A man looks to camera having pulled the collar of his t-shirt up around his nose

How to become less self-conscious

by Eharmony Editorial Team - October 27, 2011

If you are struggling to get yourself out on dates because of self-consciousness here are some tips to help reduce the anxiety.

Do I look fat? Is my hair ok? I hope they don’t think I’m an idiot. Am I going to sound stupid if I say what’s on my mind? These are the kind of  questions that come up when we are in the grip of self-consciousness

It’s important to remember that we all suffer from self-consciousness to some extent, even people who appear confident and like they have got it all together. The difference is that they have learned to do away with all the little voices and worries that self-consciousness brings. Here we look at some methods to help you do the same.

Get to work on minimising your insecurities.

People who are very self-conscious in social situations tend to have insecurities about themselves that they have not resolved, a major one is often their looks. Yes, looks aren’t everything, but they do count. If there is something about your looks that you are unhappy about is it within your power to do something about it? Some people have birthmarks or disfigurements which they have to learn to live with but many issues, such as weight, are within our power to change if we really want to.

When you take action toward minimising 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

The chances are that the person you’re interacting with is as nervous, or more nervous, than you are. If you keep on worrying about your own flaws other people are more likely to notice them. People can easily pick up if you are insecure about something when they are interacting with you. If you do your best to minimise your insecurities, you won’t feel so self-conscious about them because you took action. Did you ever have a problem that made you feel 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 minimise your insecurities you won’t be so self-conscious and care as much and then other people won’t either. If you’re comfortable with yourself, other people will be comfortable with you as well.

Think about other people

Really listen to what they are saying and think about how you can make them feel good about themselves with your reply. Spend time with people who appear confident to find out what they say and do that makes them appear so confident to you. This takes the focus off you and helps you to engage more because you are less preoccupied with your own anxiety.

Be your own best friend

Whenever you start to feel bad about yourself think about what your best friend would say to you if they were there. If it helps you could 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. Consider this your own motivational pep talk. Memorise it and tell it to yourself whenever you feel self-conscious.

The bigger picture

Have a dream, have a worthy goal you are striving to achieve and  you will soon realise all the stuff you’re worried about is pretty trivial and meaningless. 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 is a waste of time and energy.

Count your blessings and remember one of the most attractive features of a person is enthusiasm for life not their shape and size.