My name is Alex, and I’m a self-conscious wreck.

At least, I used to be more of the time.

Self-consciousness stops us enjoying the beauty of interacting with others and delivering our truth.

We can end up in a spiral of doubt, poor performance and further doubt.

It can be crippling. I’ve been there many times, and it has held me back.

We’re human, and it’s ok to feel a little self-conscious. In fact, it is helpful. It keeps us from heading out of the house with no trousers on.

I get it up to that point.

But for it to consume you, and for it to ruin otherwise enriching interactions, it is a waste.

Life is too short to worry like this.

The first step is in understanding that it’s all your fault.

It’s not the fault of others that you are self-conscious right now.

It’s your fault.

You take yourself too seriously.

You take your thoughts seriously. Those mythical thoughts that make you unnecessarily fearful.

I certainly did, and still do too often.

But there is power in accepting this.

Only you can take your attention away from negative thought.

Which is what you need to do.

Redirecting your attention from negative thoughts.

It is not easy, but it is vital.

This is what will break that cycle of rumination, anxiety, sweating, and depression.

And this needs to become a habit. I’d argue that this is the most vital one of them all.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

How do you do this?

People tell you to ‘be present.’

But that’s bloody hard because if you’re trying to be present, you’re still trying, and you’re still self-conscious. So scrap that.

Eckart Tolle was right, but only in theory.

Sorry, Eckart.

We can’t simply ‘be present’ when we’re shit scared.

We can train to be present behind the scenes. To get out of our minds and into our bodies.

That’s good. That can be developed through walking, play, exercise, observation and concentration meditation.

But what you want is a way of chilling out when you’re with people.

And trying to be present will get you out of your head for about two seconds. Then you’re back.

You’re thinking about you again.

What we need is to be engaged in the moment.

Not trying to be present, but really engaged with something other than your thoughts.

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” ~Ray Bradbury

You must get into the habit of focusing on something specific.


Your spirit.

Oh no, you made it this far, and now Alex is hitting you with the woo woo stuff.

Take a hike, Mathers!

Hold it. This is important.

Stop for a moment and find that sensation in you that is the source of life and joy. It might take some uncovering. But you can uncover that spark.

Your spirit, soul, life force — whatever you want to call it.

It is a very real energy.

It is a sensation that runs through all of us and has done since before we were knocking stones together to make fire.

It is truth, as opposed to the myth of thought.

You’ll find it. It is there.

Being aware of your spirit is essential for feeling more joy; knowing what to focus on; what matters in your life, and knowing with whom it is worth spending your time.

Now, finding your spirit is one thing. But here is where your life can really change:

Find that spirit in other people too.

The people that matter to you.

By searching for it in others, you will step out of your head.

Observe; encourage; listen; smile.

Help them become more calm, more present, more alive.

That’s your focus.

You are now a leader. No longer the victim.

When you were self-conscious, your thinking was: “What will they think of me?”

Now, it’s: “What’s interesting about them?”

And: “How can I bring them to life?”

What makes this easier? To know what your own spirit feels like in the first place.

And so you are on a mission to spread that fever.

Find what makes you come alive. Then find what makes others come alive.

When you do this, you will find yourself slowing down to notice details.

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

You’re looking for — and uncovering — the truth and the passion in others.

There is joy to this seeking.

People become fascinating.

Relationships become fruitful and win-win.

You become present without even trying.

Colour returns to your interactions.

You are yourself again.

So move your focus from:


…to spirit — both in you and others.

This is a small shift, but will take strength because we are so used to trying to fix ourselves by thinking.

Thoughts feel secure.

But thought is not truth. They are invention.

So let go.

The rest will work itself out.

This is a habit. It is a muscle to be strengthened. It can take work to undo the years of self-obsessed thought, so stay with it.

You will get better at it. It will become automatic.

It is hard to leave your old self behind, but like Steven Hayes says: “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Move your focus, and you will be free.

Do follow me on Medium for more posts like this!

Enjoy this post?

Enter your email below to receive more updates like this as well as bonus content for subscribers you won't find on the blog.

Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. Hi Alex,

    Your posts are not only helpful, also inspiring in many ways. Makes me think about a lot of things in life. Thanks for sharing your journey, keep up the awesome work!


  2. […] Originally published at  […]

  3. I have to admit I am not a die-hard fan of Eckhart Tolle’s writing myself, yet I believe that being present does keep you away from your mind’s dangerous thoughts.

    Although it might seem that you shared a different theory than Tolle’s, after reading both his book and your article, I can say that you are explaining the same idea but adapted to your own thinking and rationality, i.e. using words that your mind understands best.

    Nevertheless, “being in the present” (Tolle) and being “engaged with something other than your thoughts”, as you put it, are exactly identical, at least to my understanding, because by being in the present you are engagedly perceiving and appreciating everything that is happening around you, leaving no time or space left for thought.

    Even if there weren’t any groundbreaking ideas on how to actually ‘end self-consciousness’, I enjoyed a few bits of the article; however, in general, I thought it was a bit on the amateur side, especially the hint of self-righteousness.

    To begin something by devaluating another author creates a predisposition that negatively influences the reading, particularly if what you end up opinionating is not that far away from what the lessened author originally stated, just told in different words.

    Thank you for sharing, nonetheless; I really like the illustrations.

    Also, you misspelled Eckhart Tolle’s name, it’s missing the h.

  4. Hi this really changed the way I think and I wanted to thank you for that.

  5. You could certainly see your expertise in the work you
    write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like
    you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  6. Alex. Dude, you’re scaring me. It’s like reading my own mind in print. I had to say something cause it was just doppelgänger eerie.
    Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t write myself or I would find plagiarism charges, haha wish I was kidding.

    Solid work. I’m a little younger, and it was fun in unexpected ways to come across your writings. Thanks, man.

    • My pleasure dude! Haha. Glad the words are making sense to you. More to be found at! Alex

      • Much gratitude. I checked out your site. Thank you for sharing it. Came back here to say the content is fascinating! Will definitely share with my colleagues.

        Dropping you an E-mail soon dude. Take it easy.

  7. Blogging is definately not my day job. Im trying to promote my
    business by attempting to write about it. But crap is it
    difficult. I really do admire your articles, and I had to
    comment to just
    give you kuddos on wonderful content and information.

  8. Hi Alex,

    When I was in Peru, I was asked by a local shaman to set the intention for my trip, I responded, “expansion of consciousness”. This response came because I intuitively know that this world is far more than the five senses and the perceived limitations of physical reality. I wanted my ability to perceive all that is to be infinite; another way of putting this is to be self-realized; fully conscious of consciousness.

    Most people think they are conscious, but they are actually operating primarily through unconscious tendencies and compulsions set forth from past experiences that have colored their way of perceiving, reacting and behaving. What you referenced above about your thoughts taking over with you feeling overly self-conscious is a perfect example of this.

    To be fully conscious is not to be a slave of the past but to respond with full awareness in the present moment. I think your suggestion of focusing on your ‘spirit’ is a great suggestion for those that need a concept to get them out of their negative thinking and into the present moment. Well done. 😉

    I recently wrote a post about the virtue’s of paying attention. This describes in detail why someone would want to be “more conscious” or aware in everyday life. You may read the article here if you are interested:

    Thank you for the opportunity to respond and share! 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Creativity, Inspiration, Philosophy


, , , , , , , , , , , ,