feeling undue awareness of oneself, one’s appearance, or one’s actions.
I have always been self-conscious. It probably fully started when I hit secondary and all the bullying started. I saw myself for who I was: a happy-go-lucky, pushover, chubby and fucking ugly ass girl who thought the world was all sunshine and built on bloody fucking rainbows. It wasn’t just the bullying, my family- especially aunts and cousins from abroad- constantly nagged me about my weight which overall made me feel like shit.
I grew up- of course I did- but that’s not what this blog post is about. This blog post is how I coped with it because it’s hard. I know it’s hard and many people who haven’t been down that route don’t understand they say things like “get over it” or “it is what it is” when they just don’t know. I’ve been through that root and I may as well state that I’m still in that downfall of what we call mental illnesses but I won’t get into that now.
Self-consciousness is not only a feeling of being put down but this overwhelming force: not loving the body you are in, constantly questioning if what you’re doing is right or what you’re wearing is okay and your paranoia hitting the roof each time these questions hit you. I want to share with you all how I cope with it because it does get in the way. More often than people realise. I’ve learnt to cope with these taunts and questions, at times not very wisely, but I’m here today aren’t I?
Back when I was in year 8 (so when I was around 13 years of age) I had a friend who had somehow realised what I was going through, in a sense, they had gone through the same thing- give or take. This particular friend advised me to every day in the morning (or in the evening if you prefer) walk up to the mirror and write one thing on a post-it note that you like about yourself. Every single day. It didn’t work. Maybe it’s because I can’t work in that way it honestly just adds fuel to the fire but I would try it if I were you. Just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. However equal us humans may be, we all work in different ways.
A couple of months ago during my first counselling session, my counsellor told me to name one thing I like about myself and I honestly struggled, like really struggled. I spent a good 5 minutes trying to figure out something to say and she let me swarm in thoughts until I finally came out with my eyes because I actually do like them. She then gave me some homework. This homework was for me to think of something else I like and I should tell her about it the following week. Next week came and I was stuck again. Keep it in mind I had this single question “what do I like about myself?” repeating itself again and again in my mind- it just wouldn’t stop. I tried but all that kept coming up were my fat ass thighs and flabby ass stomach but then my counsellor said something that really got me thinking: “we constantly as humans look and search for perfection and imperfections on the outside and almost always forget the things on the inside- the important stuff.”
By this time I was already getting emotional but I came up with loyalty. I am always besides the people I care about whatever the case and at times it’s proven to be unhealthy. However, that’s not what I’m getting at. What I’m saying is although you feel self-conscious and you question your every move, think about those things about yourself that you don’t question, the things that come naturally to you and you wouldn’t change for the world. We’ve all got a few I know I have it’s just a matter of us finding them and making sure they’re our beacon of hope. In hope that one day we’ll love ourselves for who we are and not hate ourselves for who we are not. For instance your hobbies and your likes and dislikes, maybe even your skills and qualities as a person. Our looks are not everything sometimes even our actions aren’t but our intentions are massively important and sometimes we forget that. We forget that because society has conditioned us in a way that we make it as if what’s on the inside doesn’t matter, but it does, it always does.
Being self-conscious about yourself doesn’t necessary mean you’re doubting your looks. A person could love they way they look but feel self-conscious in academic things, or social matters. Being self-conscious isn’t just about one thing it can be about anything and that’s why the biggest way to battle self-consciousness- however corny it will sound- is to be yourself. To be the person you strive to be, do the things you want to do and don’t let anyone’s opinion get in the way of you doing that. You want to wear make up? Do it. You want to go out make up free? Sure. You want to start YouTube channel or maybe do something as small as baking a cake? Go for it. You are not on this Earth to please anyone around you, you are here to live your life as you will it to be. That’s something each and every one of us believes whatever religion and cultures we’re from. It’s something we have in common. We have the freedom to choose what we want to do and what we want to achieve as individuals. Not them, you.
Pinpointing triggers can also help. Knowing what triggers your self-conscious tendencies can help you understand what you need to work on. For example, may be you look in the mirror for far too long to pinpoint all your flaws. In that case you would try not to look in the mirror as much and when you do try to think positively. I’ve also learnt that others try to encourage themselves by telling themselves that they are “bigger than their self-consciousness”. It works for some but not all. Trying to block out irrelevant comments from people also helps whether their people who you think care about you or are complete strangers. You shouldn’t try and give them any satisfaction or the power to make you feel like shit. No one has the right to do that not even yourself. You are worth more than people trying to trample on you for their on purposes.
You do you, whether they like it or not because at the end of the day the only way you’ll feel fulfilled with your life is being what you truly want to be and more often than more it’s simply being yourself. This life is your own. Mould it the way you please.