The Self-Conscious Dance

[Please note: This is a repost of a post I published on this blog in April 2013.

If you’re wondering why I’m doing reposts… the story begins the other day when I noticed that a couple of the blogs which I like to follow were reposting old posts. At first I was annoyed at them for doing that even though I enjoyed reading those posts as I had missed them when they had been originally published. These days when I get annoyed at others I redirect that annoyance at myself and ask myself what it is actually about – what’s the real message contained within it? In this case I decided to do what they were doing, and thus get the flip side of the experience… as sometimes the reason I get annoyed with others is because they’re doing something I wish I could/would do… why aren’t I doing it!? Some of the best learning curve experiences I’ve had in life is when I end up doing the very thing I’m being all judgemental about someone else doing – this used to piss me off because of how humbling and embarrassing it is, but now… ohhhh, now I get it!

The reposting is making me re-read my old posts… something I sort of shy away from doing because of an attitude I have about and towards myself. I’m not cringing as much as I thought I would. The posts I’m choosing to repost are sort of random chosen by me and by WordPress – this particular post wasn’t my first choice to repost, but WP was having issues copying the first one I chose while it had no problem at all copying this one.

I’ve left the post as it was, except for correcting one typo – don’t worry, I’m sure there are plenty of typos left for those who love to spot them. I am adding an image, because in the old days of blogging I kept images and writing separate… then I shifted, blending visual and verbal, as the different parts of me blended together more.

This image is something which stood out to me while reading – Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung (and co) – in the chapter – Symbolism in the Visual Arts by Aniela Jaffe, subheaded ‘the secret soul of things’.]


Philosopher and Poet by De Chirico


Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, yet still half awake, I had a vision of sorts, a semi-dream. The image I saw was of a woman, her name was Georgina, though how I knew this, and why that name, I do not know. I was observing her from a distance. She was in a dark blue bathroom, standing in front of a mirror with her back to a window. The window had net curtains blurring the view outside, a soft white light filtered through them giving an ethereal glow to Georgina, and they undulated in the breeze created by her movements. She was swaying to silent music. A gentle, private smile on her lips. Her long black hair cascaded in waves down her slender body, modestly shielding her nakedness. I thought to myself that she was very beautiful, not because of her physical attractiveness, but because of the fact that she was immersed in herself, enjoying her solitude and the freedom it gave her to be natural.

As soon as I had those thoughts, Georgina’s dark eyes moved away from her reflection, and turned towards me. She was suddenly aware that she was being watched, and immediately her demeanour changed. She became self-conscious. For a moment she debated whether to cover her nakedness, then she decided not to as she realised that I was admiring her rather than judging her. She became slightly coy. Her smile became subtly seductive, her eyelashes fluttered a bit, and her movements became a dance to please the watcher.

I snapped out of the vision, annoyed at myself for disturbing the intimate interaction that a being was having with themselves. It had not been my intention to observe such a private moment, but once I did, I was captivated by what I saw. Not because of the person I was watching, but because of the fact that those moments are rare to behold in others, and, in many ways, in ourselves too. When we are wrapped up in ourselves, alone, unobserved, free to just be as we are naturally, we don’t think about ourselves from the outside, but just experience ourselves from the inside. They are fragile moments as the slightest awareness of them shatters the calm and induces self-consciousness. Our mind kicks in and we start thinking of how we are being perceived, not just by others, but by ourselves too. We awaken the beast of judgment, and all the nasty little demons of self-criticism. Too fat, too awkward, too ugly, not good enough, unloveable, weird, stupid, uncool, and a millions other endlessly self-negating thoughts.

It is strange really. Self-consciousness has two very distinct meanings. The first is the one which causes so much grief, makes us behave as though we are on stage, performing, hoping to please the audience, gain applause, yet certain that we will fail and end up looking foolish. The second is the one which is supposed to enlighten us, give us an understanding of ourselves, detachment,Β  objectivity, and bestow the power of self-awareness.

The most overused motto of our times is – Be Yourself. The idea is a very good one, but as soon as we think about being ourselves, it becomes very difficult to actually be ourselves. Thinking about it causes much confusion. Who is this self that we are, that we are supposed to be, and how do we do it naturally when we are thinking about it and interfering in the natural expression of it.

We are most often ourselves when we are not thinking about being ourselves. Those moments are hard to capture. The second we think about it, the moment is gone. As soon as someone else enters the scene, the moment vanishes, and we become conscious of their eyes watching us, and their mind thinking about us, probably judging us, and finding us to be lacking somehow. Or is that just me.

So, what are your thoughts on self-consciousness? Do you find it easy to be yourself?


  1. Thank you πŸ’–
    I like reading your “on time” healing frame of mind posts!
    It feels kindred.

    Is it weird of me to say im in a healing process of letting love and light in (again)?

    I know that “beast” tooooo well.
    It also likes to attack others, to wake them up and say: what r you doing?
    Especially towards people who “live” in the dark and arent aware of what they do to others.
    Then again.. i know not everybody likes to hear it or wants the interference.

    How to slay the beast?
    You tell me…

    An example.. my young daughter decides to play with her friend. A 3rd party wants to join. They exclude the girl. They behave like knifing witches and laugh..
    2 weeks later it happens to my daughter, she is in tears and she wants me to go to the parents to solve it.
    All i asked: how does it feel?
    Not good, it hurts me.
    I said: now you know how the other girl felt a few weeks ago. I am not going to solve this for you. You can accept this situation as it is.
    She didn’t see it that way. It was unjustified what they did to her. Her drama amplified. I gave her time and eventually she came back to talk about it with me.

    Some called me cruel, some say justified.
    I only wanted to teach my daughter a lesson.
    She is a strongwilled little lady that wants her way a lot.
    If its right or not i dont know, it felt right to do so at that time.


    • Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      Sounds to me as though you were showing your daughter how to turn a bad experience into life wisdom, how to work through her own drama, and to develop intelligent empathy. I don’t have children so I haven’t had to wrestle with the complexities of being a parent, but I do recall what it was like to be a child, and if your daughter feels able to come to you and talk with you about her life experiences then you’re doing things right.

      One of the hardest lessons in life to learn is how to connect the dots between what we do to others and what they do to us – if we don’t like it when someone does something to us, then why would others like it when we do it to them. That’s a tough lesson to learn, but a good one, a useful one.

      I’ve spent most of my life worrying about things I’ve said and done, and how they impact others, at certain points in my life my anxiety paralysed me and I was afraid to say or do anything for fear of making a mistake, hurting others, getting everything wrong all the time. Sometimes wrong things turn out to be right, and right things go wrong. At the end of the day we just have to embrace the uncertainty and keep going, open to the experiences and the myriad lessons we learn each moment.


      • Thank you. You’ve put it down in words as i meant it.

        I understand the paralyzing part, ive experienced that too. Especially when the “outside” pressure builds up, you feel your loosing your own power/ strenght at that time.
        I just never realised how much of an impact other people can have on you, especially the close relationships when they put their expectations on you (or you expect “something” back).
        Ive experienced a lot of drama there and wise lessons.

        We just keep on breathing in peace..


  2. I am enjoying your re-posts. πŸ™‚ I thought it was you who said to me years ago (years ago?!) that it was okay to re-post but I obviously have that wrong. Anyway, every time I’ve re-posted I’ve always thought of you! πŸ˜€


    • Thank you very much πŸ™‚

      I have reblogged my own posts before.

      I think my main issue with reposting my posts was having to re-read my old posts. I thought I’d be thinking “OMG what was I on!?!” but actually old post writing me seems to be saner than the me who writes posts in the now πŸ˜‰

      I have no idea if it was me who encouraged you to repost, but thank you for crediting me with a good piece of advice πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are very welcome – I am going to continue to think of you as the person who suggested it πŸ™‚ I had been sure that it was you who said that to me, but as I get older I’m finding that I can be wrong about things. πŸ˜‰

        I’ve always found your writing to be wise and very true to where you are, very honest. So your writing has changed over the years as you have changed. I find that it’s quite different in tone now – you have the voice of someone who has come out (mostly) the other side of something profound. At least, that’s what I think would come across to a new reader. Your writing is very seasoned (in a good way πŸ™‚ ). A compendium of experience and reading and reflection and exploration. It’s funny how we can be so critical of something later on when at the time it seemed pretty good (or vice versa).


        • Thank you πŸ™‚

          Blogging is an intriguing exercise in self-reflection.

          When I first started out doing it I was wary of what I said, what I shared, I was very cagey – which is how I was in RL too. Then I shifted, felt bolder, started saying and sharing more, and at some point the floodgates opened and everything I’d been keeping inside came gushing out – this freed my self-expression up more in RL too. Then I became far too verbose – which also happened in RL too. Sometimes it’s necessary to swing from one extreme to another to get a better sense of the whole picture of an experience. Atm I’m in quiet mode, online and offline. It’s a time to review.

          Your voice on your blog is different too, you sound freer, happier, there a sense of fun ringing through your words and your photos πŸ˜€

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back Maya!!
    Self-conscious is my middle name. I see all the things i want to do and can see myself accomplishing them but i stop myself because i over think about the “limelight” being on me. I want people to know but i dont want them to know because :they might think im showing off or trying too hard to be noticed.
    It’s a struggle. It’s apart of MY introversion(not all are like this).
    When in rarity my extroversion kicks in, I psych myself up to “not focus on everyone else” , “bump y’all, I’m doing me!”, etc to only ride that short wave of confidence just to the cusp of a project and let it die with the extrovert wave. Hence, leaving many unfinished projects and being jealous of others who accomplish.
    Again, its a struggle. It’s MY struggle.
    Now, how do i rectify something I’ve been doing my whole life? I figure one day I’ll finish that project, so in the meantime, do what I can at my pace.
    Thanks for this!


    • Hi, Nakia, thank you very much πŸ™‚

      I recently read a great comment on a blog post which was discussing the issue of being accused by someone else of being ‘full of yourself’ – someone said “And what exactly are you supposed to be full of, if not yourself?”. That’s such a brilliant observation! You can find that post and discussion here –

      I think that when you’re an ACoN the self-conscious issue becomes more complex because it gets overly-stimulated from an early age due to children of narcs being an ‘extension’ of narc parents. The self-consciousness of narcs is extreme and unhealthy, and affects everyone who is an ‘extension’ of them. It becomes a BIG issue – their self-conscious nightmare becomes everyone else’s problem to solve for them.

      The puzzle of being in the limelight becomes more complex due to having had too much exposure to a narcissist and their spin on everything. Narcissists crave the limelight at all costs, and will punish anyone who gets it, especially if they view others as stealing it from them (and a narc can view anyone as a thief of their limelight – an actor getting an oscar may be viewed as stealing the limelight from the narc even if the narc has never been or ever tried to be an actor). If your parent is the narcissist and you as their child get punished when you accidentally steal the limelight from them (eg. oh what a beautiful baby! – narc parents can be jealous/envious of their baby getting attention over them. They will use their baby to get attention for themselves, but it’s a precarious situation with a beautiful baby as competition), and/or if you have to go through their dramas when someone else ‘steals’ their limelight… the limelight becomes a ‘bad’ thing. So, when you want it for yourself, for something you’ve done which you’re proud of and feel deserves the limelight, you’re scared of the consequences of having it no matter how much you deserve it, earned it, need it because it nurtures you.

      An ACoN often chooses to self-destruct rather than risk being in the limelight… so the ACoN quits before they cross the finishing line or allows someone else to take the credit for their work, or any number of other variations on the theme to be ‘safe’ from the ‘dangers’ of being in the limelight… but ‘safe’ can be stifling and frustrating. Hence the resulting ‘jealous’ feelings when someone else seems at ease in the limelight, when someone else accomplishes something which you wanted to do, you know you could have done it, and worse still… could you have done it better than them?

      Yes, it is YOUR struggle… but is it? One of things I’ve found with struggles which I thought were MINE, is that a few of them weren’t MINE at all which is why I couldn’t solve them/fix the problem. Sometimes they were MINE too, but my approach to solving them wasn’t right for me, I was using techniques others had used for similar struggles which had worked for them.

      Even when we’ve been doing something our whole life… do we have to keep doing it? The answer to that is sometimes yes, sometimes no, depends on many things (like whether we’ve reached maximum fed-up-ness)… and requires many other questions and answers from us.

      Sometimes our greatest accomplishments aren’t ones which get the limelight because the person manning the limelight spotlight is using criteria which is… perhaps influenced by narcissists.

      Sometimes the real limelight is a private one πŸ™‚

      ❀ Ursula


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