you look forward to as you move from a mind-set of self-doubt to respectful yet uninhibited self-expression? First and foremost, you’ll be free from the pressure to please everyone. Even though you may know that when you try to make everyone happy, you please no one, that people-pleasing part of us tends to ignore this truism. Expressing yourself freely, however, gives you peace of mind that you are being true to yourself, and you are satisfied with that alone.
You’ll begin to feel more relaxed, confident, and comfortable, and you will begin to attract more people into your life that are like-minded and like you for the real you. This will lead to genuine connections and satisfying relationships that are based on authenticity. You’ll experience exhilarating freedom of expression – something that is impossible when you’re driven by self-consciousness.
Benefits That Outweigh the Risks
Now, there will be some people in your life who won’t celebrate your newfound self-expression: there will be people who will judge you, criticize you, and maybe even not accept you. But understand that this “rejection” from others is simply a new iteration of what was happening behind the scenes. Whether you realize it or not, in your self-conscious moments you were already being rejected by some people – it was just in a more passive way. Now, others’ acceptance or rejection of you will be more obvious, so it’s important that you understand that this may happen so you’re not caught off-guard.
But when you consider the benefits – comfort with yourself, authentic relationships, freedom from self-conscious anxieties and worries – I’m sure you’ll agree the occasional rejection from others is well-worth the rewards.
Best of all, you’ll be in the driver’s seat of your life. You will determine who you choose to spend time with… you will finally give your own opinions and not worry so much about what others think. You may even reach a point where you’ll look back and ask, “Why the hell did I used to do that? Why would anybody do that?” because your life will be so much richer, so much fuller, and so much more genuine.
“Often we’re recreating what we think we’re supposed to be as human beings. What we’ve been told we’re supposed to be, instead of who we authentically are. The key about the creation of full self-expression is to be authentically who you are, to project that.”
– James Cromwell, Actor
So, what are you projecting? More importantly, how are you feeling? Listen. Feel. And become aware of your moments of self-consciousness . . and celebrate the times that you truly express yourself.
If you would like to experience genuine self-expression, check out my “Self-Confidence Made Easier And Easier” Online Course.
One warning, though: once you begin to express yourself freely, you may never want to turn back!