It is really easy to assume that the most important features about yourself are the ones that other people can’t see. I’m not talking about emotions, feelings, or any other silly, irrelevant ideas. I’m talking about tangible features. For example, if you have a giant goiter protruding from the front of your neck, you would probably dress up backwards for a first date and paint a face on the back of your head in order to convincingly hide the goiter. This is just common sense.
The common assumption that imperfections should be hidden is often not true. I’m not saying that it’s never true; see the above goiter analogy. I have just spent way too much time trying to hide flaws, all the while ignoring bigger ones. For example, about ten years ago, the dentist (you know the one) told me that I need to brush one certain area of my mouth extra hard. Today, every time I brush my teeth, I brush that area more than the rest of my mouth; though there’s really no need to anymore. I obsess over extraneous things while neglecting flaws that are way more apparent. So after I brush my teeth for an unnecessarily long time, I may not think to work on very basic conversational tactics. Then, I meet a girl for the first time and forget how to say “hi.” Hey, at least I have killer teeth.
I bet eighty percent of your perceived ‘biggest flaws’ are almost never perceived by anybody else; especially somebody whom you have only met once or twice. (This statistic is based on no research whatsoever.) Self-consciousness, while sometimes helpful, can also grow like a cancer until you are nowhere near the person that you see yourself as.
Also, if you do have a giant goiter on your neck, I am really sorry. Don’t dress up backwards. That would absolutely just make everything worse. Just remember to use iodized salt.