What others think of us!
Does it really matter?
We, humans, are funny people. We worry about what others think of us and how we will react to whatever they think of us. And then we wonder what we should do and not do.
Yet we don’t realize everything in life is our choice! We decide if what others think of us is going to worry us or not.
If they know something about us how we will react if and when they ask us about it.
We spend hours worrying about this. We spend very little time asking ourselves about our choices and the choice to decide if we must worry about what others think and say about us.
Like everything in life, this is a choice made by ourselves, to either help yourself or worsen your feelings, by worrying what others think of us.
We need to start looking into our feelings.
We need to start from within.
We need to change those feelings and feel better about ourselves before we start working on our feelings about what others think of us.
If you start your journey within and investing in yourself you will start feeling the good and wonderful feelings and you will love yourself.
You need to ask yourself why you feel the way you do?
What went wrong and why did these feelings start in the first place.
The moment you start digging for the answer and dig until you find it. You need to make peace with the reason why you feel this way.
After finding peace you will feel uplifted but need more good feelings.
Have you ever lied about an odd hobby you have, or maybe your job status or your height?
Or even just avoid putting yourself in a situation, where you knew you would be likely to fail?
Why did you do that?
Because you were embarrassed.
The embarrassment comes from trying to control how other people perceive us. So instead of just showing the world your nerdy hobbies. Say that you collect beanie babies. You go…
I don’t want people to think that I am a deep and pretend that you don’t have one. The same process plays out with hobbies as it does with the mistakes that we have made. Areas in which we are weak and in areas in which, we might get publicly rejected.
We hide what we don’t want people to know about. We conform to what other people like us to be.
But this doesn’t have to be the answer. Because there is a more empowering mindset.
How do we do this?
Instead of focusing on other people's perceptions and feeling embarrassed about what they think. Focus on whether or not you live up to your own values.
For instance, if you do have a killer beanie baby collection, you obviously value something about it. Maybe it is the nostalgia, maybe it is just something that started when your grandma gave you one twenty years ago. Either way, if you value your own opinion. You won’t try to hide the collection. No matter what anyone else thinks of it.
Maybe you have a crush on someone and you were thinking of asking that person out. Focusing on other people's perceptions of you will stop you dead in your tracks.
After all, what if other people found out and laughed at you when you got turned down?
But what if you instead focused on your own values?
Like doing a courageous thing or being honest even when it is uncomfortable.
You would ask that person out.
Now, maybe you would go on a date or maybe you wouldn’t. But either way, you would have lived up to your own values.
And no matter what anyone else said or did. You could feel proud of yourself.
The point is that when you focus on living up to your own values, you never have to feel embarrassed again. It does not matter whether you trip off some stairs, get fired from a job, get beat up in a fight or get blown off by a boy or girl that you like. None of that stuff is pleasant. But you don’t need the double penalty of being embarrassed by those things.
Your terms to live up to your values are all that matters.
So, take responsibility and try to correct it and move on.
And if you have traits that embarrass you, whether it is your looks, your height, your age.
Well, you can’t control those things and you can’t live up to a value that you can’t control. So even if you might not like something about yourself. Own it!
You will immediately feel relieved when you accept yourself the way you are.
No this is not an excuse to give up on yourself in the name of self-acceptance. Some things are worth the moment of embarrassment because they remind us that we are not living up to our own values.
So, in case of maybe you have fallen out of shape.
A moment of embarrassment is worth it to get you back to a healthy lifestyle.
The point is to get clear on your values.
And then live in line with them.
And let other people's perception of you fade into background noise.
This does not mean you ignore other people completely to the point of becoming a jerk.
For instance, if one of your values is to be kind and you often get feedback that you are hurting someone. You probably need to make an adjustment.
But remember there are 7 billion people with 7 billion different opinions and you cannot please them all.
So, when you take feedback from others focus on doing the right thing rather than what pleases someone else.
In short. Stop trying to be okay by everyone.
Stop trying to control the opinions of strangers. Instead, figure out your values and live by them.
Be yourself, you are allowed to make mistakes. To get laughed at. You have got nothing to lose. And for as long as you are trying to do the right thing you have got no reason to ever feel bad about it. Own your screw-ups, your unpopular actions, and your weirdness and you are free.
Back in 2010, I decided to end my 21-year-old marriage. The first thing that went through my head was.
What is my family going to say?
The second one was what are my friends going to say?
The last one was what are the people in our town going to say?
10 years later and I can now help you on this subject as I believe I had my fair share of learning.
Caring what other people think about you will be the ultimate cause of unhappiness.
You will end up living a life by other people's design and not your own.
You will die filled with regret. You won’t do what you really want to do. And caring what other people think can be the root of psychological problems like anxiety and depression. So, you want to stop it.
There are two main reasons why you care about what other people think.
The first reason is that you want something from them. You may be unaware of this but it is usually things like staying employed by a boss. Or approval from a cute girl or boyfriend. Or simply being accepted by your friends and family. This causes you to value their opinion about yourself more than your own.
The second way is that you want to cling onto an identity you have about yourself.
I want to use my own example here. I always did everything that was “great” and “acceptable” with my family. I would never do something that I wanted to really do for myself, without wondering what my family would say. You see I grew up in a house where the opinions of others were at the top of the list. You did not even know something as an opinion about yourself existed.
Hence, I always tried to satisfy my mom and my sister. The moment I did something that my sister did not like. I would be judged. Now, I did not want them to judge me. I felt inferior. So, what did I do? I did the right thing and always stayed in between the lines that they drew for me.
I knew exactly where not to go and what not to do.
The first step is to have firm boundaries about what you allow into your life.
(people and behavior included.)
Knowing what you want to stand for puts a mission higher than what other people can give you.
It is something only you have power over.
Imagine a great city. (you are the city)
Your boundaries are the walls that define who you are. They can keep people you don’t want out. So, clearly identify who you are and thus make others interested in living inside you. In a metaphorical sense living with you.
If you don’t know who you are and what you want, you have no force behind you to guide your actions. (read that again.)
The first step in becoming someone that doesn’t care about what others say is to create a higher purpose.
This should be your passion. To find your purpose of passion all you need to do is ask yourself.
If I had all the time and money in the world, what would I do?
Find out what you are good at and find a way to do it and help other people.
Keep in mind that when you have found what you want to do you must remember your higher purpose and stick with it. Even though people will always keep on giving you their opinions.
To avoid the pitfall of falling into their little trap again…all you need to do is.
Ask yourself…is whatever they are saying a fact or their opinion?
Like when my mother said I would never be able to make money on the internet.
I asked myself. Is this a fact or her opinion?
The conclusion was it is her opinion – and her opinion does not match my higher purpose. So, my force behind me that helps me create my life will not be affected by this opinion.
Often times we think if people see parts of us or share ourselves with others we might not be accepted.
Be more open with who you are. When we own up to even the worst side of ourselves people tend to respect your honesty.
This means speaking your thoughts that are not always acceptable.
The less you are attached to compliments the less you will be attached to criticism.
I know, it is great to get compliments. But don’t be swayed by the passing thoughts.
Rather try to create something lasting and get fulfillment from genuine helping people. Not by getting them to compliment me or being part of some kind of community.
You know what your reality is and you know now that what other people say is just their opinion. (Remember the question. Opinion or fact)
Keeping this in mind I want to tell you about a little book that truly changed my life so much during 2019. This book is called the four agreements and is written by Don Miguel Ruiz.
In his book, there are 4 laws and the second one is this:
Don’t take anything personally. You can read all about this book here.
The last thing I know works well is to practice.
We can actually uplift our entire life by sticking to affirmations on a daily basis.
The moment your spirit is more positive you need to address the feeling of why we worry what other people think of us.
I think sometimes we want acknowledgment from others. We just want to know we are “approved” in their book.
We will then do anything that is good and right in their eyes.
This is when we need to sit and ask yourself what will happen when that person does not approve of me or what I do?
Think about it!
Are they going to change anything in your life for the better or worse?
It stays the way they see it.
Whatever another person thinks of you has actually got nothing to do with you. (Because they are thinking of you.)
It is what they think and not what you think – so it is their idea and their perception, not yours.
How you see yourself matters much more because this is what you think.
TIP: We need to change ourselves and worry only about what we think about ourselves.
Others' opinions are exactly that: OTHERS and not yours.
Heal yourself from the inside and you’ll soon find out that you don’t worry what others think of you.
Whatever others think- ask yourself-
Is it a fact or is it their opinion?
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Care for your own life and your own opinion – at the end- that’s all that really matters.