Are You Self-Conscious?
April 1, 2020
It was End January. I Was in New Delhi attending a family wedding. The evening celebrations were in full swing with a lot of singing and dancing. I was all ready and in the mood to get onto the dance floor. My younger son, who was with me, did not want to dance. I could see he was uncomfortable. He was suddenly self-conscious.
“Self-consciousness” is the fear of being judged by others. It stems from the thought of being seen as wrong, awkward, or incompetent. Looking back at that evening, I can empathize with what was going through my son’s mind at that moment. He must have felt awkward dancing in front of strangers.
When one is self-conscious, the focus is on minimizing the risk of any sort and by implication minimizing interactions with others. The instinct is to get into a shell and become inconspicuous.
I have observed that often the most self-conscious people are the ones who are incredibly opinionated and judgemental about everything. For such people, being seen to be prim and proper is vital. Because they tend to be very judgemental, they are also fearful of being judged and being seen in a bad light.
Also, self-conscious people are continually looking for scraps of approval, and if this is not coming, they become anxious. Complements, “like” buttons, emojis are not a barometer of real value, but unfortunately, for them, it is crucial.
When you are not self-conscious, you engage more; you make the first move instead of waiting for others to move first, you ask for what you want, you don’t stress about how others should behave, you also don’t overthink about your behaviour, you don’t care whether you are appreciated or not, you do what you feel and want to do, you go with the flow.
I got onto the dance floor, awkward and ungainly, with not a single dancing bone in my body. I think I was grooving to the music. My wife later told me it was embarrassing watching me dance. It did not matter. I had inspired my son. He soon joined me on the dance floor despite feeling self-conscious. One affirmative step is all that he required, and he was free from the clutches feeling judged.