The thoughts swirl...
The idea of self-consciousness is fascinating to me. I think this is because self-consciousness can be both extremely positive and extremely negative things depending upon how you look at it.
From a positive standpoint, self-consciousness can often resemble thoughtfulness. If you are aware of your own behavior and how it affects others there are certain ways you might adapt your behavior to maintain harmony with others. This is often the "be on your best behavior" thing... or simply trying to avoid swearing around children and the like. You know how you would like to present yourself and what kind of an impact that might have. I tend to file these under self-awareness... but I believe it becomes self-consciousness as soon as we attempt to modify our behavior because of it. I don't think this is a bad thing and you probably find yourself obeying "better judgement" on a regular basis.
Unfortunately there seem to be more cases where self-consciousness can be viewed negatively than positively.
There are tons of ways that self-consciousness motivates people to deceive, behave selfishly, display arrogance, and the like. This tends to happen when we believe ourselves to matter more to others than we actually do. In some cases, it is rational to believe this, such as courting/dating, job interviews, and the like. We want to present a special and idealized form of ourselves... exaggerate the good, hide the bad. I think this is rational in many ways, but it's also often far from our "true selves."
In many cases where people are ruled by their self-consciousness it's because people decide that how others perceive them is more important than how they would choose to be in their absence. That is to say, the motivation is external.
In other cases, self-consciousness comes from a more internal cause. A lack of confidence... fear... a shaky sense of worth... these feelings can derail a person on the inside.
D/s often uses self-consciousness as a weapon and I believe that how it is wielded affects the outcome. A sub can reach a rather peaceful mental state where they simply thrive as they please their Domme. They know what is expected of them and they can perform with confidence, knowing full well that good service will most likely be met with a positive reaction. It seems fairly common for a Domme to willingly disturb this peace, pushing the sub into a state of emotional disarray. Making them feel self-conscious is an easy means of doing this, taking a sub who isn't thinking of themselves... and forcing a sense of self in an unpleasant way.
I believe humiliation is the end result of forcing self-consciousness about external factors. Exposing the sub to another, threatening to have them do something embarrassing in public, or looking at their set of kinks can lead the sub to fear the eyes of the outside world.
Looking internally, I feel that shame is what results from self-consciousness rooted from internal fears. If a sub feels unworthy or worried about the quality of their service this forces them to view themselves from the outside looking in as their own harsh critic. This can also happen each time the sub is ordered to do something they do not wish to do and they acknowledge their own helplessness.
As I finish this I'm feeling my own self-consciousness as I'm not sure if I should post it... but I know that writing is my best way of getting back to writing... so here goes.