A lucky few of us are charismatic and comfortable in all social situations. However, most people suffer from some degree of self-consciousness at times and alter their behavior in an effort to appeal to others. This begins in childhood and becomes a habit we carry throughout our lives. The pressure to conform resides in most of us.
How much are you pretending? How much of yourself are you giving up in order to gain approval from others? Interestingly, the people we admire the most are those that make no effort to conform. We admire individuality.
These tips will help you learn to be yourself:
- Pay attention to others. It’s much harder to feel self-conscious if your attention isn’t on yourself. The key to being self-conscious is to focus on your appearance, clothes, posture, and words. Eliminate this self-scanning behavior and you’ll feel much more comfortable.
- Notice your environment. If someone is speaking to you, focus on their face and words. Your ability to focus outside yourself will grow with practice.
- Enhance your self-esteem. Pretending to be something you’re not suggests that you believe you’re not good enough in some way. However, you’ve done some amazing things in your life. Focus on your positive qualities. Remind yourself of your successes. Most importantly, leave your failures and regrets in the past.
- Be accepting of yourself. Remind yourself that no one is perfect. Even your best friend has numerous flaws that you could quickly list. You still love them anyway.
- Monitor your level of anxiety. There are many tools to lower anxiety, but it’s most effective to use them when your feelings of anxiousness begin to rise. When you’re highly stressed, it’s much more challenging to get your emotions back under control.
- When you first notice yourself becoming uncomfortable, focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Redirect your focus to your breath and your environment. Your previous thoughts resulted in your anxiety, so change them.
- Determine your purpose in life and live it. It could be argued that you’re not bold enough to be yourself because the stakes aren’t high enough, yet. When you have enough motivation, anxiety rarely shows up. You might be too bashful to raise money for your new business, but it’s no problem if you’re raising money to save your child from cancer.
- Do you know your purpose in life? When you can answer that question definitively, much of the social pressure in your life will disappear.
- Imagine your parents are gone. Even people in their 50’s and 60’s are still worried about disappointing their parents. What would you do differently right now if your parents were gone? A parent’s influence is never gone completely, but most of us give them more power than is reasonable. As adults, parents only have the power we give to them.
- Do one thing you’ve been avoiding. It can be something small, but jump in the deep end and do something new. It might be getting a tattoo or singing Karaoke. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take ballet lessons.
- Realize that your time is limited. It will all be over someday, so there’s little reason to worry. Anything you’re worried about now will be meaningless in the distant future. Have fun and enjoy your life.
The people that you admire the most have many detractors. Break free of the social pressure to conform. Share your thoughts and ideas. Enjoy your life. Discover how you can be your own person and still be loved!