Is Self-Consciousness Keeping You Single?
How often do you:
worry about what others are thinking of you
feel uncomfortable in your own skin
have trouble focusing on others because you have runaway negative thoughts
focus on how you're going to respond while someone else is talking
beat yourself up for what you just said or didn't say
As a human, you've experienced all of the above at some point in time or another.
It's incredibly easy to feel uncomfortable and stuck in your head when meeting someone new, and especially when going a date. But that self-consciousness is an enemy of authentic connection.
Think about this way -- what makes you feel the most at ease with or connected to another person? That connected feeling is most likely to happen when the other person is:
comfortable in their own skin
present and giving you their full attention
genuinely interested in how you feel and what you have to say
The qualities and mindset that encourage connection are completely opposite of feeling self-conscious.
Luckily, you don't have to eliminate all nervousness from your social interactions to make a genuine connection with someone else. Perfection or 100% confidence at all times in not required. (Thankfully!)
However, the more you can move out of your head and into the present moment when interacting with others, the more satisfying those connections will be. Here are a few tips you can start incorporating right away when you're feeling self-conscious:
#1 Deep breathing
Deep breathing is a superpower. Try it out right now -- take a few deep breaths and see how you feel. To quote myself here -- "taking a deep breath doesn't solve all your problems, but it puts you in a better position to solve them."
Shifting your focus to your breathing, even while having a conversation with another person, is a shortcut to quieting that voice in your head. It also has the benefit of forcing your body to relax, which will make your body language more inviting.
#2 Be interested, not interesting
Instead of worrying how you're being perceived, shift your focus to being interested in the other person. Something as simple as asking someone how their day is and actually caring about and listening to the answer is a step in the right direction.
#3 Prepare in advance
If you have difficulty being spontaneous in conversations due to nerves or self-consciousness, that's OK. Rather than put the pressure on yourself to try to come up with topics of conversation on the spot, prepare 2-3 go-to questions that you can pull out whenever you need them.
What do you love about your work?
If you could go on an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Would you rather have your own private plane or your own private island?
#4 Cultivate self compassion
Self compassion is the first, essential step in loving yourself. Self compassion is simply giving yourself a break and not expecting perfection (since perfect doesn't exist, it's a good idea to let go of it as a goal).
Simply acknowledge your nervousness or self-conscious without judgment, e.g. Wow, I'm really in my head right now. I'm going to take a deep breath and try to focus on being present instead and see how that goes.
You've got this.