Notes from a self conscious soul 2 – Beating the monster

Notes from a self conscious soul 2 – Beating the monster

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It’s been a while since ‘Notes from a self conscious soul
happened and I’m beginning to feel a bit guilty about not doing the part 2. Anyway I finally managed to get it down.
Let me begin by saying you probably know all of this. But
sometimes it just helps hearing it from someone else or hearing it over and
over again.
We begin with the thought that we’re in good company, heck, great company. Take a look: 
I'm one of the world's most self-conscious people. I really have to struggle. - Marilyn Monroe 
Yeah that’s an original Marilyn Monroe quote, Marilyn of the billowing dress fame. Oh she well and truly decimated the monster.
Speaking from personal experience two things that worked for me were –

One – Growing older: There’s some serious magic in the way age puts things in perspective. I find myself trying new things and enjoying them. Don’t we often call old people eccentric? In all probability they are simply doing exactly as they please. I’m so looking forward to turning into an eccentric old woman.
and Two – Having kids: Seriously, the little monsters can scare the s**t out of the big one. Since they came along, the twins found so many different ways to embarrass me at so many different levels that by the time they had figured out what the word ’embarrassment’ means I had attained nirvana. I mean where’s the space for the e-word after being publicly subjected to raging tantrums, being made to fish out tiny transformer parts from public dustbins and I don’t even want to think about what happened in lingerie section of the mall. Yeah they pretty much did it for me.
Unfortunately all of that is not quite in our hand. Some friends swear by the good effects of the ‘spirit’ if you know what I mean – a drink or two and you’re good to go. The results however can be a tad unpredictable and if that’s not your style you need to try other ways. Here’s how:

Take on the monster full blast: 

The more often you trounce it the easier it becomes, a minuscule degree at a time – but better it does get. I well remember how utterly embarrassed I was when my first byline appeared in the newspaper. Happy yes, most definitely, but embarrassed as hell too. Yet I wrote and wrote and wrote. It helped that it was part of my job and that I had little choice. But on I went and here I am writing about the monster himself. Ah progress!!!

Know your stuff: 

Knowledge and practice is another way to go after it. Practice, practice and more practice. 

Relive your successes:

.. and store them away in your head. The next time the monster comes by you know you’ve kicked it once you can do it again. And remember that wonderful after-the-kick moment? Bliss, isn’t it? Savour it.

Focus on others: 

If you haven’t realised this already there are many people like us out there. It makes sense then to have each other’s backs. Watch out for that new girl in your class, say a Hello. See someone struggling with a machine in the gym – lend a hand. The friendlier you make the atmosphere around you the more comfortable you feel, as does your friend and that makes both your monsters decidedly uncomfortable. Two birds one stone :-).

Talk to yourself:

Remind yourself that others are human – just like you – and that nobody is the best at everything. Remind yourself of the things you’re reasonably good at. You might not be the best conversation maker but you may rule the research lab, you may not set the dance floor on fire but you may light up a classroom. It takes courage to do something you know you’re not good at, so if you’ve put yourself in that uncomfortable situation, you’re one brave person. Remind yourself.

Lighten up:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh at yourself, admit your slip-up and ask for help if you need to.

Lastly, it really doesn’t matter: 

It helps to tell yourself that. IT DOES NOT MATTER. It really doesn’t. Your fashion faux pas, your clumsy dance, your tongue tied appearance at the party – it will all be forgotten. People do forget. Sooner than you think.
The other option of course, is to go through life, playing it safe, avoiding judgement, keeping away from situations that require you to put yourself out there. You can do it. I’ve done that, for a long long time. But life’s just that much more fun if you put up a fight and win, right?

Do give it a shot. Kick that monster (and keep kicking it) then watch how free, spontaneous and wonderfully happy you feel.
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22 Replies to “Notes from a self conscious soul 2 – Beating the monster”

  1. Eccentric old woman!! love that !!!
    Growing older definitely did it for me.. to a great extent. I realized that it does not matter if I make a fool out of myself sometimes! Realized that I did not have much time left to do all the things that I'd missed out on! Great post OM. Great reminders!!

  2. I think after being poked and prodded and exposed during my pregnancy and labor, I definitely became blase about my body!! 😀
    I agree that as you get older, you get less and less self-conscious; you're no longer in the rat race or some kind of competition with others and you really couldn't care less what others think of you!

  3. Thanks tulika for these entirely doable tips…you know unfortunately having a kid has not helped me…but I guess I have passed in my self conscious behaviour to her…hopefully both of us will benefit from these tips…it comes at a very good time for me…thanks

    1. Aw Gowri I know how hard it can be. Do try to reach out to people, you'll be surprised at how many of them are just like you but are hiding under an extrovert exterior. The good part is that you must have an exceptionally well-behaved child is she/he hasn't given you cause to be embarrassed in public. That's a rare one.

  4. Such an eminently doable set of points, Tulika. Can you believe I used to be self-conscious? Yes, shocker, I know. But, for me, moving countries did the trick. I found myself in a place where people loved spontaneity and that somehow stayed with me all through life afterwards. I am still an intensely private person, as we all are, but there was a bit of the experimental soul within who kept breaking free at every opportunity and still does, I am glad to say. Hey, I guess the blog helps too, am I right? If you are putting yourself out there, through your words, think of all the self-consciousness you are overcoming, Tulika 🙂 So yes, kudos and may your tips help others 🙂

    1. Oh yes Shailaja blogging helps big time biiig time. I'd never have been able to articulate things that I'm able to write about with relative ease. And no I cannot believe you were ever self-conscious. Cheers to your 'experimental soul' :-).

  5. How do you do it? Voice my thoughts so effectively. I was nodding my head through each one of your points, Tulika. Now if I have a neck sprain, we know who to blame. 🙂 Yes age and having kids changes you totally and irrevocably and matures you too. I feel I am a much better person now than I was in my teens. Lovely post. Is a number 3 coming along too?

  6. est La Vie6 July 2015 at 11:51
    Im glad to have stumbled on to this post. I know worrying about what others will think of me is THE stupidest thing to do. Yet i do it most of the time. Im always quick to make the atmosphere friendly though….and that does help a lot. And having kids…yeah…that just set the embarrassment bar pretty high 😉

  7. "The friendlier you make the atmosphere around you, the more comfortable you feel" True!
    Being a college student, and plus an introverted one, I have had a tough time trying to make my presence felt around me. But, a girl, now my bestie, did the same thing : made the atmosphere friendly. And that's why I'm not such a bad introvert these days! 😀
    Amazing post! <3

  8. A brilliant post Tulika, well said from experience I can tell. 🙂 And good for you for dealing with the monster head on! 😉 It takes courage and patience and practice and time as you say, going outside of our comfort zone. However, it does help to make us grow, take ourselves less seriously, etc. I especially love what you say here (and can relate to it): "…simply doing exactly as they please. I'm so looking forward to turning into an eccentric old woman." 😉 <3

  9. Indeed, so many troubles follow us because we begin to take ourselves a bit too seriously! Some very good pointers there to become more 'natural' and 'at ease' with ourselves. I understand the sense in which you are using the term self-conscious in this series. But reading this also made me think that perhaps there is another more positive meaning to this term 'self-conscious' also, one that actually makes us want to arrive at a greater sense of self-awareness of why we do things the way we do, or why we behave in a certain way. No?

    1. That's a whole different thing Beloo. If we were more conscious of our 'selves' we'd be less self-conscious! Does that make sense at all? It's because we are conscious only of others' reactions that we're so worried about how we behave. I love the way you think.

  10. Agree with all the pointers you shared. I think, I mentioned in the first part, I was able to put this monster of self consciousness behind me as the greys on my head increased. And yes, the social mishaps, faux pau, they do not matter at all to other people, it is we who make it big on our heads and give ourselves ulcers and nightmares 🙂

  11. Loove this post, we need to kick the monster and take the world by storm. The worst can happen that the monster may bite you but you will heal, come stronger by making your foe turn into ashes.

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