How To Be Less Self-Conscious And Love Yourself

Updated January 31, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

A positive self-image can be a vital part of our mental and emotional well-being. When we aren’t as confident in who we are and what we can do, we may be holding ourselves back from a full, enjoyable life. While self-consciousness can be challenging to experience, it can also be managed when you learn how to reframe your self-perception and practice self-love. Below, we’re going to discuss self-consciousness and how you can address it in order to foster greater self-esteem and improve your emotional well-being. 

Online Therapy Can Help You Foster Self-Love

What Does It Mean To Be Self-Consciousness?

Self-consciousness can be defined as “awareness of oneself”. It is often the result of insecurity regarding our abilities, appearance, personality, or other aspects of ourselves we’re concerned might be perceived negatively by others. Self-consciousness is a normal state of being that most of us experience from time to time. When it becomes heightened, though, it can impact your confidence, keep you from striving for your goals, and affect your mental health.  

One theory from evolutionary psychology on why we become self-conscious today is that this type of behavior helped our ancestors function better within groups, obey observed rules, and get along with others so that they had a better chance of surviving. Today, being aware of our behavior can help us control what we do so that we’re able to function in society. But, as we’ll discuss below, it can also have negative effects if it isn’t kept in check.  

The Effects Of Excessive Self-Consciousness

Becoming acutely aware of yourself can prevent you from focusing on the present, putting yourself out there, and having confidence in your abilities. 

The following are common effects of self-consciousness:

  • Missed Opportunities – When you experience excess self-awareness, you may avoid situations where you aren’t sure whether you will be successful. This can cause you to miss out on trying new things, reaching for your goals, or seizing opportunities. 

  • Trouble Staying Present – By focusing on yourself, you may find it difficult to bring your attention to what’s going on around you. This can affect several different aspects of life, such as work, school, and relationships.  

  • Less Robust Social Life – You may not feel comfortable connecting with others if you’re unsure of yourself. Self-consciousness can make you question whether you’ll make a good impression with others and keep you from making new friends. 

  • Lowered Self-Confidence – If you are consistently worried about what others think of you, your  can be depleted. This can lead you to feeling as though you don’t measure up to those around you—or to your own expectations.

These are just a few of the results that we may experience when we are self-conscious. But even if you have struggled with being self-conscious in the past, that doesn’t mean that you have to feel the same way in the future. Below, we’re going to discuss several approaches that can help you improve your confidence and develop a healthy, well-managed sense of self-awareness. 

How To Be Less Self-Conscious

Managing self-consciousness is possible when you’re being mindful of your self-perception, reducing negative self-talk, and fostering positivity. Though it may take time, consistent efforts to make the following changes can make a lasting impact.

Understand The Spotlight Effect 

If you experience excessive self-awareness, you may feel like people are frequently paying attention to you, judging you, or noticing your flaws and faults. Some researchers call this feeling the spotlight effect. Studies show that, due to this phenomenon, we tend to misjudge the amount of attention that others pay to our behavior, appearance, etc. 

It’s important to remember that most people pay less attention to those around them than we think they do. Since people are often focused on themselves, they likely aren’t scrutinizing you as closely as you think they are. If you start to feel as though your actions are being critiqued or highlighted, remember that those around you may be preoccupied with similar concerns about themselves—and not necessarily with judging you.  

Surround Yourself With Positive People

Being around people who believe in you and lift you up can help you build self-esteem and make it easier for you to moderate overly self-aware behavior. On the other hand, spending time with people who are negative or less supportive can make you feel more judged and self-conscious. 

Try to build a healthy support system, with people who value you and provide you with confidence. Then, return the favor and do the same for them. Research shows that social support can reduce stress, which may help you feel more comfortable putting yourself out there socially. It is okay to spend less time with people who you feel are contributing to feelings of self-consciousness. You deserve to be surrounded by people who make you feel good about yourself, improve your sense of self-worth, and help reduce your self-consciousness.

Try To Challenge Negative Self-Talk

Negative self-talk about your body image, your worth, or how the world perceives you can make it challenging to handle stressful situations. Try to catch yourself and challenge your thoughts when you notice that they are unkind. This may take some practice, but you can feel less afraid of how the world sees you by building up your self-worth. 

You can try repeating a mantra, which is a sentence that contains words of self-affirmation. For example, try repeating the following: “Every day, and in every way, I am getting better and better.” Try repeating these words when you’re feeling self-conscious. Research shows that self-talk can enhance cognitive function, boost self-esteem, and even improve athletic performance.  

Practice Self-Acceptance

Often, self-consciousness arises out of a feeling that we lack certain desirable characteristics. If you learn to , including your flaws and imperfections, you may start to feel less aware of them. Of course, you can still work on certain parts of your life. Self-acceptance can help you be patient as you do so. Know that certain skills may be developed easily while others may take time. 

One method of fostering self-acceptance is meditation. Meditation can help you quiet your mind when you’re experiencing self-doubt or negative self-talk. To practice meditation, find a calm environment to sit or lie down. Focus on your breathing and bring your attention to your thoughts, letting them pass without judging them. This can help you recognize when your self-perception and self-talk are not as constructive as they could be. 

Avoid Putting Others On A Pedestal

When we feel unsure of our own positive traits, we tend to idealize other people and desire the positive characteristics we see in (or ascribe to) them. The media, particularly social media, is a controlled environment that isn’t always true to an individual’s real life. Seeing someone who seems to be self-assured and confident in their abilities, appearance, etc., can make us question whether we have the same qualities and hurt our self-confidence. Remember to prioritize your journey because it’s yours and yours alone. 

Expand Your Comfort Zone

At times, we can get caught in routines that may reinforce our beliefs regarding the limits of our abilities. When you get out of your comfort zone, you may find that you’re able to do a lot more than you thought. You don’t have to do this constantly, but challenging yourself every once and a while can help you feel accomplished and increase your sense of self-worth. Consider developing a new skill, learning a foreign language, or cooking a meal you’ve never made before. 

Online Therapy For Self-Esteem

Research shows that online therapy can help improve self-confidence and address related mental health concerns. For example, in one study, researchers found that online therapy improved self-esteem and overall quality of life in participants living with depression. The study notes that online therapy can empower participants while helping to promote a healthy self-image. It also mentions the ability of online therapy to overcome common barriers to mental health care, such as geographical limitations. 

Online Therapy Can Help You Foster Self-Love

Online therapy can help you improve your self-perception and develop a healthy sense of self-worth. With online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp, you can work through concerns related to self-consciousness remotely, through video call, voice call, or in-app messaging. BetterHelp works with thousands of mental health professionals—with a range of specialties—so you’ll have a good chance of matching with someone with the expertise and knowledge to address your specific areas of concern. 

Takeaway

Self-consciousness can keep us from putting ourselves out there and embracing our unique qualities and talents. By knowing your value, worrying less about the opinions of others, and engaging in positive self-talk, you can improve your self-confidence. If you’d like further help reducing self-conscious thoughts and behaviors, consider reaching out to a licensed therapist online. With the right support, you can learn to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved. 

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