An unfortunate reality for so many people is that they give so much attention and mental focus to what other people think of them.
We’re programmed at an early age with statements like, “What will the neighbours, your relatives, your friends or your teachers think of you?” As a result, we’re conditioned to be cautious about how we show up in the world or what we reveal about ourselves.
Allowing ourselves to be influenced by other people’s opinions often results in:
- A lack of true connection with others.
- Feelings of not being good enough.
- Lack of confidence in our ability to be who we truly are.
- Fear of being judged by others.
- Reluctance to pursue what we truly desire in life.
Learning not to worry about what others think of us does not mean we ignore any personal or social responsibilities we have to others. It means learning to be comfortable with our daily decisions without letting others stop us from deciding what’s best for us.
I’ve been able to get better at not letting others influence my decisions after I learned an important lesson from a mentor. He always says, “What others think of you is none of your business.”
Ever since I also adopted that idea, I’ve been less concerned about the consequences of what others will think and focus on how my decisions and actions will benefit me and others.
Here are five things we can do to stop worrying about what others think of us so that we can give more attention to doing the things we think are best for us.
- Focus only on what matters to you. The more we focus on what others are doing or whether we agree with their decisions, the more energy we will spend on things beyond our control. As the saying goes, “We get back what we put out.” If we worry about how others live their lives, we will also be inclined to worry about what others think of how we’re living our lives.
- Become aware of what triggers you. Worrying about what others think of us is more about what we think of ourselves rather than what others think of us. Whenever we get “triggered” by thoughts of worry or comparison, that’s an opportunity for us to look at what we believe about ourselves. If we have a healthy level of self-esteem, we’ll be okay no matter others think of us.
- Pinpoint why you care about how others think of you. Oftentimes we have an internal need that’s either being violated or not met when we give our power away to others. If we’re clear about our values and what we stand for, then we should be comfortable with the choices we make provided they do not violate the rights of others.
- Assess who would you be if you weren’t liked by others. Our desire to be liked and accepted by others often dictates a lot of our behaviours. The truth is no matter what we do, we will never please everyone. Therefore we just have to become comfortable with who we are and what we stand for, and know that sometimes we will disappoint others.
- Fully accept yourself. The most powerful way to not worry about what others think of us is to fully own all aspects of ourselves—good and bad. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and if we give more attention to our weaknesses, we’ll make it harder for ourselves to acknowledge the good things about us. We must learn to focus more on our strengths and share that with the world.
While other people can provide us with valuable feedback so that we can become better at what we do or who we are, ultimately, we’re responsible for living life on our terms, without the need to be concerned about what others think of us. If we can continue to become more and more comfortable with our decisions, we’ll continue to grow as a person and become the best version of ourselves.
Question: What is something else we can do to stop worrying about what others think of us?
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