Stop Worrying About What Other People Think: Do you find yourself constantly worrying about what other people think? Do you feel as though others judge you by your decisions and opinions? We are all judged to some degree, but do you find yourself particularly sensitive and vulnerable to the conclusions others draw about you? I do.
I consider myself an independent thinker and doer. I’ve lived my life as a contrarian, swimming against the stream. This comes at a cost.
For me, I truly believe that in order to achieve any type of success in life, I must be willing to live unconventionally. Having said that, I still worry about what other people think. I know, as usual, I have sprinkled my life with another dash of complexity.
I’ve had myriad situations
where I knew I made the right decision about major life changes, but I was
immediately subjected to the derision from others. It hurt. We all want to be
Certainly, there are more benign examples. I prefer to dress for success wherever I go. Especially when Melissa and I go out for dinner at a nicer restaurant. I usually wear dress pants (yes, I wear pants when I’m in public) accompanied by a dress shirt and sport coat. You wouldn’t believe the stare down I get from others, especially the men wearing baseball hats and flip flops! I know I am being judged even though I feel I made the right decision.
At the heart of human existence lies the desire to belong. It starts in kindergarten and grows stronger as the years pass. But it abated when I turned 50. Now, I care considerably less. I feel as though I’m on the verge of graduating in life. Yet I still seek the approval of others. It’s part of our genetic code. Studies show that our brain’s “reward center” is fired up when we are accepted by others.
What I do know is when we cave to others’ judgement, we allow them to interfere with our life goals and personal development. We mustn’t allow this. Dwelling on their opinions and judgements will only hold us back in life. It will affect your goals, your work performance, your mental health, and your relationships.
I find it helpful to remind myself of the old saying: “Unless you’re pissing people off, you’re not doing it right.” Take comfort in knowing that others’ perception of you or me typically comes from a negative view of themselves - their shortcomings. They feel as though they are falling short in life and can make themselves feel better only by attacking us. Take their negativity and use it as fuel and inspiration to go onward and upward.
Consider the following to stop worrying about what other people think:
This may sound counterintuitive, but perhaps their statements have struck a nerve with you because they may be true. It could have been the manner in which they delivered their message that caused you to be offended. It may help to pump the brakes and consider interpreting it as such.
However, if you truly believe others’ opinions are out of line, adopt the following:
We can stop worrying about what other people think - as long as we view it as an opportunity to further strengthen ourselves. Yes, at first it stings. But view the sting as a growing pain.
Personally, I look forward to continue pissing people off and stop worrying about what other people think. ~Ted
1. Expect and accept that people will have opinions of you
There’s no use in trying to avoid any and all judgment – it’s simply impossible. For better or worse, assessing other people is a natural part of social interaction.
So, prepare yourself ahead of time for people to have their opinions.
A simple mental reminder that others will have perceptions of you – even some that may be inaccurate – can help you let incoming critiques roll off your back and stop worrying about what other people think.
2. Take back control over your own feelings
Other people might have poor opinions about you, but that doesn’t have to translate into difficult emotions. They are not the same.
While you can’t control how everyone perceives you, you can lessen your worry and anxiety over it.
Consider practicing some mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is all about staying in the present and being aware of and accepting how you feel in that moment.
Learning to be in the moment can help you cope with those unwanted feelings and thoughts.
Some mindfulness strategies you can try include:
3. Remember that everybody makes mistakes
Perfection is impossible, so expecting it is futile. More important, judgment for failing to attain perfection is unproductive, unfair, and completely unhelpful.
Keep in mind that anyone who thinks badly of you for making some small slipups has made mistakes themself.
Plus, making mistakes at work or in personal relationships can be an important part of self-growth. Look at them as learning opportunities and being human so you can stop worrying about what other people think.
4. Develop your sense of self and build confidence
Practicing self-reflection can be a powerful tool for building a strong identity. Take time to ask yourself some difficult questions.
Who am I? What do I care about? What do I enjoy?
Developing a value system is also important to providing a strong foundation to live your life on.
People may critique your beliefs or actions, but if they’re grounded in your values, the criticism is less likely to stick.
Confidence building and developing a sense of self go hand-in-hand. Being confident in who you are and what you stand for will boost your self-esteem and willingness to ignore haters.
5. Don’t try to mind read – you’re probably wrong
Research suggests that while most people have some idea of how they’re perceived by others, they still have major blind spots.
People will associate traits with you that you’ve never even considered.
The researchers found that the most well-adjusted and emotionally stable people have the least amount of insight into what people think of them.
It’s an indication that constantly worrying what other people think is not only stressful but also not helpful.
6. Consider the source
Caring about what people think of you is natural. But some people’s opinions are much more important than others and should be treated as such.
A family member saying that your behavior negatively affects them or a boss expressing concern with your work can be helpful. A random stranger complaining that you don’t smile enough is not.
7. Know that you’re usually your own worst critic
Research tells us that we often believe people judge us much more harshly than they actually are. In reality, we’re often much harder on ourselves than other people.
We also tend to think that one slipup will mar how people perceive us for good. While it’s true that first impressions can have a long-lasting impact, one mistake is unlikely to change their overall judgment of you.
8. Surround yourself with accepting, supportive people
Friends and family members who are consistently judgmental can take a huge toll on your mental health. Knowing that someone you care about has negative opinions of you is incredibly hurtful.
Developing relationships with people who embrace your true self and people who are supportive and willing to talk it out – even if they can be a little “judgy” sometimes – is crucial for maintaining mental well-being.
9. Hold your own judgments of others
Next time you meet a new colleague or your friend introduces you to their partner, hold off on casting blanket judgments about them.
Even if the first impression isn’t great, give them a chance.
Being accepting of others can help you stop worrying about what other people think of you. If you know you’re giving people the benefit of the doubt, you’re more likely to think that others are doing the same for you.
10. Consider hypnotherapy
Engaging consistently in self-development on a subconscious level can help you develop skills for coping with criticism and building your self-confidence.
Hypnotherapy helps you "change the story" your mind believes and specifically works to build more helpful ways of thinking and feeling.
Through hypnotherapy, you can learn new ways to approach unhealthy feedback, let go of unnecessary stress, and stop worrying about what other people think of you.
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