A while back, I had a great day and everything was going exactly as I wanted. I was meeting tons of new people and everything was amazing, I felt like I’ve accomplished a lot. Then suddenly, like an unexpected swift jab, someone made a small remark about me. I felt hurt and the worry began flowing in.
Looking back, I don’t even remember what was said. Maybe it had something to do with what I said, or how I said it. The point is it bothered me for hours on end and I was fixating on this comment wondering why they had felt this way.
Why didn’t this person like me? I let this thought linger over my head, despite all the great things that happened that day. Sometimes, there are just tiny things that stick with me, even though I usually am incredible at being resilient and great at enjoying the little things.
Today I felt worried again. A few people didn’t laugh at my jokes. Suddenly, I felt the need to impress them, show them how awesome I am. Another thing from today, someone gestured in my direction then chuckled to his friends. I think he was talking badly about me, oh no. I should say something out loud, flouting my social proof.
Then I remembered several things. I remembered my mental toolbox of tricks I use to snap myself out of this pointless worry. I applied all the big guns in my head to rid myself of my imaginary tormenter. I was free again.
Over the years, I’ve developed so many mental reminders and belief systems that help me get rid of these worries that seem to come from nowhere, the ones that don’t matter but still seem to hold on to you and drag you down. I want to share these with you.
Stop Trying to Win Others’ Approval
It just isn’t possible to get everyone to like you. Trust me, I’ve tried. This only leads to disappointment on a daily basis, since you can’t possibly live up to the entire world’s expectations.
Here’s a new goal for you instead if you really want to eradicate worry and unhappiness from your life. Focus on what you think of yourself. Who cares what that stranger thinks? If you’re happy with who you are and you know what flaws you should fix then forget about the world. Life is bigger than trying to look awesome; life is about actually being awesome.
Think, Will It Really Bother You Later?
The first thing I ask myself is, will this negative thought impact me in the future at all? Is it going to decrease my quality of life somehow? More often than not, it’s just something I’ll soon forget about anyways.
So I put myself into the future by a couple days and envision myself. In this vision, I realize that I won’t be bothered by something so miniscule and I most likely wouldn’t even remember it. A lot of times, just the idea of it fleeting away very soon is enough for me to block out these intrusions.
Will I even remember whom it was I was trying to impress? Most likely I won’t remember. Did I remember who made a small negative comment and what it was even about? Nope. Mental toolbox says to take you out of my head and prioritize you at the lowest possible, so I do.
Reflect on How Amazing You Are
When I feel like I’m inadequate based on the need for approval from others, I begin to reflect on my achievements. I think about how much I’ve improved in the past year. I’ve met amazing people, developed active listening skills, and started something I’ve been contemplating for the past two years.
Looking further back, I transformed from a socially awkward kid to a socially awesome extrovert. All thanks to mental hacks that I consciously yield. I was blessed with true fortunes that others do not have; I was blessed with the gift of self-improvement.
Write anywhere you can, whether it’s in a blog, in your journal, or on a post-it note that you can toss dramatically into the ocean (factor in air resistance). Get those worries out onto paper. Look at it, assess its importance, then shred it, burn it, or toss it into the ocean like I just said.
You can then look back at that paper you just destroyed and laugh at how ridiculous you were being. Who cares if that lady looked at you weird? Who cares that someone may have noticed mustard stains on your pristine white sneakers? Write all of that, then destroy it.
Reflect on Life’s Briefness
Finally, just reflect on how short life is; focus on how life is constantly fleeting. Do you really want to spend what little time you have on this beautiful earth worrying about something you won’t even remember by next week? Don’t be silly, get out there and enjoy life. You’ve got it pretty good, I’d bet. Don’t waste it on needless worry.
Featured photo credit: "Abstract Crowd and Lights" An abstract look at the Christmas lights and the people in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. via Shutterstock